The Missouri House of Representatives voted Feb 29, 2016, to advance H.B. 1827. The legislation, sponsored by 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. Missouri Cattlemen's Association (MCA) Executive Vice President Mike Deering said H.B. 1827, if passed into law, would require that the livestock owner be found negligent and not automatically assumed guilty.
"As the law stands now, the cattleman is guilty with no opportunity to prove otherwise. MCA supports changing the law where negligence must be proven rather than automatically placing guilt on the livestock owner," said Deering. "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? The drunk driver should be held responsible. This is just one of many examples. We need to bring some basic commonsense into the law."
Rep. McGaugh said his legislation does just that.
"For too long in this state, the law has been slanted against livestock owners by making them strictly responsible for damages caused by their animals under all circumstances," said Rep. McGaugh. "With the passage of H.B. 1827, we are shifting the burden to those who are truly responsible and truly negligent."
MCA President Keith Stevens urges the Missouri Senate to quickly pass the legislation. In addition to H.B. 1827, Sen. Mike Parson (R-28) also sponsored similar legislation.
"Members of this organization consider this legislation to be a top priority. We appreciate the leadership of Rep. McGaugh and his 107 colleagues who supported the legislation," said Stevens. "We hope the senate follows suit and sends this bill to the governor's desk."
Click here for the final vote of H.B. 1827.
Source: Missouri Cattlemen's Association