Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Chapter 28. Trespasses; Fences

Article 4. Trespass in Crossing Lawful Fence.

§ 55.1-2810. Damages for trespass by animals; punitive and double damages.

A. If any domesticated livestock enters into any grounds enclosed by a lawful fence, as defined in §§ 55.1-2804 through 55.1-2807, the owner or manager of any such animal shall be liable for the actual damages sustained.

B. Punitive damages may be awarded but shall not exceed $20 in any case.

C. For every second and subsequent trespass, the owner or manager of such animal shall be liable for double damages, both actual and punitive.

Code 1950, §§ 8-874 through 8-876; 1977, c. 624, § 55-306; 1979, c. 486; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-2811. Lien on animals.

If the court enters judgment for the owner or tenant of the grounds enclosed by a lawful fence pursuant to § 55.1-2810, the landowner shall have a lien upon such animal. Upon entry of the judgment, the court shall issue a writ of fieri facias pursuant to § 8.01-478, and the animal found to have trespassed shall be levied upon by the officer to whom such execution was issued, who shall sell such animal, as provided in Chapter 18 (§ 8.01-466 et seq.) of Title 8.01.

Code 1950, § 8-877; 1977, c. 624, § 55-307; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-2812. Impounding animals.

Whenever any animal is found trespassing upon any grounds enclosed by a lawful fence, the owner or tenant of such enclosed grounds shall have the right to take up and impound such animal until the damages provided for pursuant to this article have been paid, or until such animal is taken under execution by the officer as provided by § 55.1-2811. The costs of taking up and impounding such animal shall be estimated as a part of the actual damage.

Code 1950, § 8-878; 1977, c. 624, § 55-308; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-2813. Duty to issue warrant when animal impounded.

An owner or tenant of lands trespassed upon by any domesticated livestock, within three days after the taking up and impounding such animal unless the damages are otherwise settled, shall apply to a person authorized to issue warrants of the county or city in which such land is situated for a warrant for the amount of damages claimed by him. The court, or the clerk thereof, shall issue such warrant, to be made returnable at as early a date, but not less than three days after such issuance, as shall be deemed best by him; and upon the hearing of the case the judge shall give such judgment as is deemed just and right.

Code 1950, § 8-879; 1968, c. 639; 1977, c. 624, § 55-309; 2019, c. 712.