If the owner or the person having in charge or possession such animals is unknown
to the person sustaining the damage, the person retaining such animals shall, within
twenty-four hours, notify the county sheriff or the nearest state brand inspector
as to the number, description, and location of the animals. The county sheriff or brand inspector shall examine the animals by brand, tattoo,
or other identifying characteristics and attempt to ascertain ownership. If the animal is marked with a brand or tattoo which is registered with the director
of agriculture, the brand inspector or county sheriff shall furnish this information
and other pertinent information to the person holding the animals who in turn shall
send the notice required in RCW 16.04.020 to the animals' owner of record by certified mail.
If the county sheriff or the brand inspector determines that there is no apparent
damage to the property of the person retaining the animals, or if the person sustaining
the damage contacts the county sheriff or brand inspector to have the animals removed
from his or her property, such animals shall be removed in accordance with chapter
16.24 RCW. Such removal shall not prejudice the property owner's ability to recover damages
through civil suit.
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