University of Vermont AAHS

Missouri Livestock Laws


REVISED STATUTES OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI
TITLE XVII. AGRICULTURE AND ANIMALS
CHAPTER 270. ANIMALS RESTRAINED FROM RUNNING AT LARGE


270.010. Domestic animals restrained from running at large
It shall be unlawful for the owner of any animal or animals of the species of horse, mule, ass, cattle, swine, sheep or goat, in
this state, to permit the same to run at large outside the enclosure of the owner of such stock, and if any of the species of domestic animals aforesaid be found running at large, outside the enclosure of the owner, it shall be lawful for any person, and it is hereby made the duty of the sheriff or other officer having police powers, on his own view, or when notified by any other person that any of such stock is so running at large, to restrain the same forthwith, and such person or officer shall, within three days, give notice thereof to the owner, if known, in writing, stating therein the amount of compensation for feeding and keeping such animal or animals and damages claimed, and thereupon the owner shall pay the person, or officer, taking up such animal or animals a reasonable compensation for the taking up, keeping and feeding such animal, or animals, and shall also pay all persons damaged by reason of such animals running at large, the actual damages sustained by him or them; provided, that said owner shall not be responsible for any accident on a public road or highway if he establishes the fact that the said animal or animals were outside the enclosure through no fault or negligence of the owner. If the owner of such stock be not known, or if notified and fails to make compensation for the taking up, feeding and keeping of animals taken up under the provisions of this chapter, the same shall be deemed strays, and shall be dealt with in the same manner as required by law with respect to such property as strays, under the stray law. Any failure or refusal on the part of such officer to discharge the duties required of him by this section shall render him liable on his bond to any person damaged by such failure or refusal, which damages may be sued for and recovered in any court of competent jurisdiction.


270.020. When notice not necessary
If it shall appear and be proven on trial that the owner or owners of such domestic animals, as set forth in section 270.010, shall have actual notice that his or their said animals or stock were restrained, and by whom, and that the parties interested could not agree on the amount of damages demanded, then the three days' notice in writing as required by section 270.010 shall not be necessary to a recovery.


270.030. Appraisers may be appointed to assess damages
If the owner of such stock so restrained and the taker- up, or the person damaged by such stock and the owner thereof, cannot agree upon the same, either party may apply to the circuit court of the county where said taker-up resides for the appointment of three appraisers to assess the damages done, or reasonable compensation for the taking up, keeping and feeding such stock, and it shall be the duty of the court to issue a notice to three disinterested householders of the county to appear at such place in said county as he may designate, and assess the damages or compensation as herein required.


270.040. Appraisers' oath--assessment proceedings
The persons so notified, or any two of them attending, shall take an oath that they will fairly and impartially assess the damages or compensation in controversy, and they shall make out, sign and deliver to each party a written statement of their assessment of damages or compensation, and upon the payment of the same and the expenses of said controversy, the owner of such stock shall be entitled to take the same away, and if refused, he may maintain an action therefor, as in case of wrongful taking or detention of property.


270.050. Fees
The officer or person serving the notice shall be allowed a fee of thirty-five cents for each appraiser notified and five cents per mile as mileage to and from the place of service, and each appraiser shall be allowed a fee of fifty cents, which shall be paid by the owner of such stock before he shall be entitled to take such stock away; provided, that if said appraisers assess the amount of damages and compensation for taking up, keeping and feeding said animal or animals, at a less amount than the amount claimed by the taker-up on the written statement delivered to the owner, it shall be the duty of the taker-up of said animals to pay said costs.


270.060. Lawful fence not necessary
It shall not be necessary for any person to fence against any of the species of domestic animals enumerated in this chapter, and it shall be no defense to any action or proceeding brought or had, that the party taking up such stock did not have his lands enclosed with a lawful fence, but nothing herein contained shall be construed to lessen or interfere with the obligations of the several railroads in this state to fence the right-of-way of such railroads, as is now provided by law.


270.070. Animals may be driven along public highways
Nothing contained in this law shall be construed as to prevent owners or other persons from driving any of the species of animals enumerated in this chapter from one place to another or along any public highway.


270.200. Prohibiting aged and deformed animals from running at large
In all counties and townships that have adopted or may hereafter adopt the provisions of this chapter, every owner or other person having the legal care of any domestic animal of the species enumerated in section 270.010, who shall knowingly and purposely refuse to restrain the same from running at large, when its age, deformity, blindness or other infirmity would render nugatory the law providing for the sale thereof to pay costs and damages to any party who might take up said animal, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than five nor more than twenty dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding ten days.


