Vt. is dealing with neighborly issues over loose livestock

A unique problem is presenting itself in the Vermont Statehouse. This problem is so immense it is causing locals to become very agitated and stressed with their neighbors. 

But let’s be honest, if you had a 1,000-pound animal making divots in your yard you probably wouldn’t be too happy either!

That’s the issue, livestock getting out of enclosures and damaging property.

Some are taking the issue to their state representatives with hopes of making changes. They claim that their neighbor’s livestock continues to affect their property, even though they negotiate with their neighbors.

Timothy Lueders-Dumont, who serves as a lawyer for the Vermont Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs, claims there are already laws on the books dealing with loose livestock.

However, Dumont also states they urgently need to be brought up to date. In a WCAX segment, Dumont explains that this is vital “so that there’s penalties involved for the individual because a $10 fine is not going to be a deterrent in 2024.” 

In addition to Dumont, Ted Brady of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, also agrees that the current laws on the books are dated and create an issue when they do hear about these types of incidents. 

On WCAX Brady stated “A lot of towns contact us and say how do we handle livestock and domestic animals running afoul?” 

The WCAX segment also quoted Sen. Bobby Starr, D-Essex-Orleans counties. Starr is chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and said he hopes that the issues between community members can be resolved outside the statehouse. 

“I don’t think it’s going to need a bill,” he said, though he added that it may be time to look at old agriculture laws and bring them into the 21st century that we are living in. “We have to go through those outdated laws and at least get them up to where they are meaningful.”

Hopefully, these issues can be resolved in the future, and both parties can be satisfied and come to terms. Coming from experience dealing with large animals, I understand how hard it can be to manage their enclosures. 

However, I do completely understand the other neighbor’s point of view. Like any other pet owner, we are ultimately responsible for the actions of our pets or livestock. We must do our best to keep them enclosed in their respective areas, however, mistakes are bound to happen.

This is where communication and understanding between both individuals are crucial for a brighter tomorrow. As humans, we are bound to make mistakes, however, it is even more crucial that we have the humility to admit when we are wrong. Large animals are very hard to manage, but sometimes people can be even more stubborn than any other animal!

– Gavin Bradley

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