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Author Topic: Texas Free Range Law  (Read 3224 times)
TinyTexasCowgirl
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« on: February 22, 2011, 09:36:28 pm »

Hey guys, have a question, do any of you know what the texas free range law is?

Here is the deal. LATE Friday night, or even really early Saturday morning, my pasture gate was purposely unlatched, and opened. My horses got out, and two of my mares were hit by two separate trucks. They will both live, and should return to normal, but the trucks that hit them are pretty torn up.

Now, a buddy of mine told me that Texas is a Free Range state, and that the horses had the right of way. Does this make any sense to y'all? My home owners insurance is gonna cover the guys' trucks, but I am just wondering if y'all know anything about this?
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2011, 10:21:02 pm »

Free range designations are on a county by county basis and may not include the entire county. Your county attorney can answer the question. I can tell you that there are very few "open range" counties left, but I do happen to live in one.
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NechesBobcat
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 10:24:09 pm »

I don't think that would hold up too well but I have 2 good friends that are District Attorneys and I could ask them. I know in our county, if your animal gets out on the road they charge you like $75 an animal. A buddy of mine had 2 of his horses get out and he had to pay it. They're staying at my place until he gets a new fence up.
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2011, 12:07:14 am »

I'm not sure of the exact law.but I work outa town. It's about 25 miles. There's two main ways to get there. Either down the main hwy or take the farmer market road.after several close encounters almost hitting the same guys cattle and the last two times only a few days apart I started taking the main hwy which is only a few miles longer. I would call the sherrifs department time and time again reporting cattle out on the the fm road (and this is at 4:30 in the morning and still dark) and the landowner would never be forced to fix his fence. I was told by a guy at work that they couldn't do anything to the landowner. Then around the same time a state trooper in a near by county was patrolling a farmer market road when he hit a cow throwing him into an 18 wheeler head on killing him. The officers family tried to sue the landowner for having bad fences but were unable to. I didn't catch the whole story tho
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2011, 05:46:40 am »

Livestock has the right of way on a Farm to Market road on in the State of Texas. Texas agricultural code states that it is the landowners responsibility to keep unwanted livestock off of thier property. We had an issue with the neighbors stud horse tearing down our fence to get to mares. After a long battle, the Texas Cattlemans Association Special Rangers told us that if we didnt want the stud on our property then it was on us to re-enforce the fence so he couldnt tear it down. The owner of the stud was at no way legaly bound to keep his horse off of my property. According to the Ranger, thats State Law, including that livestock has the right of way on a Farm to Market road.
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treeingratterrier
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2011, 06:28:46 am »

What kind of road did they escape onto or from, was it a FM road??  It makes a difference in standard of care to the fence, that is to say if the road is a state hiway you have a higher degree of care to the fence.  Most FM roads have sorry fences because the landowner is not responsible in Texas for escaping livestock as livestock is known to roam.  It used to be people would drive around and run into cows and try to sue the lanowner for repairs, they got this law enacted in the 60's.  If you joined a US 59 hiway or an Interstate then you have to have better fences and they use a standard called negilence I cant remember anymore.  That is to say if you had a good fence and gate latches and a tree fell on the fence bordering us 59 and your horses got out and got killed you would not be liable, but if you had sorry fences out of repair you are responsible.  You can still be sued but it the degree of neglect is lower on FM roads, that is too say, a trail lawyer will ask the sheriff and all of the neighbors if your horses had been getting out daily for how many weeks before they were hit, they will send an private eye to snap pics of the fence and the gates and latching systems.  We had a neighbor on a fm road let  a fence become almost a walk thru where  a bull got out onto US 181 and got struck and hit by a 16 year old in a chevy truck. The private eye found the bd fence in several places and interviewed several neighbors and got records from the sheriffs ofice about all of the loose bull calls that they answered whre they went and drove the bull back into his pasiture daily for a month almost.  The bull owner got a judgement filed against his property for $40,000 and is still pending until he dieses and estate is settled, the truck was totaled, the girl face horrible with tons of bills, they went to trail and the bull owner did not show up so snap jedgement and lein filed against his farm.   Go fix any bad fence you might have right away and put  brand new latch on the gate just in case a private eye is on the way to your place, good luck.
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2011, 08:00:21 am »

Livestock only has the right of way on a FM road in an open range county.
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Wmwendler
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2011, 08:05:07 am »

I don't think that would hold up too well but I have 2 good friends that are District Attorneys and I could ask them. I know in our county, if your animal gets out on the road they charge you like $75 an animal. A buddy of mine had 2 of his horses get out and he had to pay it. They're staying at my place until he gets a new fence up.

I hope that never comes to any of the counties we run cows in.  I dont know if its the same thing but as escaping, but twice a year we drive ~100 cow calf pairs and 3 bulls down a county road and drive them to the lot a half mile down the road.  We've been doing that for years and years. Shocked

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treeingratterrier
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2011, 08:18:40 am »

Livestock only has the right of way on a FM road in an open range county.