270.210. Stallions, mules and jackasses not to run at large, when--penalty
If any stallion or any unaltered male mule or jackass, over the age of two years, be found running at large, the owner shall be fined, for the first offense three dollars, and for every subsequent offense not exceeding ten dollars, to be recovered by civil action before an associate circuit judge, in the name of any person who will prosecute for the same, one-half to his own use and the other half to the use of the county.


270.230. May be killed, when
If any such horse, mule or jackass be running at large, and cannot be taken up, he may be killed, if notice be first put up at the courthouse door and at three other public places in the county, for ten days, describing the color, marks and brands, as near as practicable, of the animal, and that he will be killed unless taken away and secured.


CHAPTER 271. STRAYS


271.010. Notice and bond
No person shall post any animal as a stray until he shall have given thirty days' notice of his intention to do so, which notice shall be given within two days after such animal is taken up. And no person shall take up as a stray any unbroken animal between the first day of April and the first day of November; provided, that any animal which shall have broken over or through a lawful fence and be found within any person's enclosure, may at any time be taken up by such person and posted as a stray. And no person not a householder shall have authority to take up or post any stray animal unless he first enter into a bond to the state of Missouri, for the use of the owner, in double the amount of the value of the animal or animals taken up, with sureties, approved by the associate circuit judge before whom the animal shall be posted.


271.020. Notice--penalty

If any animal liable to be taken up be found on any plantation on the fifteenth day of December of any year or on any day thereafter until the fifteenth day of April following, the occupant thereof shall cause notice of such stray to be filed in the office of the clerk of the county commission of the county thereof within five days after the finding such stray. Said notice shall be substantially the same as that of intention to post, and must be given before any animal liable to be taken up can be posted under the provisions of this chapter. Any person or persons failing to comply with the provisions of this section shall be liable to a fine of not less than ten dollars.


271.030. Condition of bond
The bond required in section 271.010 shall contain a condition that the taker-up will not sell or exchange, take out of this state, abuse or willfully or negligently mistreat, or take out of the county more than five days at a time, any such stray before the legal title shall have vested in him, and that he will deliver up such stray to the legal owner in the manner prescribed by law, and that if the owner does not prove the same within the time limited, he will faithfully account for and pay over the contingent amount due the school fund. When the associate circuit judge shall approve such bond he shall forward it to the county clerk, and on breach of the conditions thereof, the party injured, or any resident of the county, to the use of the school fund, as the case may be, may bring suit thereon.


271.040. Any householder may take up stray, when
If any horse, mule or ass, liable to be taken up, be found on any plantation, and the occupant thereof refuse to take up the same, any householder of the county may give said occupant five days' notice, in writing of his intention to take up the said stray, and at the end of five days from the time of giving notice, may take up said animal and proceed in the same manner as if it had been found on his own plantation, except that in filing the affidavit required in section 271.060, he may omit to state that the same was taken up on his plantation, but in lieu thereof shall state the name of the occupant of the plantation on which the same was found, and also that he gave said occupant five days' notice before taking up.


271.050. Notice, how given--contents
The notice required in section 271.010 shall be given by setting up written or printed handbills in three of the most public places in the township in which the property is taken up, and by forwarding a copy of such notice to the county clerk at least thirty days before said property shall be posted, which notice shall contain a description of the animal, embracing size, color, age, sex, marks and brands, as the same appeared at the time of taking up, and shall further recite that if the owner does not claim and prove the same before the expiration of thirty days from the time of setting up said notices, the same will be posted before some associate circuit judge of the county.


271.060. Duty of taker-up
If no person claim and prove said stray within the time limited in section 271.050, the taker-up shall go before some associate circuit judge of the county and file a copy of the notice given by him, as prescribed in section 271.050, and make affidavit that the animal or animals was or were taken up on his plantation or the plantation of another, as the case may be, and that the marks and brands have not to his knowledge been changed since the same was or were taken up; that he set up or caused to be set up three notices containing a description of the property in three public places in the township where the property was taken up, and also forwarded a copy of such notice to the county clerk thirty days previous to filing this affidavit, and that the notice herewith filed is a true copy of those set up and forwarded to the county clerk.


