Friday, May 6, 2016

House Passes Law Limiting Liability to Owners if Livestock Escape

The Missouri Senate voted May 3, 2016, to send bipartisan vote of 111-33. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson (R-28) and Rep. Joe Don McGaugh (R-39), would change how Missouri law addresses instances where livestock escape their confines. Under current law, the livestock owner is strictly liable for any property damages caused by trespassing livestock under all circumstances.
Missouri Cattlemen's Association (MCA) President Keith Stevens, who is a cattle producer from Bolivar, Mo., said if the legislation is passed into law, it would require that the livestock owner be found negligent and not automatically assumed guilty.

"As the law stands now, the livestock owner is always guilty with no opportunity to prove otherwise. MCA supports changing the law where negligence must be proven," said Stevens. "If a drunk driver plows through a fence and causes cattle to escape, why in the world should the livestock owner be liable for damages caused by the livestock? This is just one of many examples. We truly appreciate the bill sponsors and all elected leaders who supported this legislation."

Sen. Mike Parson said he was honored to move legislation forward that is meaningful to Missouri's cattle farmers and ranchers.

"I am proud to team up with the Missouri Cattlemen's Association to pass commonsense legislation for farmers and ranchers across the state," said Sen. Parson.

Rep. Joe Don McGaugh sponsored identical legislation last year and again this year. He handled SB 844 on the House floor Tuesday and led the legislation over the final hurdle before being sent to the governor. Rep. McGaugh said the legislation comes down to holding accountable those who are truly responsible."I appreciate the work of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association and its members during this legislative session. When the governor signs SB 844 into law, it will solidify the work of MCA members to ensure that those truly responsible for the damages caused by trespassing livestock will be held accountable," said Rep. McGaugh. "No longer will cattlemen be held strictly liable and that is a huge victory for our state."

Stevens urges Governor Jay Nixon to sign the legislation without delay.

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