About Me

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Rachel Kosmal McCart is a lifelong horsewoman and the founder of Equine Legal Solutions, PC, an equine law firm based in the Portland, Oregon area. Rachel is a member of the New York, California, Oregon and Washington State bars and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Rachel currently competes in three-day eventing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Stallion Fencing Requirements

Every spring, Equine Legal Solutions receives a number of calls and emails from folks asking what legal requirements there are for housing a stallion. Often, the callers are mare owners suffering from unwanted visits from a neighborhood stallion. Other times, the callers are concerned about a stallion housed on a neighboring property behind fencing that appears to be constructed largely of baling twine and prayer. A few calls are from responsible stallion owners who want to be sure that they are legally compliant.

In a few areas, specific zoning regulations address the keeping of stallions. To find out whether your area has such regulations, contact your city or county zoning office and inquire.

In the absence of specific zoning regulations, the requirements for housing a stallion are no different than the requirements for housing mares and geldings or other types of livestock: the enclosure must be reasonably designed and maintained to contain the animals. For stallions, this generally means a higher and sturdier fence than would normally be required for other horses.

In some states, horse owners (and other livestock owners) have a legal responsibility to keep their animals contained on their property. In such states, if an escaped horse or cow causes property damage, the legal presumption is that the owner was negligent in permitting the animal to escape. This presumption can be rebutted by showing that the owner exercised reasonable diligence in preventing the escape (e.g., maintaining fences in good condition, fences designed to keep livestock of that type contained).

In other states, livestock owners have no affirmative duty to keep their animals contained, but a showing of negligence in permitting an animal to escape can still result in liability. Some factors that had led to a determination of negligence in legal cases involving escaped horses are: a history of animals escaping from the property, fences down or in obvious disrepair.

One big gray area is "open range" areas, where cattle and other livestock are permitted to roam freely. "Open range" is a legal designation and open range areas are typically found only in rural cattle-ranching areas of Western states. Historically, in open range areas, it is the land owner's responsibility to fence out unwanted visitors, and motorists driving on public highways assume the risk of livestock being on the highway. However, recent case law suggests that the open range may no longer be sufficient as a defense to lawsuits brought against motorists injured by loose livestock.


carlette said...

I`m in sacramento county, ca. I need zoning(?) laws for Stallion fencing/housing for renters that just moved in with 3 stallions and other live stalk, on my fence line. They are a treat to my minis.

Rachel McCart, Equine Legal Solutions said...

The easiest way to find out what zoning requirements apply to you and your neighbors would be to call your county (or city, if you're within city limits) zoning office and ask to speak with someone about livestock zoning. Hope this helps!

carlette said...

Thank You Rachel, I did call zoning, so far I haven`t been able to get much info. They told me to look under Ag zoning but I`m not able to bring it up-so far. I need a copy of the reg/law to give to them and the landlord. I guess I am going to find a way down town Sacramento and see IF I can get a copy. I`m hoping this will help keep the peace, and my grand kids and minis safe. Thank You Again,, Carlette

jessie said...

I live in Washington County { Hillsboro, OR } and the county pought the property next door and is building a school on it. There was good fencing on the boundry line which the contractor took down about 5 months ago. I raise
quarter horses so i put up electric fence to keep the horses away from the construction site. The contractors finally put up 8 foot chain link fence the other snd i was able to again use the 3 acres that i had to stop using because of them. Now they took the fence down and my pastures are wide open. They have never talked to me or even offered to talk about the fencing.
washington county is closing their eyes to the problem and i really want someone to wake up and do what is right. Just put up a solid fence because they tore the original one down. No one will even tell my why they did that.Do you have any ideas?


Torrie13 said...

Hi, I live in Kearny Az nad i have ppl around my barn that have stallions and they say different sizes on the requirements of how high the fencing has to be for a stallion... can u answer that for me please