If you let your cows wander in New York you can be sued for negligence. It’s a shame. The cow is a notoriously adventurous animal. Keeping them fenced in can be extremely difficult.

The lower courts had applied a more general liability test for domestic animals. However, due to the cows wonderful nature, the judges chose to use a broader standard.

This law would make fences across the state to be fixed. According to one rancher it would be a “huge investment.”  Yes, a huge investment to put up a few new wooden fence posts.

The parties in the case argued that old case law from the 1800s, with an opinion of owner negligence from a wandering livestock, that had never been overruled.  The court wasn’t super responsive to the legal wisdoms of the 1800s.

“A cow roamed. It was just a cow doing what cows do, which is wander,” one of them said.

Even if you don’t have cows, you can be liable for the actions of your pets and other animals.