Is it the responsibility of the owner of the horse to fence their animal in, or the responsibility of the neighbors to fence the horse out? I have been debating this issue with my father in law who refuses to hold his little sister responsible for her STALLION who is always out, on our property, eating my hay, flowers, and destroying my fences.  Her property is next door and she has a 3 wire barbed wire fence that is very loose.  She operates a small animal rescue on her property and refuses to take responsibility for her horses.  This 3 yr old colt walks through her fence as though it didn't exist. He used to get into my feed barrel, but I moved it inside my pasture to end that problem because he would climb over or though anyone who opened it.  Now he gets out on our Private road and eats my hay. One of my two remaining bales is so bad, it wont be moveable. It will fall apart and Curtis just says I have no right to complain.  She owns part of the road(an I know she doesn't.)  He tells me it our responsibility to fence this horse out of our property and she has a right to let him run loose. I dont agree and I am so frustrated. What do you think?

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Comment by Shirley on October 27, 2012 at 12:30am

Kate, so sorry to hear that anyone has to go through all of this with anyone but especially someone that is a relative even if it is an 'in-law". I don't know about any of your laws but anything I've ever heard of the laws are really in your favor. What happens with your husband? He must be upset too. What a terrible way to treat you. it's against all logic. Best wishes to you that this ends as soon as possible with the least stress for you and your husband as possible. I have seen some men have a terrible time standing up to their family even when his family is way in the wrong. Hope that situation is not also something you have to deal with. Good luck.

Comment by B. G. Hearns on October 16, 2012 at 9:10pm

Your problem isn't the stallion... that's a no-brainer. (I'd be very surprised indeed if your state didn't have laws against such behaviour by an animal).

Your problem is the family part.

My heart goes out to you, because you have to deal with what happens after you resort to legal measures. From the brief description, I'd say your husband's aunt is being irresponsible at best, and, in my experience, irresponsible people are also unreasonable, emotional, and can hold grudges forever.

That is going to make your home-life difficult at best, because it will force him into an awkward position, having to choose between his wife and property (the hay, I mean) and his family. Something he's not going to be happy about, either, and that is going to affect your relationship.

I really hope things work out for you.

Comment by Marlene Thoms on October 16, 2012 at 12:16pm

You need to check your local and state laws, or call whoever enforces these things and ask them what your rights are. Almost any where has laws against livestock causing damage (eating your hay is property damage). Not sure about the covering your mare situation, but you have to read the laws. You might have to take her to small claims court (not usually expensive) which it would be nice if she complied voluntarily, but obviously she's not "getting it". This colt is only going to get bigger and better at getting through fences even if she fixes them up, so you may be back in court in a year or two when he learns to jump.  Is there a chastity belt for mares?

Comment by Jackie Cochran on October 16, 2012 at 9:44am

I live in NC.  I used to own stallions.  If I had EVER just left a stallion loose, unfenced and totally uncontained, animal control would have been called in, I would have been financially responsible for every bit of damage the horse did to other people's property, plus I would have been financially responsible for all ensuing veterinary and medical bills AND I would have been prosecuted for not obeying animal control laws.  Stallions running around loose can be DANGEROUS to people, animals and property, and if your local laws do not acknowledge the danger from loose stallions it might be a good idea to get some people together and start working on changing the law.


Comment by Kate Green on October 15, 2012 at 10:22pm

Poor Riena was tied to a post as I put up the saddle and he took advantage during the brief time I was out of sight. She couldn't even run away.

Comment by Kate Green on October 15, 2012 at 10:21pm

He has been out and covered my 2 yo filly. Hopefully she is not in foal.  I had not planned to breed her for two more years in order to allow her time to grow and develop.  I scream and shout to no avail.

Comment by Kate Green on October 15, 2012 at 4:46pm

I think I will check with state and county, as some old range laws still apply (such as county roads and Farm to market roads) the livestock still has right away. I have been dealing with this for quite a while.  I am at witts end.  I have been arguing that containing her stallion was HER duty, not mine.  She sure didn't mind letting me feed him for a year at my own expense, but she is too broke to fix fences and refuses to DIY.  I DIY all of my fences and have nice, tight, 5 wire fences that discourage a horse from trying to cross them.  I know we have a stallion at large law that makes it a ticketable offense to not contain your stud.  My hay is sitting along the private road, outside out fence because she passes through our property to reach hers. Its the only way I can get a secure fence to keep him out of it, but she and everyone else keep leaving the gate open.  

Comment by Jackie Cochran on October 15, 2012 at 12:09pm

I know that different states have different laws.  Here in NC if a stallion gets loose, breeds a mare, and the mare gets pregnant, the stallion owner is responsible for supporting the mare through the pregnancy and paying all the vet bills for the mare, with the foal staying the property of the mare owner.

Some western states have range laws that are different, at least for cattle, but from the very little I know the owner of the cattle has to give notice to the land owners that his herd will come through and when.  Even then there may different laws for loose stallions than for loose mares and geldings.

Comment by Barbara F. on October 15, 2012 at 11:01am

She is responsible for fencing him in, Period.

She is responsible for containing the animals in her care. Allowing any horse go escape through barbed-wire, possibly get tangled in it and excape to who-knows-where is not taking care of the animal.


Also, allowing your animals to go to someone else's farm and eat their hay is illegal. In fact it is the same as stealing. Would this be ok if the horse were going into a stranger's yard? Of course not. Would this be ok if the horse went out onto the road and caused an accident? Of course not. Let's look at it another way. If this were a large, biting dog, would she not be responsible for containing it, or would all hte neighbours have to put up fences to keep the dog out? Geesh. This is a simple no-brainer. Talk about blind family loyalty!

Comment by MagsNMe on October 15, 2012 at 10:40am

Legally she's completely responsible for containing her animals.  If the horse got out and caused a traffic accident, for instance, she could be sued from here until the end of next week. 

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