University of Vermont AAHS

Oregon Livestock Laws


OREGON REVISED STATUTES
TITLE 48. ANIMALS
CHAPTER 607. STOCK RUNNING AT LARGE; LIVESTOCK DISTRICTS DEFINITIONS


607.005. Definitions.
As used in this chapter:

(1) "Class of livestock" means a class, species, genus or sex of livestock, including a class, species or genus of neutered livestock.

(2) "Department" means the State Department of Agriculture.

(3) "Federal land" means a tract of land containing 25,000 acres or more owned or administered by, or under the jurisdiction of, the United States and not subject to the laws of this state.

(4) "Livestock" means animals of the bovine species, horses, mules, asses, sheep, goats and swine.

(5) "Livestock district" means an area wherein it is unlawful for livestock or a class of livestock to run at large.

(6) "Open range" means an area wherein livestock may lawfully be permitted to run at large.


607.007. "Estray"; "adequate fence"; "taking up" defined.
As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise:

(1) "Estray" means livestock of any unknown person which is unlawfully running at large or being permitted to do so, or which is found to be trespassing on land enclosed by an adequate fence.

(2) "Adequate fence" means a continuous barrier consisting of natural barriers, structures, masonry, rails, poles, planks, wire or the combination thereof, installed and maintained in a condition so as to form a continuous guard and defense against the ingress or egress of livestock into or from the lands enclosed by said fence. Such natural barriers shall include hedges, ditches, rivers, streams, ponds or lakes.

(3) "Taking up" means the intentional exertion of control over livestock, including but not limited to the restriction of movement, holding under herd, feeding, pasturing or sheltering of such livestock.


607.008. Incorporated cities are livestock districts.
All incorporated cities are livestock districts.


607.010. Petition for creation of district.
(1) An elector who desires to create a livestock district may petition the county court or board of county commissioners to hold an election for such purpose. The petition shall be filed with the county clerk of the county wherein the district is sought to be created, shall set forth the name by which the proposed district is to be designated, and shall describe the boundaries thereof.

(2) The petition shall contain the signatures of six or more electors from each precinct, or portion of precinct, included within the boundaries of the proposed district; but in no case shall the petitioners be required to obtain the signatures of more than 100 electors. No person shall sign the petition unless the person owns real property within the proposed livestock district.

(3) The proposed livestock district shall contain not less than 2,000 acres.

(4) The petition shall state what livestock or class or classes thereof are not to be permitted to run at large within the proposed livestock district. A class of livestock may be further designated or described by minimum or maximum age limits or by breed.


607.012. Boundaries of proposed district.
The boundaries of the proposed livestock district shall follow subdivision lines of sections, section lines, township lines, donation land claim boundaries or lines, lakes, rivers, the boundary line of this state, public roads or county boundary lines, except that the boundary of an established livestock district may be used as a boundary for the proposed livestock district if the districts are adjacent to each other and will have a common boundary line.


607.013. Hearing on proposed formation of district.
(1) Upon receiving a petition as provided in ORS 607.010, the county court or board of county commissioners shall make an order declaring its intention to hold a hearing on the petition, naming the proposed district and describing its boundaries.

(2) The order shall fix the time and place for the hearing. The time shall be not less than 30 days after the making of the order. The county court or board of county commissioners shall direct the county clerk to publish a notice of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the county. The notice shall be headed: "Notice of the Proposed Formation of ---------- Livestock District, ------- --- County" (stating the name of the proposed district and the name of the county). It shall state the time and place of the hearing on the matter of formation of the district, shall describe the territory included therein, specify the boundaries thereof and name the livestock or class of livestock which shall not lawfully be permitted to run at large therein. The notice shall be published once a week for two successive weeks prior to the time fixed for the hearing. A copy of the published notice shall be forwarded to the department by certified mail.

(3) At the hearing any person interested may appear and present evidence relating to the petition. If, after a full hearing, the county court or board of county commissioners is of the opinion that the boundaries of the proposed livestock district should be changed, the county court or board of county commissioners may make the necessary changes.


607.015. Election to create livestock district.
Within 15 days after the hearing, the county court or board of county commissioners shall call an election to be held in the proposed district. The election shall be conducted in accordance with ORS chapter 255. The notice shall clearly state that the purpose of the election is to make it unlawful to permit livestock or a class of livestock to run at large within the boundaries described.


