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

BarbaraJ jbmckillip at mesanetworks.net
Wed Mar 30 20:50:18 EDT 2011

I was a witness in a very sad court case whereby cows got out at night, 
wandered on the road, caused a multi car accident in front of and on my 
property.  There was a fatality and he died while we worked on him, with his 
wife and small children in the car with him.  It was very messy.  The owners 
of the land were an investment group of lawyers, ironically, and they were 
not the cattle owners.  They were all sued.  The landowners and the cattle 
owners.  The elk had taken down the fence lines, it happens a lot, but the 
land owners were still accountable.  No doubt because there were some deep 
pockets there, but still here in Colorado, which is a free range state (you 
fence out animals from your property) if your animals cause damages or your 
fencing fails and someone is dead, there will be an exchange of money and 
lawyers.  I much prefer good, stout fences, checked on a regular basis.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Road's End Farm" <organic87 at frontiernet.net>
To: "Market Farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:45 PM
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Am I Required To Fence In My Land So That 
MyCattle Do Not Wander Onto My Neighbor's Land?

> On Mar 30, 2011, at 2:36 PM, 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
> addition to the above:
> I couldn't tell from Wyatt's post whether the fences in question are  the 
> common boundary between properties, or whether they're entirely on  his 
> property. Maybe he said it's a boundary fence and I missed it; but  in his 
> first post, he was talking about neighbors taking down "part of  my 
> fence", not "part of our fence".
> The Wisconsin law you're referring to sounds as if it applies only to 
> fences right on the boundary.
> There are also cases in which there's a dispute about where the  boundary 
> actually is. I, again, couldn't tell from Wyatt's post  whether that might 
> be part of the problem in this case; that's why I  asked him.
> -- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
> Fresh-market organic produce, small scale
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