A National AgLaw Center Research Publication

States’ “Fence Law” Statutes

Rusty W. Rumley
Staff Attorney
National Agricultural Law Center

All 50 states have enacted statutes that address issues of livestock running at large and the fences that may or may not be required to keep them confined. These “fence law” statutes can vary widely from state to state. Many states require owners of livestock to secure the livestock on property that they own or lease; however there are some western states that still follow the “open range” doctrine. The “open range” states reverse the duty to fence in livestock and allow livestock to roam in certain remote parts of the state while requiring other landowners to fence off their land if they wish to keep livestock off of their property.  States’ Fence Law Statutes provides the statutory text of each state’s fence and livestock running at large statutes, along with the date of its possible expiration. The primary aim of this compilation is to provide the researcher with easy and free access to a state’s statutory language. This page last updated 9/2021.