607.020. Changing boundaries and dissolution of districts.
(1) Any area containing 2,000 acres or more may be withdrawn from a livestock district, or a complete dissolution may be effected in the same manner as creation of a livestock district as provided in ORS 607.005 to 607.045. The notice of election for withdrawal or dissolution shall clearly state that the purpose of the election is to allow livestock or a class of livestock to run at large within the boundaries described.

(2) The boundary of an area to be withdrawn from a livestock district shall be drawn in compliance with ORS 607.012, except to the extent that it follows the boundary of the livestock district.

(3) No withdrawal from a livestock district shall be allowed if the area remaining within the livestock district will be less than 2,000 acres.

(4) Any withdrawal from or dissolution of a livestock district which is the subject of an order of the department issued under section 33, chapter 604, Oregon Laws 1957, shall be made with reference to the boundaries established thereby.

(5) Any area may be annexed to an existing livestock district in the same manner as creation of a livestock district as provided in ORS 607.005 to 607.045, except that:

(a) The area may be less than 2,000 acres;

(b) The petition for annexation may contain the signatures of fewer than six electors registered in the area proposed to be annexed, without regard to the precincts in which the electors are registered;

(c) The election procedures provided in ORS 607.015, and the notice and order provided in ORS 607.013, shall only apply to and be carried out in the area proposed to be annexed; and

(d) The electors on a proposed annexation shall be limited to those registered in the area to be annexed.

(6) Notwithstanding subsection (5) of this section and ORS 607.015, when a petition for annexation is signed by all the owners of all the land in the area proposed to be annexed or is signed by a majority of the electors registered in the area proposed to be annexed and by the owners of more than half of the land in the area, an election on the proposed annexation shall not be held in either the district or the area proposed to be annexed.

(7) When an annexation election is dispensed with under subsection (6) of this section, the county governing body, after the hearing on the petition for annexation, shall enter an order describing the boundaries of the area and declaring it annexed to the district. The annexation shall be effective on the date of entry of the order by the county governing body.


607.025. Cash deposit by petitioners for special election.
When, at the request of the petitioners, the election is to be held on a day other than one on which a biennial primary election or general election is scheduled to be held, and if the request is approved by the county court or board of county commissioners, one or more of the petitioners shall deposit money with the county clerk in an amount to be fixed by the county court or board of county commissioners, which shall be a sum deemed by it sufficient to defray the probable expenses of the special election. Until the money is deposited, the county clerk shall neither take action nor incur expense in connection with the special election. If the amount deposited exceeds the total expenses of the election, as ascertained by the county clerk and certified by the county clerk to the county court or board of county commissioners, the excess shall be returned to the petitioner or petitioners who deposited the money.


607.040. Notice of creation of a livestock district; filing of documents by county clerk.
(1) If a majority of all the votes cast is in favor of the creation of the livestock district, the county clerk shall give notice thereof by publication, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, once a week for two consecutive weeks, that on and after the 60th day from the date of the first publication of the notice it shall be unlawful for livestock or a class of livestock to be permitted to run at large within the boundaries of the livestock district. The notice shall state the name by which the district is to be known, the boundaries thereof and shall also set forth the penalties for violation of ORS 607.045.

(2) The county clerk shall file a copy of the notice, copies of all other published notices, the petitions and all other data or documents relating to the district in the county records in a book, record or file identified as "Livestock Districts." No other type of data or documents shall be filed therein. The county clerk shall also mail one certified copy of the final published notice, as provided in this section, by certified or registered mail to the department. Creation, withdrawal from or dissolution of a district shall not be effective until and unless the department has been so notified.


607.042. Livestock district not to petition for or vote on another district covering same class of animals; only one election a year on same proposal.
(1) The electors of a livestock district shall not petition for or vote on a proposed livestock district which includes their livestock district within its boundaries, unless the petition or election relates to a class of livestock different from that which is not permitted to run at large in their district.

(2) An election shall not be held for the creation or dissolution of or withdrawal from a livestock district in the same area within one year from the date of a prior election on the same proposal.


607.043. Land entirely enclosed by federal land.
The creation or dissolution of a livestock district shall not affect land entirely enclosed by federal land, unless the enclosed land is accurately and completely described in the petition. The electors residing on the enclosed land shall not vote on the creation or dissolution of such a district unless the enclosed land is accurately and completely described in the petition.


