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open range laws

Some states are “open range” or a “fence out” states, meaning that a livestock owner does not have a legal duty to prevent animals from getting onto the roadway. But some state legislatures have enacted statutes known as "stock laws" that modify the common law (rules contained in court opinions written by judges) and prohibit owners from allowing animals to run at large.

Texas is traditionally an 'open range' state, which means that owners of livestock are not necessarily required to fence in their animals to prevent them from wandering onto roads. However, Texas law has been modified by 'stock laws' that allow counties to require owners to prevent their animals from running at large in certain areas. These local stock laws can be enacted through a petition and election process within the county. Once a stock law is in place, livestock owners may be liable for damages caused by their animals if they are found on roadways in violation of the law. It is important for livestock owners to be aware of the specific regulations in their county, as these laws can vary significantly across the state.

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