Showing 8 posts in Zoning & Land Use.
Driving along a highway at night, motorists don’t expect to see herds of cattle or horses. In designated “open range” districts, however, these animals could potentially cross the road in the day or night. So what happens when motorists collide with horses or livestock in open range districts?
Open Range Laws
Nationwide, most states are NOT open range states, and horse owners are required to reasonably secure them in barns and pastures to keep them off of roadways. A few states, that include (but are not limited to) Nevada, Montana, Texas, and Idaho, allow livestock owners to allow them to roam unfenced, with some restrictions. For example, Nevada Revised Statutes Sec. 568.355 defines “open range” as “all unenclosed land outside of cities and towns upon which cattle, sheep or other domestic animals by custom, license, lease or permit are grazed or permitted to roam.” This state’s law, Nevada Revised Statutes Sec. 568.360, addresses liabilities of animal owners: Read More ›
Categories: Liability, Zoning & Land Use
“Jane,” a horse owner found her dream property. The house was just her size. Never before was a horse stabled on the property, but there was a storage barn that, Jane thought, could easily be converted into a horse barn, and the surrounding land could be fenced for pasture. Jane bought the property. Soon after, she built a stall in the barn, set up fencing, and moved in her horse.
Within a few weeks, however, a serious problem occurred. Jane received a notice from the city ordering her to remove her pasture fencing because it violated the local zoning ordinance. That ordinance required fences to be set back a specific distance from the property line. Adding to the problem, once Jane read the ordinance, she discovered that compliance with it would reduce her pasture to the size of a dog run. Her plans for a stable on her property were doomed. Read More ›
Categories: Zoning & Land Use
Can a disabled teenager keep a miniature horse in an urban location as a “service horse”? That was the issue in an interesting lawsuit that was decided last year by a federal appellate court in Ohio.
At issue was a Blue Ash, Ohio city ordinance banning horses from residential property. Allegedly acting in response to complaints from neighbors about unsanitary conditions and offensive odors created by the horse, the city wanted residents (Anderson and her daughter) to remove a miniature horse from their property, and it brought criminal charges against Anderson. She and her daughter fought back. Read More ›
Categories: Lawsuit, Zoning & Land Use
An elderly widow lives alone on the family farm. The horse barn has been empty since the children moved out. Recently, an equine professional asked to rent the horse facility to run a boarding, training, and lesson business. Should this arrangement proceed? Read More ›
A small number of states have “open range” districts where land-owners are legally permitted to allow their animals to roam at large, subject to restrictions set by state or local law.
Generally, motorists in open range districts have little or no recourse if they are injured in a collision with loose livestock, but exceptions can exist. In one case from Idaho, the landowner was immune from liability in a wrongful death action when a motorcyclist collided with a loose calf along the roadway in an “open range” district and was killed. The motorcyclist’s estate sued the landowners and the animal’s owners. They argued, in their defense, that they were immune from liability because the incident occurred in an area that was designated as “open range” under Idaho law [Idaho Code § 25-2118]. The trial court agreed and dismissed the case.
The case proceeded to an appeal where the motorcyclist’s estate challenged the “open range” classification. The Idaho Supreme Court upheld dismissal of the case and found that the “the ‘fence out’ rule prevails in Idaho, and that where a herd district has not been established, cattle are customarily permitted to roam." Nationwide, most states do not have “open range” districts. Each state differs. In any vehicle/livestock collision matter, make sure to review the applicable law carefully.
Categories: Liability, Zoning & Land Use
A caller years ago, had a difficult legal problem. He recently bought a home and surrounding land, converted a back yard work shop into a horse stall, set up new pasture fencing and moved in his horse. His life-long dream of owning a horse property within his budget, he thought, had just been realized.
Within weeks, however, his dream seemed to shatter when he received a notice from the municipality that his horse and fencing had to go. What he had not known, until that point, is that his municipality’s zoning ordinances included set-back restrictions for fencing. The ordinance required that his fence lines be within a substantial distance from his property line. Unfortunately for him, his lot was very narrow and compliance with the ordinance would make his horse pasture the size of a dog run. Read More ›
Categories: Zoning & Land Use
Your property stables horses, but your community seems anything but supportive. In fact, you’ve heard that the local government might be exploring possible zoning changes that might make it harder to stable horses in the community. Can you try to maintain things as they are without a costly lawsuit? Yes. Read More ›
Categories: Regulatory, Zoning & Land Use
In these challenging financial times, people sometimes consider making extra money by taking in boarders. Plan ahead and understand the risks. The arrangement could be far more complex and costly than you think. Read More ›
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Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed by the State Bar of Michigan. The interview, which called Fershtman "Lawyer-Blogger," discussed our Equine Law Blog. We truly believe that this blog is the nation's most active blog serving the equine industry on equine law topics, and we thank you for visiting it. Read more here.
Honors & Recognitions
Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has recieved these prestigious equine industry awards from respected equine organizations:
"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award" - American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Law Section Animal Law Committee
"Distinguished Service Award" - American Youth Horse Council
"Industry Service Award" - Michigan Equine Partnership
"Catalyst Award"- Michigan Horse Council
"Outstanding Achievement Award" - American Riding Instructors Association
"Partner in Safety Award" - American Riding Instructors Association
"Associate Service Award" - United Professional Horseman's Association
"National Partnership in Safety" Award" - Certified Horsemanship Association
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