271.070. Notice to be recorded--appraisers appointed
The associate circuit judge shall file said affidavit and notice in his office, and cause the notice to be recorded on his stray book, and shall appoint three disinterested householders to view and appraise the property taken up.


271.080. Appraisers--oath--duty
The appraisers shall be sworn to fully, fairly and impartially view and appraise the property; and their appraisement, embracing a description of the size, color, age, sex, marks and brands thereof, and reciting the fact that they were duly sworn, shall be entered by the associate circuit judge on his stray book.


271.090. Record of strays taken up
If the property so taken up be appraised at seven dollars or more, the associate circuit judge shall, within ten days thereafter, file in the office of the clerk of the county commission a copy of the entries in his stray book. The clerk shall record the same in a book kept for that purpose; provided, that all animals taken up at one time shall be included in one certificate, and the total appraisement thereof shall govern the action of the associate circuit judge in complying with this section.


271.100. Notice published in newspaper, when
If the property be appraised at fifteen dollars or upward, the taker-up shall, within ten days after posting any animal, cause notice thereof to be published in some newspaper of the county, or, if there be none, then of an adjoining county. Such notice shall be: Taken up by and posted before , an associate circuit judge of County, on the day of , in the year , the following described property: (here insert the valuation and description as given by the appraisers); which notice shall be inserted in said paper for two consecutive weeks.


271.110. Filing of unpublished notice and affidavit
A copy of said published notice, with the affidavit of the publisher to the effect that such notice has been published according to law, shall be filed by the publisher with the county clerk, who shall preserve the same among the records of his office for the inspection of any person desiring to see the same.


271.120. Nonhouseholder to file bond--failure
No associate circuit judge shall allow any person, not a householder, to post any stray before him, without first filing with such associate circuit judge the bond required by law. And when any person, not a householder, shall appear before an associate circuit judge to post any stray, and shall fail or refuse to give the required bond, such associate circuit judge shall immediately appoint some other person, qualified by law, to take charge and post said stray. At the time of posting, the associate circuit judge shall deliver to every taker-up a written or printed statement of the duties required by law to be performed by such taker-up.


271.130. Reclamation by owner
The owner of any stray may, within one year from the time of taking up, prove the same before some associate circuit judge of the county, and upon the payment of the fees herein allowed, and a reasonable compensation for keeping the stray, the owner shall be entitled to such property, with the increase, if any.


271.140. Proof entered on docket, certification
The associate circuit judge shall enter such proof on his docket, and, within ten days thereafter, certify to the county clerk that such proof has been made; but if the appraised value, at the time of the posting, be less than seven dollars, it shall not be necessary for the associate circuit judge to forward such certificate to the clerk, but the proof shall, nevertheless, be entered on his docket.


271.150. Amount for keeping stray
If the owner and taker-up cannot agree in the amount for keeping said stray, it shall be decided by the associate circuit judge before whom the stray is proved, who shall take into consideration both the cost of keeping and the use and service of such stray.


271.160. Failure to reclaim, property vests in taker-up, when
If the owner fail to reclaim any stray taken up and posted in accordance with this chapter, within one year from the date of taking up, then the title thereto shall vest absolutely in the taker-up; provided, that if said property shall have been appraised at twelve dollars or more, the title thereto shall not vest in the taker-up till after the payment into the county treasury by him of a sum equal to one-half of the remainder left after deducting the total amount of fees due according to sections 271.320 to 271.350.


271.170. File certificate of proof of stray
The county clerk on receiving the certificate of the proof of any stray shall file the same, and write in the margin of the record and opposite the amount with which the taker-up stands charged the words "proved and reclaimed".


271.180. Charge treasurer with amount paid by owner

When the taker-up shall have filed the receipt of the county treasurer with the clerk of the county commission for the full amount which he is required to pay into the county treasury, said clerk shall charge the treasurer with the same, and write in the margin of the record, opposite the amount with which the taker-up stands charged, the word "paid"; or if the taker-up shall not pay into the county treasury the full amount required by law, the clerk shall only give him credit for the amount paid, and charge the same to the treasurer accordingly.



271.190. Stray book and stray fund record book
For the purpose of complying with the provisions of this chapter, the county clerk shall keep two books, one of which shall be styled the "county stray book", the other the "stray fund record book".


271.200. Entries in the county stray book
It shall be the duty of the clerk to enter in the county stray book a correct copy of all entries certified to him by any associate circuit judge of the county in relation to the taking up, posting and proving of strays.


