University of Vermont AAHS

Utah Livestock Laws




4-25-1. Definition
For the purpose of this chapter "estray" means any unbranded sheep, cattle, horses, mules, or asses found running at large, or any branded sheep, cattle, horses, mules, or asses found running at large whose owner cannot be found after reasonable search, or any swine found running at large whose owner cannot be found after reasonable search; but it does not mean nor include any unweaned animal specified in this section that is running with its mother.

4-25-2. County responsibility for estrays -- Contracts with other local governments authorized
Each county is responsible for the disposition of all estrays found within its boundaries. Each county in the discharge of its responsibility, however, may contract upon mutually agreeable terms with any city, town, or other county with an animal control office to perform any or all of the functions imposed by this chapter.

4-25-3. Department authorized to make and enforce rules
The department is authorized, subject to Title 63, Chapter 46a, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, to make and enforce such rules as in its judgment are necessary to administer and enforce this chapter.

4-25-4. Possession of estrays -- Determination and location of owner -- Sale -- Disposition of proceeds -- Notice -- Title of purchaser -- Immunity from liability
(1) Each county, except as otherwise provided in Section 4-25-5, shall take physical possession of any estray it finds within its boundaries and attempt to determine the name and location of the animal's owner. The department shall assist any county which requests its help in locating the name and location of the owner or other person responsible for such animal. If ownership of the estray cannot be determined, or, if having determined ownership, neither the county nor the department is able to locate the owner within a reasonable period of time, the animal, notwithstanding the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act, shall be sold at a livestock or other appropriate market and the proceeds of such sale paid, after the deduction of feed, transportation, and market costs, to the county causing the sale of such estray.

(2) No sale of an estray under this section shall be conducted without notice of the intended sale being published at least once ten days before the date of sale in a publication with general circulation within the county where the estray was taken into custody.

(3) The purchaser of an estray sold under this section shall receive title to the estray free and clear of all claims of the owner and any person claiming through the owner.

(4) The county, provided it complies with this chapter, is immune from liability on account of any estray sold at a livestock or other appropriate market.

4-25-5. Report of estrays -- Possession -- Relief from liability
(1) Any person, other than an official of the county or of an animal control office under contract with the county, who finds an estray shall report such fact to the county or animal control office immediately. The county or the animal control office upon receipt of notification shall either take possession of the estray or, if deemed appropriate, authorize the person in possession of the estray to maintain and care for it pending determination and location of its owner.

(2) Any person who gives notice of an estray and delivers it to the county or animal control office is relieved of all liability to third persons on account of the estray to the extent of the value of the animal.

4-25-6. Compensation for care of estrays -- Liability of county -- Notice required
(1) A person who finds an estray and who, after giving notice is authorized by the county to maintain and care for it, is entitled to compensation from the owner, or from the county, as the case may be, for the reasonable costs of feeding and maintaining the animal; provided, that the county is liable for such cost only if the owner is not located after diligent search.

(2) No person who finds an estray however, is entitled to reimbursement for feed and maintenance or for any other cost incurred on behalf of the estray before such time as notice of the estray is given to the county or to the appropriate animal control office.

4-25-7. County legislative body authorized to adopt fence ordinance in derogation of common law -- Lawful fence to be specified by ordinance
The county legislative body of any county is authorized through ordinance to declare and enforce a general policy within the county for the fencing of farms, subdivisions, or other private property, to allow domestic animals to graze without trespassing on farms, subdivisions, or other private property. If such an ordinance is adopted, the county legislative body shall through ordinance declare and specify what constitutes a lawful fence.

4-25-8. Owner liable for trespass of animals -- Exception -- Intervention by county representative (1) The owner of
any neat cattle, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, or swine that trespasses upon the premises of another person, except in cases where the premises are not enclosed by a lawful fence in a county or municipality which has adopted a fence ordinance, is liable in a civil action to the owner or occupant of the premises for any damage inflicted by the trespass.

(2) A county representative may intervene to remove the animal and the county is entitled to fair compensation for costs incurred. If the animal is not claimed within one week after written notification is sent to its owner, a county representative may sell the animal to cover costs incurred.

4-25-9. Animals running at large -- Prohibition -- Limited exception
No person who owns or is in possession of a stallion, jack, or ridgeling over 18 months old, or a ram over three months old, shall permit it to run at large within the limits of, or on the summer range of, any town or settlement; provided, that two-thirds of the voters of any county or isolated part of a county may elect through an election to make this section ineffective in all or part of the county during part of the year.

4-25-10. Bulls -- Number required on range during breeding season
No person during breeding season shall turn loose or range any cattle upon a federal range or forest reserve located in this state without ranging one bull for every 30 head of female breeding cattle ranged; provided, that a person ranging any portion of 30 head of female breeding cattle may arrange for an interest in a bull which is ranging on the federal range or the forest reserve where such breeding cattle are located.

4-25-11. Determination and enforcement of bull running policy by range association
A local range association may determine and enforce a general policy regarding the type and quality of bulls allowed to run at large upon a community allotment of public lands located in this state.

4-25-12. Permitting swine to trespass after notice -- Class "C" misdemeanor
The owner or person in control of any swine that permits it to trespass upon the improved private property of another person within three days after receipt of written notice demanding that the owner or person in control prevent further trespass is guilty of a class "C" misdemeanor; provided, that the owner or person in control of the swine is entitled to a reasonable time after notice for removal of the trespassing animal.




