Livestock Law and Legal Definition

Livestock is usually defined to refer to horses, mares, mules, jacks, jennies, colts, cows, calves, yearlings, bulls, oxen, sheep, goats, lambs, kids, hogs, shoats and pigs. States regulate livestock to promote health and welfare and prevent damage and injury caused by their uncontrolled roaming on others' property. There often are statutes that regulate the obligations of livestock owners to keep their livestock off of public highways and that provide for liability when livestock wander onto the public road and collide with a motor vehicle or railway train.

The following is an example of a state statute regulating livestock:

  1. " The owner of such livestock or animal being or running at large upon the premises of another or upon the public lands, roads, highways or streets in the State of ... shall be liable for all damages done to crops, shade or fruit trees or ornamental shrubs and flowers of any person, to be recovered before any court of competent jurisdiction; provided, that the owner of any stock or animal shall not be liable for any damages to any motor vehicle or any occupant thereof suffered, caused by or resulting from a collision with such stock or other animal, unless it be proven that such owner knowingly or willfully put or placed such stock upon such public highway, road or street where such damages were occasioned.
  2. The judgment of the court against the owner of such livestock or animal so depredating shall be a lien superior to all other liens on the livestock or animal causing the damage, except as to taxes."