271.210. Entries in stray fund record book
The clerk shall enter in the stray fund record book:

(1) The name of the taker-up of any stray animal appraised at twelve dollars or more;

(2) The date of taking up;

(3) The species of animal taken up;

(4) The appraised value thereof;

(5) The total amount of fees that would be due all parties at the end of one year from the date of taking up according to this chapter;

(6) The contingent amount due the county school fund, which shall be one-half of the remainder after deducting the fees from the appraised value;

(7) He shall also leave a blank column on the right for the purpose of giving the credits herein authorized.


271.220. Certain names to be appended to the tax books
The clerk shall, annually, at the time of making up the tax book, append thereto a list of the names of all persons appearing on the stray fund record book, with the several items set opposite each name, except the names of such persons as may have taken up animals within one year next before the delivery to the collector of said book, or who may have received credit for the contingent amount due the county school fund as herein provided, and shall charge the collector therewith.


271.230. Responsibility of collector
The county collector shall be responsible on his bond for the faithful collection and payment into the county treasury of all moneys charged against any person in favor of the county school fund, according to the provisions of the stray law, and shall collect and account for the same in the same manner as for state and county taxes, and no property of the taker-up shall be exempt from sale in the collection of the amount with which he stands charged, till he has complied with the provisions of this chapter.


271.240. Delinquent stray list returned
The collector shall not sell any property of the taker- up, except the stray, until he shall have returned the delinquent tax list, at which time he shall also return the delinquent stray list under oath that he has used due diligence to collect the same, and has, after diligent search, failed to discover the stray animals therein mentioned. When such list is so returned, it shall thereafter be proceeded with in the same manner as the personal delinquent tax list, and the same fees shall thereafter be allowed the collector, to be taxed as costs, and be paid by the taker-up.


271.250. Taker-up may turn stray over to collector, when-- effect of
The taker-up may, at any time after the expiration of one year from the time of taking up and after the receipt by the collector of the tax book, turn over the stray to the collector; provided, he has taken proper care of said stray and otherwise complied with the provisions of this chapter, and shall hereafter be discharged from further liability; in which case the collector shall sell said stray, and pay into the county treasury, to the use of the county school fund, the whole amount realized by such sale, less the expenses of the sale and the amount of fees charged on the stray delinquent list, which fees shall be paid to the parties entitled thereto.


271.260. Taker-up not liable, when
If any stray, legally taken up, get away or die, without the fault of the taker-up, he shall not be liable for the same.


271.270. Taker-up may use stray, how
Any person may use or work a stray legally taken up by him, if he do so with care and moderation, but shall not remove the same from the county more than five days at a time, under penalty of twenty dollars, to be collected and paid into the county school fund.


271.280. Recovery of damages by owner, when
If any person sell, swap, take out of this state or willfully or negligently injure or abuse any stray before the legal title thereto shall have vested in him, then the owner, if he shall appear and prove such stray within one year from the date of taking up, may recover double the amount of all damages, with costs; but if in such case the owner do not appear and prove the same within the time limited, the taker-up shall be held absolutely liable for the contingent amount with which he stands charged on the stray fund record book, whether he produce said stray to the collector or not; provided, that if any person, after having posted any stray or strays, desire to remove from the county, he may, with the consent of the associate circuit judge or the successor of the associate circuit judge before whom the same was or were posted, turn said stray or strays over to any responsible householder of the vicinity in which the original taker-up resided, who shall take such stray or strays subject to all the provisions of this chapter, the same as the original taker-up; and said associate circuit judge shall make an entry thereof in his stray book, and certify the same to the county clerk, which certificate shall be by him recorded in the stray record of his office, and all costs incurred by the provisions of this section shall be paid by the original taker-up; but such costs shall in no case become a charge against the animal or animals taken up.


271.290. Reclamation by owner before posting, how
If, after the setting up of notices, the owner claim and prove any stray legally taken up before the same shall have been posted, he shall be entitled to receive the same on payment of the fees allowed the taker-up for taking up such stray, and for posting up notices thereof, and a reasonable compensation for keeping the same; but the taker-up shall not be entitled to compensation for keeping same for more than one day previous to setting up such notices.


271.310. Preservation of papers in clerk's office, inspection
The county clerk shall receive, file and preserve in his office all such papers sent him, for the inspection of all persons who desire to examine the same.