41-6-38. Livestock on highway -- Restrictions -- Collision, action for damages
(1) A person owning or in possession or control of any livestock may not willfully or negligently permit any of the livestock
to stray or remain unaccompanied by a person in charge or control of the livestock upon a highway, both sides of which are adjoined by property which is separated from the highway by a fence, wall, hedge, sidewalk, curb, lawn, or building. This subsection does not apply to range stock drifting onto any highway in going to or returning from their accustomed ranges.

(2) A person may not drive any livestock upon, over, or across any highway during the period from half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise, without keeping a sufficient number of herders with warning lights on continual duty to open the road to permit the passage of vehicles.

(3) In any civil action brought by the owner, operator, or occupant of a motor vehicle or by their personal representatives or assignees, or by the owner of the livestock for damages caused by collision with any domestic animal or animals on a highway, there is no presumption that the collision was due to negligence on behalf of the owner or the person in possession of livestock.

41-6-38.5. Peace officer investigating accident to notify owner if livestock or broken fence involved -- Exempt from liability
(1) A peace officer investigating an accident resulting in injury or death of any livestock shall make reasonable efforts as soon as possible to locate the owner of the livestock and inform the owner of the injured or dead animal.

(2) A peace officer investigating an accident resulting in a broken fence, if it appears the fence contains or controls the movement of livestock, shall make reasonable efforts as soon as possible to locate the owner of the property and inform the owner of the broken fence.

(3) Civil or criminal liability for claims does not arise against any peace officer for failure to locate the owner of the livestock or property. This subsection does not preclude disciplinary action by the department against a peace officer for failure to perform duties required by this section.



56-1-12. Injury to livestock -- Notice
Every person operating a railroad within this state that injures or kills any livestock of any description by the running of any engine or engines, car or cars, over or against any such livestock shall within three days thereafter post at the first railroad station in each direction from the place of such injury or killing in some conspicuous place on the outside of such station a notice in writing of the number and kind of animals so injured or killed, with a full description of each, and the time and place as near as may be of such injury or killing. Such notice shall be dated and signed by some officer or agent of such railroad, and a duplicate thereof shall be filed with the county clerk of the county in which stock is so injured or killed. Every person willfully failing, neglecting or refusing to comply with the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined in any sum not exceeding $50.

56-1-13. Fencing right of way -- Gates

Every railroad company shall erect and maintain a fence on each side of its rights of way where the same passes through
lands owned and improved by private owners, and at all public road crossings shall connect the same with cattle guards. Such fence shall not be less than four and one-half feet in height and may be constructed of barbed or other fencing wire with not less than five wires, and good, substantial posts not more than one rod apart with a stay midway between the posts attached to the wires to keep said wires in place; and whenever such railroad company shall provide gates for private crossings for the convenience of the owners of the land through which such railroad passes, such gates shall be so constructed that they may be easily operated; and every railroad company shall be liable for all damages sustained by the owner of any domestic animal killed or injured by such railroad in consequence of the failure to build or maintain such fence. The owner of such lands shall keep such gate closed at all times when not in actual use, and if such owner fails to keep such gates closed, and in consequence thereof, any animal owned by him strays upon such railroad, and is killed or injured, such owner shall not be entitled to recover damages therefor.




56-2-6. Fencing rights of way to protect livestock -- Power of Public Service Commission to require
The Public Service Commission shall have the jurisdiction and authority to require every railroad company or corporation operating any steam or electric railroad in this state to erect and maintain fences on each side or either side of such railroad, where such railroad is not now required by law to erect and maintain fences, at such places as the commission shall determine such fences to be necessary to protect sheep, cattle, horses or mules or any other domestic animal being driven, ranged or grazed upon lands adjacent to such railroad from being wounded, maimed or killed by the operation or management of engines, cars or other rolling stock upon or over such railroad, with necessary openings and gates in such fences, and crossings and cattle guards.

56-2-7. Exercise of fencing power by commission -- Necessity of application by livestock owners
The Public Service Commission may exercise the jurisdiction and authority granted in Section 56-2-6 only when at least three persons with the right to drive, range, or graze sheep, cattle, horses, or mules upon land adjacent to the portion of the railroad sought to be fenced file a request for agency action with the Public Service Commission.

56-2-8. Contents of livestock owners' application for fencing
In addition to the information required by Title 63, Chapter 46b, the request for agency action shall:

(1) identify the lands;

(2) identify the name and address of the owner of the lands;

(3) if any of the lands are owned by the United States or the state of Utah, designate the agency or department of government that administers the lands;

(4) identify the nature of the right of each petitioner to drive, range, or graze sheep, cattle, horses, or mules on the lands; and

(5) specify the ownership of the railroad sought to be fenced.

56-2-12. Liability for railroad's noncompliance with commission's fencing orders
The failure of any railroad company or corporation to comply with any order of the commission authorized by this act shall not subject such noncomplying railroad company or corporation, or any of its officers, agents or employees, to any of the penalties prescribed in Sections 54-7-25 and 54- 7-26, Utah Code Annotated 1953, but shall subject such company or corporation to the liability prescribed by Section 56-1-13, Utah Code Annotated 1953.




10-8-35. Fences, cattle guards and street crossings -- Duty of railroads They may require railroad companies to fence  their respective railroads or any portion of the same, and to construct cattle guards, crossings of streets and public roads, and keep the same in repair within the limits of the corporation.

56-2-11. Modification or revocation of commission's orders requiring fencing
Such commission shall also have the jurisdiction and authority to modify or revoke any such order when upon its determination the necessity for any such fence shall cease to exist.

Reviewed by AAHS in December 2001.

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