Question: My neighbor’s cattle are always out. They don’t take care of their fence and they are getting into my yard. I can deal with that, but my real concern is the highway we live along. I’m worried someone is going to hit a cow and get hurt or something worse. There must be a law about this.

Answer: This is concerning as this type of activity could lead to a crash resulting in life-changing injuries. In 2019, Minnesota had 1,632 crashes involving animals. While most of those were deer, a significant number of the crashes involved cattle. 

Throughout my career, I’ve responded to several crashes involving cattle, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep, swine, goats and much more. A vehicle running into (and sometimes under) a 1,000 to 2,000 pound animal can quickly turn a sedan into a convertible. Many of these crashes resulted in serious injuries and occasionally something worse. 

To answer your question, yes, there is a law. Minnesota State Statute 346.16 addresses livestock “running at large.” The law states that civil action can also be taken. The owner of the animal is responsible for keeping it fenced in and safely off public roadways.  

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).

 

Jesse Grabow is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.

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