271.320. Compensation for taker-up--fees of appraisers
1. For services rendered in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, the taker-up shall receive the following fees, and no more:

(1) For taking up any horse, mule, ass or neat cattle, twenty-five cents;

(2) For taking up any hog, sheep or goat, twelve and one- half cents; and

(3) For each affidavit filed with the associate circuit judge which shall embrace all strays taken up at one time, fifty cents;

(4) For setting up the notices required by law, one dollar and twenty-five cents; and

(5) For transmitting same to county or other paper for publication, twenty-five cents.

2. Each appraiser shall receive fifty cents.


271.330. Fees for associate circuit judge
The associate circuit judge shall be entitled to the following fees and no more:

(1) For recording notice of taker-up, twenty-five cents;

(2) Recording certificate of appraisers, twenty-five cents;

(3) For each certificate of docket entries to county clerk, thirty-five cents;

(4) For issuing summons to appraisers, when such summons is necessary, twenty-five cents.


271.340. Compensation of publisher for notice and affidavit
The publisher of any newspaper shall receive for publishing the notice required in section 271.100, and filing the affidavit thereof with the clerk, one dollar and sixty cents.


271.350. Fees of county clerk
The county clerk shall receive for recording each certified copy of the entries in the associate circuit judge's stray book, twenty-five cents; for filing any other paper not required to be recorded, five cents; for making the proper entries in the stray fund record book, for each stray, five cents.


271.360. Penalty for failure to perform duty
Any printer, clerk, associate circuit judge or other officer, failing to perform the duties enjoined on him by this chapter, shall forfeit to the county not less than five nor more than fifty dollars, and shall otherwise be liable to the party injured in double damages.


271.370. Fines, penalties and forfeitures to go into school fund
All fines, penalties and forfeitures, also all moneys, except fees collected from the taker-up of any stray, under the provisions of this chapter, shall be paid into the county treasury, and become a part of the permanent school fund of the county.


CHAPTER 272. FENCES AND ENCLOSURES GENERALLY

272.010. Field to be enclosed, how
All fields and enclosures where animals are kept shall be enclosed by a lawful fence as defined in section 272.020.


272.020. What shall be deemed a sufficient enclosure
1. Any fence consisting of posts and wire or boards at least four feet high which is mutually agreed upon by adjoining landowners or decided upon by the associate circuit court of the county is a lawful fence.
2. All posts shall be set firmly in the ground not more than twelve feet apart with wire or boards securely fastened to such posts and placed at proper distances apart to resist horses, cattle and other similar livestock.


272.030. Owners of stock liable for damages--stock may be taken up
If any horses, cattle or other stock shall break over or through any lawful fence, as defined in section 272.020, and by so doing obtain access to, or do trespass upon, the premises of another, the owner of such animal shall, for the first trespass, make reparation to the party injured for the true value of the damages sustained, to be recovered with costs before a circuit or associate circuit judge, and for any subsequent trespass the party injured may put up said animal or animals and take good care of the same and immediately notify the owner, who shall pay to taker-up the amount of the damages sustained, and such compensation as shall be reasonable for the taking up and keeping of such animals, before he shall be allowed to remove the same, and if the owner and taker-up cannot agree upon the amount of the damages and compensation, either party may institute an action in circuit court as in other civil cases. If the owner recover, he shall recover his costs and any damages he may have sustained, and the court shall issue an order requiring the taker-up to deliver to him the animals. If the taker-up recover, the judgment shall be a lien upon the animals taken up, and in addition to a general judgment and execution, he shall have a special execution against such animals to pay the judgment rendered, and costs.


272.040. Judge may appoint viewers to view fence
Upon complaint of either party claiming to be injured because of the trespass or taking up of livestock as described in section 272.030, the associate circuit judge shall, without delay, issue an order to three disinterested householders of the neighborhood, not of kin to either party, reciting the complaint, and requiring them to view the fence where the trespass is complained of, and take memoranda of the same, and appear before the court on the day set for trial; and their evidence shall determine the lawfulness of such fence. The persons appointed by the associate circuit judge shall be paid twenty-five dollars each per day for the time actually employed which shall be taxed as costs in the case equally against the parties and collected accordingly.


272.050. Persons injuring animals liable in damages, when
If any person who does not maintain a sufficient fence shall hurt, wound, lame, kill or destroy, or cause the same to be done by shooting, worrying with dogs, or otherwise, any of the animals in this chapter mentioned, such person shall satisfy the owner in double damages with costs.