607.044. Civil liability for livestock at large in livestock district.
A person shall be liable to the owner or lawful possessor of land if the person permits an animal of a class of livestock to run at large upon such land and the land is located in a livestock district in which it is unlawful for such class of livestock to be permitted to run at large.


607.045. Livestock at large in livestock districts.
(1) No person owning or having the custody, possession or control of an animal of a class of livestock shall permit the animal to run at large or to be herded, pastured or to go upon the land of another in a livestock district in which it is unlawful for such class of livestock to be permitted to run at large.

(2) This section is not intended to prohibit a person from driving livestock along a public road.

(3) Justice, district and circuit courts have concurrent jurisdiction of actions for the prosecution of violations of this section.


607.051. Status of districts designated by order of State Department of Agriculture.
The livestock districts designated by department order under section 33, chapter 604, Oregon Laws 1957, shall be subject in all respects to the provisions of ORS 607.005 to 607.045.

 

607.055. Application of livestock confinement laws to federal lands.
To the extent permitted by federal law, lands owned or administered by or under the jurisdiction of the United States, other than federal land as defined in ORS 607.005, shall be treated in the same manner as private lands for purposes of ORS chapter 607 and ORS 608.015, 608.310 to 608.400, 608.510 and 608.990.


TITLE 48. ANIMALS
CHAPTER 607. STOCK RUNNING AT LARGE; LIVESTOCK DISTRICTS TAKING UP AND SELLING ANIMALS; ESTRAYS; INTERFERING WITH ANIMALS


607.300. Determining adequacy of fences.
Whenever livestock has broken through a fence on the open range and a determination of the adequacy of the fence is necessary in order to determine if such livestock is an estray, the department shall make the determination of the adequacy of the fence and shallconsider, among other things, the customs and practices of good husbandmen in the particular area with reference to fences.


607.303. Owner or lessee of property taking up livestock unlawfully permitted to run at large; notice to owner and department.
(1) A person who finds livestock unlawfully being permitted to run at large upon the premises of the person, or premises of which the person has lawful possession or control, may take up the livestock if the owner thereof is known to the person.

(2) A person taking up livestock shall within five days give notice of the taking up by certified or registered mail addressed to the owner or person having control of the livestock. The notice shall:

(a) Contain a concise description of the livestock, including marks and brands, if any.

(b) State that the livestock will be released to and sold by the department as an estray unless redeemed before such sale.

(c) Designate the time and place of sale, as approved by the department. The sale shall be held not less than 30 days nor more than 45 days from the date of the taking up.

(3) A person taking up livestock shall within five days of giving the notice provided in subsection (2) of this section forward a copy of the notice to the department or give a copy of the notice to a brand inspector or other agent of the department.


607.304. Delivery of livestock to department or owner; payment of costs to person taking up livestock; arbitration; fees.
(1) If the owner of the livestock does not appear in response to the notice given under ORS 607.303 (2), the livestock shall be delivered to the department, at a place designated by the department, at least 48 hours in advance of the date of sale and shall thereafter be sold by the department in accordance with ORS 607.328.

(2) If the owner of the livestock does appear, the livestock shall be delivered to the owner or agent if the owner pays to the person taking up the livestock, before the date of sale:

(a) The cost of taking up the livestock;

(b) The cost of giving notice;

(c) The cost of keeping the livestock; and

(d) The cost of repairing any damage done by the livestock to the property of the person taking it up.

(3) The person taking up the livestock, upon delivery thereof to the owner, shall notify the department that such action has been taken.

(4) If the owner is unable to agree with the person taking up the livestock as to the amount of the costs payable to such person, such owner shall:

(a) Within five days of the date the owner is advised of the amount of such costs, pay an arbitration fee of $ 150 to the department, give written notice to the department and the person taking up the livestock that the owner disagrees with the amount of the costs, that the owner desires arbitration of such disagreement and that the owner desires the department to furnish the owner with a list of arbitrators from which the owner can appoint one arbitrator; and

(b) Within five days of the date the owner is furnished the list of arbitrators, give written notice to the department and the person taking up the livestock of the name of the person appointed by the owner as arbitrator from such list.

(5) Upon receiving the notice of the owner described in subsection (4)(a) of this section, the department shall furnish to the owner and the person taking up the livestock the names of five arbitrators selected from the list of qualified persons maintained in accordance with subsection (10) of this section. Upon receiving the notices of appointment of arbitrators, as provided in subsection (4)(b) and subsection (6) of this section, the department shall give written notice to each appointed arbitrator of the arbitrator's appointment.

