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Escaped Cattle and Car Accidents

Cattle are raised in nearly every county in Texas. Being in such close quarters with these animals makes it important to understand the liabilities of cattle owners when the cattle get loose and cause accidents. The Amarillo District Court answered this question in RODRIGUEZ v. SANDHILL CATTLE CO., L.P.

When Does a Cattle Owner Have a Duty to Restrain Cattle?

Under Texas law, there is no common law duty to restrain domestic animals like cattle and horses with any type of restraints. Certain Texas counties have created statutes that require livestock owners to restrain their livestock from running around “at large in the county or [surrounding] area.” The Texas legislature recently determined that a livestock owner violates this statutory duty if the owner authorizes or permits the livestock to roam in an area open to the public. In the Sandhill case, Mrs. Rodriguez drove into a cow owned by Sandhill while traveling on a public highway. Mrs. Rodriguez sued Sandhill claiming they breached their statutory duty as livestock owners by permitting their cattle to roam on public highways. Rodriguez also claimed that escaped livestock always constitutes a negligent act on the part of the owner of the livestock in question. Negligence in this case means that the owner of the livestock failed to restrain the livestock like a reasonable person would. To prove negligence on the part of Sandhill, Mrs. Rodriguez provided evidence that Sandhill used only one strand of electric wire to restrain over 80 head of cattle. The Court held that historic data proved that one strand of electric wire is sufficient to protect the livestock owner from claims of negligence. Simply put, Mrs. Rodriguez presented several arguments attempting to show that Sandhill acted negligently in restraining livestock and the Court rejected all of these arguments as insufficient to prove a violation of Texas statutory law.

If you have an issue with negligence involving livestock other domestic animals, call Guest and Gray Law Firm’s defense team today. Guest and Gray Law Firm is a full service civil and criminal defense law firm serving the entire DFW Metroplex including Dallas, Kaufman, Rockwall and surrounding counties. Our main office is in Forney, Texas where we have served the community since 1967. We also have office locations in Rockwall and Plano, Texas. Our team of lawyers is ready to help with any personal injury law concern you have.

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