Tony McTigue | Trainee Solicitor

Agricultural Beasts and Where You Don’t Want to Find Them

Spring has sprung and with it comes a greater presence of livestock in our neighbours’ fields.

Those living in rural areas can face a real problem when livestock wander from their fields. It is far from unknown to find a wandering solitary cow or herd of sheep coming – uninvited – into private property, having paid no heed to boundaries and laws prohibiting property damage.  In such cases, what can be done?

Practicalities rather than legalities often are to the fore; including that if the livestock’s owner is known then it is rather obvious simply to contact them advising of their animal’s trespass and seeking their urgent removal. Animal charities can be involved if welfare issues arise and potentially the Police if the owner’s identity is not known and the situation is sufficiently serious.

However, legal issues do arise and there can be civil liability; the Animals Act 1971 gives a property owner the legal rights to deal with such problems. If damage is caused (including to boundary fences) the Act holds their owner liable for remedial costs and in extreme cases the Act can allow the property owner to detain and even sell the livestock. 

Every situation tends to differ as to facts and legal remedies, so the recommendation is to seek legal advice where a problem arises.

If you’re considering a civil claim for damages caused by wandering livestock – be it sheep, cattle or otherwise – then Jackson Boyd’s Dispute Resolution department will be able to assist. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Tony McTigue

Tony McTigue

Dispute Resolution Team

"I always aim to provide clear advice to clients, as I keep in mind their stresses and anxieties during difficult moments. "

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