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Fence and Right-of-Way

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Looking for expert advice. Our neighbors cows are getting into our deer hunting land and eating our food plots. Is he required to keep them fenced in? He has an electric fence but it's down all over. Are we required to pay half if we're the ones requesting it? The cows are also walking on our right of way trail and wearing it down to mud and ruts. Is he required to maintain it then or are we?


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Are the cows entering onto your property? If so, then he should be liable for damage. It is the responsibility of livestock owners to control their animals.

We own horses. If they get out onto the road and someone hits them with a car we are held liable. If they take a hike to the neighbor's and do damage, we are the liable party. That's why we carry liability insurance on our horses.


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Fence law is strange beast in Minnesota! Briefly stated, there is state law dealing specifically with the erection and maintenance of fences between adjoining parcels. Partition fences MAY be assessed against both landowners, regardless of whose livestock are going where.

Here is a link to the statute dealing with fences.

Fence disputes can get pretty nasty, and a few have found their way into the courthouse. Without getting too technical, there are some unsettled questions regarding the Constitution and Minnesota fence law.

If you decide to pursue fence options, you want to find yourself a competent attorney.

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Will sound like the state record buck walking in on opening morning!

We did call him to talk it though, but he was less than polite. We need to rules on fences and right-of-ways before we talk about it more with him.

We definitely want to be neighborly, but also don't want to be taken advantage of.

Thanks for any help.

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I did google on minnesota cattle trespassing and found this


Any person may, and every sheriff and police officer shall, distrain and impound any cattle,

horses, mules, sheep, swine, or any domestic fowls running at large or trespassing upon the lands

of another or upon any public property in this state, and when so impounded such proceedings

shall be had relative to the animals and fowls so impounded as are or shall be provided by the

general laws of this state relating to the impounding of animals.

History: (1388) 1921 c 319 s 3; 1967 c 516 s 1; 2005 c 10 art 2 s 4


The owner or occupant of lands in any city may distrain any of such animals or fowls

doing damage on such lands, and thereupon such proceedings as to these animals or fowls and

the disposition thereof and the damage done thereby as are or shall be provided by the general

laws of this state relating to the distraining by the owner or occupant of lands, of any beast

doing damage thereon, the disposition of the beast distrained, and the appraisal of the damages,

and the collection thereof.

History: (1389) 1921 c 319 s 4; 1973 c 123 art 5 s 7


In case the owner or occupant of lands shall not distrain the animals or fowls doing damage

as provided herein, then any person who shall knowingly permit the running at large or trespass

of any such domestic animal or fowl within any city, shall be liable to the person aggrieved for

treble the damages sustained, to be recovered in a civil action.

History: (1390) 1921 c 319 s 5; 1973 c 123 art 5 s 7; 1986 c 444

I looked up "distrain" cuz that was a new one to me.

1. To seize and hold (property) to compel payment or reparation, as of debts.

2. To seize the property of (a person) in order to compel payment of debts; distress.

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