(6) Within five days of the date of receiving the list of arbitrators, the person taking up the livestock shall give written notice to the department and to the owner of the name of the person appointed as arbitrator from such list.

(7) Upon receiving the notice provided in subsection (5) of this section, the two arbitrators shall each give the department written notice of acceptance of such appointment. The department shall thereafter appoint a third arbitrator and notify all three arbitrators of such appointment. The third arbitrator shall give the department written notice of acceptance of such appointment. The department shall pay each appointed arbitrator $ 50 from the money paid to the department under subsection (4) of this section for arbitration services. The three arbitrators shall act as a board of arbitration and may hear witnesses, take testimony, inspect documents, the livestock and premises and thereafter render their decision as to the amount allowable as costs. Such decision shall be by majority vote and conclusive as to the owner and person taking up the livestock upon receipt of the decision by the department. Written notice of such decision shall be given to the department, the owner and the person taking up the livestock within 30 days of the appointment of the third arbitrator.

(8)(a) If the owner gives the notice required by subsection (4)(a) of this section, but does not therein indicate a desire to arbitrate or a desire to have a list of arbitrators furnished to the owner, the owner's right to arbitration shall be deemed waived and the livestock shall be delivered to the department, at a place designated by the department, by the person taking up the livestock. Thereafter the livestock shall be sold by the department in accordance with ORS 607.328.

(b) If the person taking up the livestock fails to give the notice required by subsection (6) of this section, such person's right to arbitration shall be deemed waived and the livestock shall not be sold. The owner shall be entitled to the immediate possession thereof without payment of any of the costs described in subsection (2) of this section.

(9) At any time during the arbitration provided for in this section, the owner of the livestock may give written notice to the department and the person taking up the livestock of the owner's desire to regain immediate possession and custody of such livestock. If the owner gives such notice, and at the same time deposits with the department a cash deposit in an amount equal to the accrued costs claimed by the person taking up the livestock as of the date such notice is given, the livestock shall be released to the owner or agent within 48 hours after the giving of such notice and cash deposit. The department is authorized to pay the costs determined by the arbitrators pursuant to subsection (7) of this section to the person taking up the livestock and return the balance, if any, to the owner.

(10) The department shall establish and maintain a list of persons qualified by experience and knowledge to act as arbitrators in accordance with subsection (7) of this section. In furnishing the names of five arbitrators, as provided in subsection (5) of this section, the department shall first determine that none of such persons named:

(a) Is related to either the owner or person taking up the livestock;

(b) Is, or has been, an agent, employee or business associate of either the owner or person taking up the livestock; or

(c) Has for any reason bias or prejudice towards either the owner or person taking up the livestock.

(11) If either the owner or person taking up the livestock intentionally fails to disclose to the department that any of the five arbitrators furnished to them as provided in subsection (5) of this section does not meet the criteria described in subsection (10) of this section, the department shall upon determining such intentional failure to disclose:

(a) Declare the arbitrator disqualified and any arbitration decision previously rendered void and of no effect;

(b) Select a person from its list to replace the disqualified arbitrator; and

(c) Direct the arbitration be undertaken with the newly appointed arbitrator as a member of the board of arbitration.


607.308. Alternative procedure for person taking up livestock.
A person taking up livestock of a known owner, in lieu of following the procedure established by ORS 607.303 and 607.304, may, within five days after the taking up, deliver the livestock and the notice described in ORS 607.313 (1) to the department at a place designated by the department. The livestock shall thereafter be disposed of by the department in accordance with ORS 607.321 or 607.328.


607.311. Taking up estray prohibited without giving notice.
(1) A person who finds an estray upon the premises of the person or premises of which the person has lawful possession or control may take up the estray.

(2) No person shall knowingly take up or retain possession, custody or control of an estray without giving the notice required by ORS 607.313.


607.313. Notice to department by persons taking up estrays; recovery of costs.
(1) Any person taking up an estray shall, within five days thereof, give written notice to the department of the taking up. Such notice shall include:

(a) A statement of the description of the livestock, including marks and brands or other identifying characteristics.

(b) The date of the taking up.

(c) The location of the taking up and present location of the livestock.

