TALKING LAW with Brett Moller
Nothing can upset good neighbourly relations like stock owners not properly fencing their paddocks and boundaries to prevent their stock from straying on to and into a neighbours property, destroying plants, vegetables and crops, or damaging the neighbours fences and other property.
The Queensland Law Society have a good publication on line called ‘A Legal Guide for Primary Produces’.
A primary producer has a duty to keep his/her livestock from trespassing on to another’s property. Of interest is that the term “livestock” includes not only cattle, horses, donkey, sheep, goats, and pigs but also fowls, ducks, geese and possibly tame deer. It does not extend to cats and dogs.
It is not just the physical damage they may be liable for such as damage to crops, but also injury to stock from infection, physical attack and mis-breeding.
There are however several defences available to stock owners. For example a stock owner will not be responsible if a third party left the gate open. Likewise if there is an act of God such as lightening that causes a stampede of stock through the fence, or a gate is blown down or flooding knocks down a gate, the Stock owner will not be liable.
However, the law does not require an adjoining property owner to fence to keep his/her neighbours stock out of their yard.
Different rules apply again to stock on public roads where the stock owner is not responsible unless he/she has knowledge of a vicious and mischievous propensity of the animal to stray.
The impounding of straying animals is controlled by various Local Governments throughout Queensland and you’re local Council is a starting point for straying stock.
Please consult your local Council or your legal advisor to better understand your rights as a stock owner or someone affected by straying stock from a neighbours property.
Brett Moller – Consultant Lawyer
Vandeleur & Todd Pty Ltd – Gordonvale
Ph 4237 1802 Mob 0417 609 656