And in closed range countys as well, but this is not  open range case, its a case of escaped livestock by the posters own admission, one cant claim open range right of way if they dont even know when the livestock escaped and they were not driving them somewhere.  If the poster was driving th livestock down a fm road in a open or closed range county they still need to there to control the livestock.  One cannot claim I was not there and dont know when the livestock escaped because its open range so i cant be responsible.
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TinyTexasCowgirl
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2011, 09:10:46 am »

Guys, I was not, and am not, trying to get out of getting these guy's taken care of, that's what homeowner's insurance is about. My horses got out, even though it was accidental, and got someone else's property hurt, it's my resposibility to get them taken care of. I was just curious about how the free/open range law worked.

On another note, please say a prayer for Khloe (one of the mares). She isn't doing so hot, will be on my way to Dr. Honnas in Bryan today.

Thank guys!
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2011, 10:28:32 am »

I know if you hit a cow or any other kind of domestic animal in Oklahoma that got loose. The owner isn't responsable.Which I think is BS. Along time ago. Me and a buddy was going down a back road 30 or 50 mph and a full grown cow came out of the bush and pushed the front end damn near to the cab..His insurance didn't pay out on the truck and he was screwed.
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SwampHunter
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2011, 10:45:20 am »

Just wondering  would all this free range stuff work the same on hogs as it does horses an cows ? I mean if your in an open range county you can run hogs loose ? Just wondering

Oh an the state of Texas owns the deer right ? But if I hit a deer the state doesn't pay to fix my car does it ?
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Circle C
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2011, 11:05:38 am »

I have often wondered about some of the FM roads in Mason County that go through a pasture. There's a cattle guard on the fm road and a sign that says loose livestock, with no side fences. I just take it easy, because it seems at night they like to bed down on the pavement...
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brandeek1
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2011, 12:02:36 am »

I am sueing a landowner right now after Chris and my son hit his cow.  It was on a Farm to Market road. My county is not a free range county. We are going to court any time now. He is liable if we can prove his cows are not being properly restrined with good fences and such. FM roads are covered just like state roads. I have a web site where you can pay them  $20 and they email you the stock law for your county. It helped me tons and saved time with our lawyer not having to research it. The troopers family apparently didnt have a very good lawyer. Do your homework and if anyone needs any help let me know. Hope we can close this case soon.  taking forever because his insurance commpany is dragging their feet.  UGH
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dub
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2011, 07:49:04 am »

I do not know counties but I drive slower and watch out on FM's. I learned to drive in the middle of the road because cows can step out from either side. But that is what insurance is for.
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"...A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself..." John Stuart Mill
Hog_Hunter_57
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« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2011, 07:57:52 am »

I am sueing a landowner right now after Chris and my son hit his cow.  It was on a Farm to Market road. My county is not a free range county. We are going to court any time now. He is liable if we can prove his cows are not being properly restrined with good fences and such. FM roads are covered just like state roads. I have a web site where you can pay them  $20 and they email you the stock law for your county. It helped me tons and saved time with our lawyer not having to research it. The troopers family apparently didnt have a very good lawyer. Do your homework and if anyone needs any help let me know. Hope we can close this case soon.  taking forever because his insurance commpany is dragging their feet.  UGH

Let us know how this goes please.
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Jfro
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« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2011, 08:38:20 am »

Most of the Tx hiways r not free range. A few years ago a car load of drunk girls run over some steers of mine. And starded sueing me for 20.000$ and I did not have an atorny at the time so the district atorny got my case and did not no that the Aterny was parting with the girls. He was just draging it on and on a having to send a1.000$ after another .he just cept telling me I was have to pay all that mony .come to find out the law is they can try to sue u . The only way they can win is if they have sighned proof from 3 or4 neighbors stating that yor horses r out almost  all the time.just hope u have good neighbors . And u will b fine.
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brandeek1
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« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2011, 01:01:11 am »

Update on our lawsuit..... Still in the works. We sent them questions...they sent us questions.....we sent them answers.....they sent us answers.  Now we r kinda at stand still. Will update when something happens.
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M.Peitz
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« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2011, 06:47:04 pm »

I am not familiar with these laws, seeing as I am from ks.  But I guess I don't see why it is so hard to have a fence that keeps live stock inside it? I have several friends who run cattle and granted accidents do happen but I do not see the problem in keeping your fence up and your livestock inside? Someone please enlighten me on what I am missing here? Obviously if you are running your cattle down the road on purpose that is different
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dub
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« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2011, 08:43:52 pm »

The fence was not the problem. She had someone opening gates, messing with her truck, and messing with her house. Someone opened her gate and the horses got out. Not because a fence was down.
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"...A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself..." John Stuart Mill
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