(2) In the event any person gives the notice required by subsection (1) of this section, but fails to do so within the time allowed therein, such person taking up an estray shall only be entitled to recover those costs verified by the department of taking up the livestock, of giving notice thereof and of keeping the livestock, as provided in ORS 607.304 (2), 607.332 and 607.338 incurred within five days immediately preceding the giving of such notice, but not such costs incurred prior thereto.


607.321. Investigation by department upon receipt of notice; procedure if department determines estray owner.
(1) The department, when it receives a notice as described in ORS 607.313, shall attempt to determine the owner of the estray from the recorded brand, marks, other identifying characteristics and other relevant information tending to establish ownership.

(2) A record of the findings of the department supporting its determination of ownership shall be made and retained by the department for three years.

(3) The department shall have 20 days after it receives a notice described in ORS 607.313 to determine ownership of an estray. In the event the department determines the owner of the estray within this time limit, it shall at that time give written notice to such owner and the person taking up the estray, at their last-known addresses, which shall contain the matters described in ORS 607.328 (2)(b). If such owner does not appear and claim the estray prior to sale, in accordance with ORS 607.332, the sale shall be carried out as provided in ORS 607.328.


607.328. Procedure for sale of estrays; notice.
(1) The department shall cause livestock to be sold at public sale:

(a) In the event the department does not determine the owner of an estray pursuant to ORS 607.321; or

(b) In the event livestock of a known owner is delivered to it pursuant to ORS 607.304 (1) or (8); or

(c) In the event livestock of a known owner is delivered to it pursuant to ORS 607.308, and sale thereof is required because of the owner's failure to appear and claim the same as provided in ORS 607.332.

(2) Prior to the holding of any public sale, as provided in subsection (1) of this section, the department shall:

(a) Designate a time and place of public sale, which shall be held not less than five days after receiving the notice of taking up.

(b) Cause a notice of such public sale to be given by posting a written or printed notice of the time and place of sale, a description of the livestock and that such sale shall take place if the livestock is not claimed by the owner thereof prior to the sale. Said posting shall be in two public places of the county where the livestock was taken up for not less than 48 hours prior to the date of sale. If the department is satisfied that adequate notice has been given an owner pursuant to ORS 607.303 (2), notice need not be posted.


607.332. Claim by owner before sale.
(1) If the owner of livestock appears and claims it prior to sale, the owner shall pay to the department all costs described in ORS 607.337 (1) and, except as limited by ORS 607.313 (2), shall pay to the person taking up the livestock all costs described in ORS 607.304 (2) which have accrued theretofore. Upon such payment, the livestock shall be released to the owner or the agent of the owner. Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, if the owner fails to pay the costs, the sale shall be carried out in accordance with ORS 607.328.

(2) If the owner is unable to agree with the person taking up the livestock as to the amount of the costs payable to such person, such owner and person taking up shall proceed with arbitration of such disagreement as provided by ORS 607.304 (4) to (10).


607.336. Title of purchaser at sale.
The purchaser of livestock sold in accordance with ORS 607.328 shall have clear and absolute title to such livestock.


607.337. Use of proceeds from sale.
(1) All costs incurred by the department in the taking up and sale of an estray shall be paid from the proceeds thereof in the following priority:

(a) Cost of publication of notice.

(b) Cost of the sale.

(c) Cost of transportation of the estray to the point of sale.

(d) Reasonable cost of feed and care prior to sale.

(e) All other costs including the time and mileage of the employees of the department.

(2) If the proceeds of the sale are inadequate to pay all of the costs mentioned in subsection (1) of this section, the department shall pay the deficiency.

(3) Subject to ORS 607.338 (1) and (3), any balance remaining from the proceeds of sale shall be transmitted to the department which shall deposit it in the Department of Agriculture Account in the General Fund. Proceeds so deposited shall be held in such account for a period of one year subject to claim by the owner.

(4) If the owner fails to establish the right of the owner to the proceeds of sale within one year, all right, title and claim thereto shall be transferred to the department to expend and use in carrying out this chapter and ORS chapter 604. Proceeds now being held by the department as the result of sale of estrays are subject to this subsection.


607.338. Use of proceeds where private person has taken up livestock; arbitration of costs.
(1) If the department sells livestock pursuant to ORS 607.328, it shall from the proceeds of the sale first reimburse itself for the costs described in ORS 607.337 (1), and from the balance, if any, pay to the person taking up the livestock the costs described in ORS 607.304 (2), except as limited by ORS 607.308, 607.313 (2) and subsection (2) of this section.

