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§19-20-15. Same -- Assessment of damages; appraisers.

Authority is hereby given to magistrates and notaries public within this state, and within their respective jurisdictions, to summon three substantial, upright and worthy bona fide residents, citizens and taxpayers of his county to assess the damages suffered by any person on account of the destruction, loss or injury of any sheep, lambs, goats, kids, calves, cattle, swine, show or breeding rabbits, horses, colts or poultry by dogs within the county. The appraisers shall be appointed upon the request of a person suffering damages on account of such destruction, loss or injury. The appraisers shall go upon the ground and investigate fully the extent of the destruction, loss or injury, taking all the evidence deemed necessary to arrive at the facts to be passed upon in arriving at the amount of damage, if any, suffered by the party making the complaint. Before the appraisers may be summoned by the magistrate or notary public, the complainant shall be required to make a sworn complaint before the magistrate or notary public, setting out in plain, easily comprehensible terms the facts concerning his damages to the best of his knowledge. After making a full investigation of the facts involved, the appraisers, with the assistance of the magistrate or notary public, shall make a sworn statement and report the facts ascertained and the damages suffered. The report and statement shall be filed with the county commission or the clerk thereof in vacation. The fees and mileage for services allowed in such cases shall be the same as are allowed magistrates, witnesses and arbitrators in magistrates' courts in this state for similar services. In the event that the appraisers find that the complainant has suffered no damage, then the complainant shall be responsible for and pay all the costs and expenses of the proceeding. In the event that the complainant has suffered damages on account of the destruction, loss or injury of his domestic animals, according to the finding of the appraisers, the owner, keeper or person permitting the dog, or dogs, causing the damage to remain upon the premises under his control shall be liable for all damages sustained by the complainant, including all costs and necessary expenses. All of the damages shall be collectible by an action at law before any court or magistrate having jurisdiction of the matter. All papers in connection with any claim shall be filed and preserved in the office of the clerk of the county commission.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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