272.060. Division fences--rights of parties in, how determined
1. Whenever the owner of real estate desires to construct or repair a lawful fence, as defined by section 272.020, which divides his or her land from that of another, such owner shall give written notice of such intention to the adjoining landowner. The landowners shall meet and each shall construct or repair that portion of the division fence which is on the right of each owner as the owners face the fence line while standing at the center of their common property line on their own property. If the owners cannot agree as to the part each shall construct or keep in repair, either of them may apply to an associate circuit judge of the county who shall forthwith summon three disinterested householders of the township or county to appear on the premises, giving three days' notice to each of the parties of the time and place where such viewers shall meet, and such viewers shall, under oath, designate the portion to be constructed or kept in repair by each of the parties interested and notify them in writing of the same. Such viewers shall receive twenty-five dollars each per day for the time actually employed, which shall be taxed as court costs.
2. Existing agreements not consistent with the procedure prescribed by subsection 1 of this section shall be in writing, signed by the agreeing parties, and shall be recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds in the county or counties where the fence line is located. The agreement shall describe the land and the portion of partition fences between their lands which shall be erected and maintained by each party. The agreement shall bind the makers, their heirs and assigns.


272.070. Duty of judge if owners disagree--determination of value
If either party fails to construct or repair his or her portion of the fence in accordance with the provisions of section 272.060 within a reasonable time, the other may petition the associate circuit court of the county to authorize the petitioner to build or repair the fence in a manner to be directed by the court. If the court authorizes such action, the petitioner shall be given a judgment for that portion of the total cost of the fence which is chargeable as the other party's portion of the fence, court costs and reasonable attorney's fees. Any such judgment shall be a lien on the real estate of the party against whom the judgment may be given.


272.080. Value of fence may be recovered, when
If the person thus assessed or charged with the value of one-half of any fence, under the provisions of this chapter, shall neglect or refuse to pay over to the owner of such fence the amount so awarded, the same may be recovered before an associate circuit judge or other court of competent jurisdiction.


272.090. Fence to be divided for purpose of repair
If the parties cannot agree as to the part each shall have and keep in repair, either of them may apply to an associate circuit judge of the county who shall forthwith summon three disinterested householders of the township to appear on the premises, giving three days' notice to each of the parties of the time and place where said viewers shall meet, and said viewers shall, under oath, designate the portion to be kept in repair by each of the parties interested, and notify them in writing of the same.


272.100. Duties of persons appointed--their fees
The persons appointed by the associate circuit judge pursuant to section 272.040 to discharge the duties therein specified shall receive twenty-five dollars each per day for the time actually employed, which shall be taxed as costs in the case against the parties and collected accordingly.


272.110. Division fences to be kept in repair
Every person owning a part of a division fence shall keep his or her portion of the same in good repair according to the requirements of this chapter, and may enter upon any land lying adjacent thereto for such purpose.


272.120. Division fences not to be removed without consent of owners
No division fence shall be removed without the consent of all the owners thereof, unless for the purpose of opening a public road or highway.


272.130. Judgment of associate circuit judge reviewed in same manner as other civil actions
Any person aggrieved by any order or judgment of the associate circuit judge made or entered pursuant to the provisions of section 272.040 or 272.070 may have the same reviewed in the same manner as other civil actions.


272.132. Adjoining landowners; fence; record on deed; costs
If either of two adjoining landowners does not need a fence, the landowner that needs a fence may build the entire fence and report the total cost to the associate circuit judge who shall authorize the cost to be recorded on each deed. Should the landowner that claimed no need for a fence subsequently place livestock against the fence, the landowner that built the fence shall be reimbursed for one-half the construction costs share to be determined as provided in section 272.060.


272.134. Adjoining landowners; agreement not to fence
Nothing in this chapter shall prevent adjoining landowners from agreeing that no fence is needed between their property.


272.136. Adjoining landowners; fence in excess of the lawful fence requirements
Nothing in this chapter shall prevent either of adjoining landowners from building the landowner or the landowner's neighbor's portion of a fence in excess of the lawful fence requirements prescribed by this chapter.

