Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Bill would help property owners when cattle wander

When Angela Moreno moved from suburban Phoenix to her dream home in the wide-open spaces near this southeastern Arizona city she expected a less-stressful life. Instead, Moreno and her husband, David, have encountered a rural nightmare. She said a bull owned by a local rancher has terrorized her and others in her neighborhood since last summer. Moreno said she first encountered the bull when it charged her car while she was in it. It leaped over a 4-foot fence and ate her vegetable garden, and then it tore through a 6-foot-high chain-link fence, she said. Then Morenos tried an electric fence, but it didn't even faze the bull, she said. State Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, said plight faced by the Morenos and others prompted him to introduce legislation aimed at making it easier for property owners to recover damages when cattle wander off open range and encourage ranchers to prevent intrusions. HB 2127 would make it a Class 2 misdemeanor for owners to knowingly or unknowingly allow cattle to venture without permission onto private property. Current state law has that provision only for sheep and goats. The bill also would remove a requirement that property owners living next to open range must have installed a 50-inch-high barbed wire fence to seek damages from ranchers whose livestock wander. Property owners could collect whether or not they put up fences...more

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