[Market-farming] Am I Required To Fence In My Land So That My Cattle Do Not Wander Onto My Neighbor's Land?

Mike Rock mikerock at mhtc.net
Wed Mar 30 17:35:23 EDT 2011

QUESTION: Am I Required To Fence In My Land So That My Cattle Do Not 
Wander Onto My Neighbor's Land?

ANSWER:  Yes. However, you and your neighbor can agree that you will 
keep your prospective property lines open. If you and your neighbor 
agree to keep your property line unfenced you cannot be liable to your 
neighbor, and vice versa, if any of your animals enter onto your 
neighbor's land and cause damage.

  I think the word YES is pretty clear.....it means YES....

You and the neighbor can agree NOT TO FENCE IF YOU WISH>>>>>  If you do 
NOT AGREE NOT TO FENCE, then you MUST FENCE....again, pretty clear.


I will call the county agent in your county tomorrow or a Finger Lakes 
county and clarify.  Also, NEW YORK has some of the oldest fence viewing 
laws in the nation.  Upstate I was with a friend who was a fence viewer 
for the township.  His job was to  read the law to farmers and arbitrate 
disputes on boundaries.


Road's End Farm wrote:
> On Mar 30, 2011, at 1:14 PM, Mike Rock wrote:
>> http://resources.lawinfo.com/en/Legal-FAQs/pet-law/new-york/am-i-required-to-fence-in-my-land-so-that-my.html 
>> Rivka,
>> I am in Wisconsin.  All fifty states have fence laws on the books.  
>> Here is the NY law regarding cattle.  Or an opinion rendered by an 
>> attorney.
>> The fence in question is not 'on someone elses property'.  It is the 
>> common boundary between adjoining properties.
>> Mike
> Hi  Mike,
> I read that link; it says that if the person with cattle doesn't fence 
> them in, that person can be liable if the cattle cause damage on 
> neighboring property. (It gave only a very vague reference to a section 
> of NY Ag and Markets law; that section covers a lot of law relating to 
> animals, but no section title sounds as if it has anything to do with 
> fences, and when I put "fence" into the search function I got "no 
> results found".)
> It doesn't say anything about the neighbors, whether or not they have 
> cattle, being responsible for the costs or maintenance of half the 
> fence. The post of yours to which I was replying said "When you or your 
> neighbor views the fence, each is responsible for their half (right or 
> left).  Even if they don't have livestock and you do, they must maintain 
> their half of the fence." That statement isn't supported by your cite.
> I don't know whether all fifty states have fence laws on the books; but, 
> if they do, they may well not all say the same thing.
> -- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
> Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

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