AN ACT to Prohibit Live Stock from Running at Large within the limits of this State.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:
SECTION I. That it shall not be lawful, from and after the passage of this act, for any livestock to run at large on the public highways or unenclosed lands within this State.
SECTION 2. It shall be lawful for any person resident or owning land in this State to take up any livestock found running at large upon the public highways or unenclosed lands, within the limits of the hundred in which he resides or owns lands, and impound the same, and he shall have the right to demand and receive the sum of one dollar for every animal so taken up and twenty-five cents per head for every day such animal is kept, and may retain the same until all legal charges are paid; provided that said person taking up and impounding said livestock shall forthwith give written notice of such taking up and impounding to the owner or owners thereof, if known, or by leaving said notice with an adult person at his or their usual place of abode; or, if unknown, by posting written or printed notices in five or more of the most public places in the school district in which said stock was taken up.
Any person or persons taking tip and impounding stock under the provisions of this act, who shall refuse or neglect to give notice, as herein provided, shall be liable to the owner or owners of such stock in civil damages, to be recovered in an action of trespass vi et armis before a justice of the peace of the county in which said stock was taken up.
SECTION 3. That any justice of the peace of the county in which said stock is taken up, upon the application of any person, or his agent, sustaining any damage by reason of such stock running at large contrary to the provisions of this act, shall appoint three suitable freeholders, who shall estimate said damages and make report to said justice, in writing, under their hands, or the hands of a majority of them, the amount of damage estimated, and the justice shall immediately give notice thereof to the parties interested. The damages so ascertained, together with the legal charges for impounding and keeping said stock, and one dollar each to the justice of the peace and the freeholders for their services, shall be paid by the person claiming said stock before the same shall be delivered.
SECTION 4. That in case said stock is not claimed and all legal charges satisfied in accordance with this act, within ten days, the person having said stock in charge shall advertise the same to be sold, at public sale, by not less than five written or printed notices, fixing the time and place for said sale and posted for ten days prior to said sale in five or more conspicuous places in the hundred in which said stock was taken up, giving a copy of said notice to the owner or owners of said stock, if known, or by leaving the same with an adult person at his or their usual place of abode. At the time fixed in said advertisement he shall proceed to sell the said stock, but may postpone the said sale for good and sufficient cause. The proceeds of said sale, after deducting all legal charges, as hereinbefore mentioned, shall be deposited with the Clerk of the Peace of the county in which said proceedings took place, who shall hold the same for one year, unless sooner claimed by some person proving himself to be the real owner of said stock; if not so claimed, it shall be subject to and paid over on the order of the clerk of the school district in which said stock was taken up, to be devoted to school purposes of said school district.
SECTION 5. That the provisions of this act shall not be construed to apply to cattle or other stock in charge of a drover or drovers using due diligence in the control thereof, or to such cattle or other stock which may accidentally escape from the enclosures, and proof of the above shall always be admitted that no injustice to the owners may be inflicted in consequence thereof.
SECTION 6. Any stock of owners or occupiers of any portion of the salt marshes in this State, when running at large upon the said salt marshes, shall be exempted from the provisions of this act.
SECTION 7. All laws or parts of laws heretofore passed relative to strays in this State are hereby repealed.
Passed at Dover, March 2, 1893.