 

CHAPTER 272. FENCES AND ENCLOSURES LOCAL OPTION

 

272.210. Definitions
As used in sections 272.210 to 272.370 the following words and terms have the following meanings:
(1) "Lawful fence", a fence with not less than four boards per four feet of height; said boards to be spaced no farther apart than twice the width of the boards used fastened in or to substantial posts not more than twelve feet apart with one stay, or a fence of four barbed wires supported by posts not more than fifteen feet apart with one stay or twelve feet apart with no stays, or any fence which is at least equivalent to the types of fences described herein;
(2) "Stay", a vertical member attached to each board or wire comprising the horizontal members of the fence.


272.220. Fields enclosed, how
All fields and enclosures in which livestock are kept or placed shall be enclosed by a lawful fence.


272.230. Trespass by stock, damages and compensation--action--lien
If any horses, cattle or other stock trespass upon the premises of another, the owner of the animal shall for the first trespass make reparation to the party injured for the true value of the damages sustained, to be recovered with costs before an associate circuit judge, or in any court of competent jurisdiction, and for any subsequent trespass the party injured may put up the animal or animals and take good care of them and immediately notify the owner, who shall pay to the taker-up the amount of the damages sustained, and such compensation as shall be reasonable for the taking up and keeping of the animals, before he shall be allowed to remove them, and if the owner and taker- up cannot agree upon the amount of the damages and compensation either party may make complaint to an associate circuit judge of the county, setting forth the fact of the disagreement, and the associate circuit judge shall be possessed of the cause, and shall issue a summons to the adverse party and proceed with the cause as in other civil cases. If the owner recovers, he shall recover his costs and any damages he may have sustained, and the associate circuit judge shall issue an order requiring the taker-up to deliver to him the animals. If the taker-up recover, the judgment shall be a lien upon the animals taken up, and, in addition to a general judgment and execution, he shall have a special execution against the animals to pay the judgment rendered and costs.


272.235. Adjoining landowners obligated to build fence--when--exceptions
If there is a need for a fence by either of two joining landowners both shall be obligated to build and maintain a fence under the provisions of sections 272.210 to 272.370. Nothing in sections 272.210 to 272.370 shall prevent joining landowners from agreeing that no fence is needed between their property.


272.240. Partition fences--owner may demand payment, when
Whenever the owner of real estate desires to erect or construct a lawful fence which wholly or partially borders the land of another, he shall notify the other owner that he desires a division fence. If within ninety days after receiving the notice, the other landowner has not erected or constructed one- half of the division fence, the owner desiring the fence may apply to the associate division of the circuit court for an order to proceed with the construction and ordering the other landowner to pay one-half the value of so much thereof, as borders his land, and upon the payment shall own an undivided one-half of the fence; except that no owner shall be required to pay more than one-half the value of a lawful fence of four barbed wires, regardless of the type fence constructed. The associate division of the circuit court costs shall be taxed against the other landowner.


272.250. Duty of judge if parties disagree on value--fence viewers to estimate
If the parties interested fail to agree as to the value of one-half of the fence, the owner of the fence may apply to a circuit or associate circuit judge of the county, who shall without delay issue an order to three disinterested householders of the township, not of kin to either party, reciting the complaint, and requiring them to view the fence, estimate the value thereof, and make return under oath to the judge on the day named in the order.


272.260. Value of fence may be recovered, when
If the person thus assessed or charged with the value of one-half of any fence, under the provisions of sections 272.210 to 272.370 shall neglect or refuse to pay over to the owner of the fence the amount so awarded, the same may be recovered before a court of competent jurisdiction.


272.270. Fence owners may agree on maintenance--agreement recorded--refusal to agree, procedure
1. The several owners may, in writing, agree upon the portion of partition fences between their lands which shall be erected and maintained by each, which writing shall describe the lands and the parts of the fences so assigned, be signed and acknowledged by them, and filed and recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds of the county or counties in which they are situated. Any such agreement shall bind the makers, their heirs and assigns.
2. When one owner desires to make a division of the fence between his land and an adjoining landowner refuses to agree to a division, then the provisions of section 272.280 may be used to effect a division which shall be recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds in the county in which most of the fence is located.


272.280. Duties of judge if parties disagree on repairs--fence viewers to designate
If the parties cannot agree as to the part each shall have and keep in repair, either of them may apply to a circuit or associate circuit judge of the county who shall forthwith summon three disinterested householders of the township to appear on the premises, giving three days' notice to each of the parties of the time and place where said viewers shall meet, and the viewers shall, under oath, designate the portion to be kept in repair by each of the parties interested, and notify them in writing of the same.


