(a) If livestock enters the property of a landowner without that landowner's consent, the owner of the livestock is liable for damages for personal injury or property damage in a civil action in magistrate or circuit court.
(b) The landowner must attempt to contact the owner of the trespassing livestock within forty-eight hours of the trespass. If the owner cannot be contacted within forty-eight hours, the landowner shall notify the county sheriff.
(c) The landowner may contain the trespassing livestock on his or her property, but is not required to do so. If the landowner is able to contact the owner of the trespassing livestock pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, he or she shall also inform the owner of the costs of containment.
(d) The owner of the trespassing livestock and the landowner
shall attempt to mutually agree upon a fair cost for any
containment. A fair cost for containment is an amount which would
be allowed for the sheriff for containing similar livestock. If
the negotiation fails, or if the landowner is not otherwise
reimbursed for the costs for containment, the landowner may seek
monetary damages in a civil action for these costs.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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