(2) If the department sells livestock pursuant to ORS 607.328 which has been delivered to it pursuant to ORS 607.304 (1), it shall allow to the person taking up the livestock only reasonable costs, and the department's determination of the reasonableness thereof shall be final. However, the department may, upon written request of the person taking up the livestock, submit the question of the amount of reasonable costs to arbitration. In such event, the department shall furnish to the person taking up the livestock the names of five arbitrators selected from the list of qualified persons maintained in accordance with ORS 607.304 (10), and the person taking up the livestock shall appoint one arbitrator from such list within five days of receiving such list. The department shall thereafter appoint one arbitrator and the two arbitrators shall jointly appoint a third arbitrator from such list. Written notice of the appointment of such third arbitrator shall be given by such two arbitrators to the department and the person taking up the livestock within five days of the date they are furnished such list. The three arbitrators shall act as a board of arbitration and may hear witnesses, take testimony, inspect documents, the livestock and the premises and thereafter render their decision as to the amount of reasonable costs. Their decision shall be final. Written notice of such decision shall be given to the department and the person taking up the livestock within 30 days of the appointment of the third arbitrator. The person taking up the livestock shall pay an arbitration fee of $ 150 to the department at the time of submitting the written request for arbitration, from which the department shall pay each appointed arbitrator $ 50 for arbitration services.

(3) Any balance remaining from the proceeds of the sale after the department has reimbursed itself and has paid the costs of the person taking up the livestock shall be paid to the owner of the livestock. If the owner fails to establish the right to the remaining proceeds within one year after the sale, all rights thereto shall vest in the department to use in carrying out the provisions of this chapter and ORS chapter 604.

(4) Nothing contained in this section is intended to require the department to pay the costs of the person taking up the livestock if the proceeds of the sale thereof are not sufficient to pay such costs.


607.339. Liability of department.
Except for gross negligence the department shall not be liable for the payment of the proceeds of sale or return of custody of an estray to a person claiming to be the true owner of such estray.


607.341. Jurisdiction of courts.
Justice courts and district courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction with circuit courts of proceedings brought on violations of ORS 607.303 to 607.341.


TITLE 48. ANIMALS
CHAPTER 608. FENCES TO PREVENT DAMAGE BY OR TO ANIMALS CIVIL LIABILITY


608.015. Civil liability for animals trespassing on adequately fenced land situated on open range.
(1) As used in this section, "open range" means an area wherein livestock may lawfully be permitted to run at large.

(2) A person who permits a horse, mule, ass, sheep, goat or animal of the bovine species to trespass on land enclosed by an adequate fence and situated on open range shall be liable to the owner or lawful possessor of the enclosed land for damage done by the animal. The person seeking to recover the damages shall plead and prove that the fence of the person consisted of structures, masonry, hedges, ditches, rails, poles, planks, rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, wire fences, natural or artificial barriers of any kind or any combination thereof. The adequacy of the fence shall be determined by reference to the customs and practices of good husbandmen in the particular area with reference to fences. The question of the existence of the fence and the adequacy thereof are questions of fact.

(3) Nothing contained in subsection (2) of this section is intended to modify the provisions of ORS 608.310 to 608.400.


608.310. Erecting and maintaining fences, crossings, gates and cattle guards.
(1) Every person, or the lessee or agent of the person, owning or operating any railroad, shall erect and maintain good and sufficient lawful fences on both sides of the railroad line, except at the crossings of and upon public roads and highways, within such portions of cities as are or may be laid out and platted in lots and blocks and at railroad station grounds. Such person shall also at the same time erect and maintain necessary farm crossings and gates and sufficient cattle guards at all public crossings.

(2) Railroad lines shall be so fenced and farm crossings, gates and cattle guards installed, within three months from the time such lines are put in operation. However, the Department of Transportation may prescribe by rule the number, location and character of farm crossings which may be necessary and the manner in which they shall be constructed so that they are reasonably adequate, safe, sufficient and convenient, but not so as to impair the terms of any contract between the landowner and the railroad or decree in condemnation relative to such crossings.

(3) The Department of Transportation may, by rule, determine and prescribe any other description of fence than that designated as a lawful fence, which shall be constructed and maintained by any such railroad company between the points which are designated in such rule, and may provide for the apportionment of the costs of reconstruction necessitated thereby as between the parties interested.