272.290. Special partition fences--owner may demand payment, when
Whenever the fence of any owner of real estate now erected or constructed, or which shall hereafter be erected, constructed or rebuilt, the same being thereafter a fence designed to restrain swine, sheep or other animals requiring special fences, borders the land of another or which becomes a part of the fence bordering the land of another and is used to enclose such animals owned by the other person, on demand made by the person owning the fence, the other person shall pay the owner one-half of the value of so much thereof as borders his land, and upon the payment shall own an undivided half of the fence; except that no owner shall be required to pay more than the amount which would have been required to erect, construct or rebuild a lawful fence of four barbed wires on his one-half of the fence.


272.300. Fees of fence viewers, judge and sheriff--taxed as costs
The persons appointed by the judge under sections 272.250 and 272.280 to discharge the duties therein specified, shall receive five dollars each per day for the time actually employed, which, together with the fees of the judge and sheriff, shall be taxed as costs in the case against the parties in proportion to their respective interests, and collected accordingly.


272.310. Owners to repair division fence--remedy for failure
Every person owning a part of a division fence shall keep the same in good repair according to the requirements of sections 272.210 to 272.370. Either party owning land adjoining a division fence may, upon the failure of any of the other parties, have all that part of the division fence belonging to the other parties repaired, upon the failure of the other party to do so, the repairing to be at the cost of the party so failing to repair his part of the fence.


272.320. Division fence not to be removed--exceptions
No division fence shall be removed without the consent of all the owners thereof, unless for the purpose of opening a public road or highway or making repairs.


272.330. Application of law
1. The provisions of sections 272.240 to 272.350 shall apply to any division fence even though it may stand wholly upon one side of the division line.
2. The provisions of sections 272.210 to 272.370 shall not apply to counties which have all or partial open range.


272.340. Judgment of judge may be reviewed in circuit court
Any person aggrieved by any order or judgment of the judge made or entered under the provisions of sections 272.250 and 272.280 may have the same reviewed by a petition in the circuit court of the county wherein the proceedings were had, verified by affidavit. A copy of the petition shall be delivered to the adverse party at least fifteen days before the commencement of the next term of the court, and the original filed in the office of the clerk; provided, that the petition may be filed within thirty days after the order or judgment was made or rendered, and not afterward.


272.350. Petition for review shall state what
The petition shall set forth the grounds of objection, and upon the filing thereof the circuit court shall be possessed of the cause, and proceed to hear and determine the objections, and make such order or judgment as may be right and just in the premises.


272.360. Provisions of law effective after election
The provisions of sections 272.210 to 272.370 are hereby suspended in the several counties of this state until a majority of the legal voters of any county voting on the question at any general or special election called for that purpose shall decide to enforce the same in the county.


272.370. Petition for election--notice--order of adoption
The county commission may on its own motion and shall upon the petition of one hundred real estate owners of ten acres or more of the county submit to the voters at a general or special election the proposition for the adoption by the county of the provisions of sections 272.210 to 272.370. The commission shall cause notice of the election to be published in a newspaper published within the county, or if no newspaper is published within the county, in a newspaper published in an adjoining county, for three weeks consecutively, the last insertion of which shall be at least ten days before the day of the election, and by posting printed notices thereof at three of the most public places in each township in the county. If a majority of the voters voting on the proposition vote in favor of the adoption of the provisions of sections 272.210 to 272.370 the county commission shall issue an order declaring the adoption. From and after the issuance of the order the provisions of sections 272.210 to 272.370 shall be in full force and effect in the county and the provisions of sections 272.010 to 272.140 shall be suspended in the county.


CHAPTER 537. TORTS AND ACTIONS FOR DAMAGES


537.270. Insufficient fence on railroad--stock killed-- damages
Whenever any livestock shall go in upon any railroad or its right-of-way, in this state, and the said railroad is not at such place or places enclosed by a good fence, on both sides of said railroad, such as is by law required, or where said railroad has failed to construct and maintain a good and sufficient cattle guard, or opening gate, such as is by law required, and such stock by being frightened or run by any passing locomotive, motor car, or other vehicle, or train on said railroad, shall be injured or killed by or because of having run against the fence on either side, or into any culvert, bridge, slough or mire, or other object along the line of said road, the railroad company shall pay the owner of any such stock so injured or killed the amount of the damages sustained.


Reviewed and revised by AAHS in September  2002.


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