(4) The Department of Transportation by rule may suspend the operation of this section as to any particular portion of any line of railroad.


608.320. Railroad refusing or failing to maintain fences, gates and guards.
(1) Any person shall forfeit and pay into the State Treasury the sum of $ 100 for each mile of fence on either side of a railroad, or for each farm crossing, gate or cattle guard which the person fails, neglects or refuses to erect and maintain in violation of ORS 608.310. This shall be recovered as other penalties are recovered and paid into the State Treasury.

(2) If a person neglects or refuses to comply with ORS 608.310 to 608.330, the Attorney General or prosecuting attorney of the proper county may, by mandamus, compel compliance with such sections.

(3) The provisions of ORS 608.310 to 608.330 are cumulative to existing remedies.


608.330. Leaving gate open.
(1) No person shall intentionally or negligently leave open or unfastened any farm crossing gate, or let down and leave down any bars of any railroad fence.

(2) Justices of the peace have original jurisdiction for violations of this section.


608.340. Liability of railroad for killing or injuring stock.
Any person, or the lessee or agent of the person, owning or operating any railroad, is liable for the value of any horses, mules, colts, cows, bulls, calves, hogs or sheep killed, and for reasonable damages for any injury to any such livestock upon or near any unfenced track of any railroad in this state, whenever the killing or injury is caused by any moving train, engine or cars upon such track.


608.350. Fences sufficient to relieve railroad of liability.
No railroad track shall be deemed to be fenced within the meaning of ORS 608.340 unless it is guarded by such fence against the entrance thereon of any livestock on either side of the track, and not more than 100 feet from the track. Whatever is a lawful fence in the county where the killing or injury occurs, and no other, shall be deemed a lawful fence under ORS 608.340. However, complete natural defenses against the entrance of stock upon the track, such as natural walls or deep ditches, shall be deemed to be a fence under such section, when it, in connection with other and ordinary lawful fences, forms a continuous guard and defense against the entrance of such livestock upon the track.


608.360. When railroad's negligence is presumed; contributory negligence and willful intent as defense.
In every action for the recovery of the value of any livestock killed, or for damages for injury to any livestock, under ORS 608.340, proof of such killing or injury shall of itself be deemed conclusive evidence in any court of this state of negligence upon the part of the person, or the lessees or agents of the person, owning or operating such railroad. Contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff in such action may be set up as a defense, but allowing stock to run at large upon common unfenced range or upon enclosed land owned or in possession of the owner of such stock shall not be deemed contributory negligence. In any such action, proof of willful intent on the part of the plaintiff to procure the killing or injury of such stock shall defeat the recovery of any damages for such killing or injury.


608.370. Service of process on agent.
In any action authorized by ORS 608.340, service of summons or any other necessary process may be made upon any person, or the lessees or agents of the person, owning or operating any railroad, by personal service upon any authorized agent thereof, residing or stationed in the county where such action is brought.


608.380. Notice of stock injured or killed.
Whenever any livestock mentioned in ORS 608.340 is killed or injured by a moving train or engine upon the unfenced railroad track of any railroad in this state, the owner, operator, lessee or agent of the railroad shall immediately notify or cause notice to be given to the sheriff of the county where the accident occurred, and within a reasonable time shall deliver to the sheriff a written description of the livestock so killed or injured, including brands, earmarks and any marks of ownership, and a statement of the condition of or extent and nature of injuries to the livestock.


608.390. Notifying brand inspector.
Upon receipt of the information mentioned in ORS 608.380, the sheriff shall immediately notify the nearest brand inspector and deliver the written statement to the inspector.


608.400. Inspection of injured livestock and notice to owner.
When notified of the killing or injury of livestock under the circumstances described in ORS 608.380, the brand inspector or sheriff shall go to the scene of the accident, examine any identifying marks and, if the ownership of the livestock is determined, notify the owner. If the owner remains unknown, the sheriff shall cause publication in a county newspaper of a description of the livestock and the facts of the accident.


608.990. Penalties.
(1) Violation of ORS 608.330 is punishable, upon conviction, by a fine not exceeding $ 50 or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding 10 days, or both.

(2) Violation of ORS 608.380 is a Class A violation.

(3) Violation of ORS 608.510 is a Class D violation.


Amended in 1997, 1999.
Reviewed by updated by AAHS in December 2001.


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