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Neighbors Cows!!!

Obsessed

Well-Known Member
I have a neighbor who doesn't maintain his fences. I mean they are horrifically bad.

Over the years, I have volunteered my time to help him repair and build fence, which he has turned down. It's difficult to 'fix' any one spot of fence for him if/when I come across it, because I don't have the materials, and because the fence is in that bad of shape, but I try when I'm able. I have established a nice alfa stand that I have him bale for me, and I give him all of the bales, (minus 2 for my animals), as payment. He ended up with like 9 or 10 full round bales in 2021. I could make some $ off of my bales if I had someone else bale for me, but I figured this made for a good deal for my neighbor, in an attempt to buy some good grace and have him maintain his damn fences.

His cattle get off of his property at a creek that runs through both of our properties. His attempt at maintaining any sort of fencing across that creek is an exercise of futility. He should really pasture his cattle on one side of the creek and then move them to the other side, but that's just me using logic.

His cattle also get off of his property from his alfalfa / weed pasture that boarders my property. His cattle aren't supposed to be able to make it into his pasture, but those fences aren't maintained. Then his cattle aren't supposed to make it from his pasture into my pasture, but that fence isn't maintained either. My alfalfa is like crack cocaine for his cows! They've trampled it down tremendously and then wonder all over my timber browsing and getting shade. I know this because cow pies are EVERYWHERE!!! We also run them off nearly every time we walk our property too, which we try not to do, in an attempt to make a safe haven for deer. His cows make deer avoid my property and have ruined more fall hunts for me than I can count.

I have bent over backwards for my neighbor, and been as sweet as pie up until this point. I have let him know that I've been pissed off a couple of times, but that's as far as I've gone with it.

I've reached my absolute limit. What are my options? Beef is extremely expensive at the moment and if cattle are on my property and I'm fattening them up, I'm about to literally fill my freezers. Possession is 9/10s of the law, right?
 

Obsessed

Well-Known Member
If you can't maintain your fences to contain your livestock, then you shouldn't be allowed to keep livestock, IMO. I have cleared about a mile of dilapidated fence segments from within my property and have installed new fence to keep my animals in. I've never had one escape. I expect the same from everyone else.

I also helped a renter repair fencing on the other side of my property when they ran cattle over there too. They provided the materials and I provided my labor.

It worked fine until the renter claimed "Your Deer" (my deer) had broken a few strands of barbed wire that I was responsible for fixing, because the broken strands were laying on the neighbors property.

When in reality,
1. I don't own any of Iowa's deer herd.
2. Cattle easily hook the back of their heads under wire strands and break them when they backup, pulling the broken strands onto their property.
3. The main spot was where the wet hillside is sliding, and it's impossible to maintain a stationary fence there because it stretches and snaps every time it rains.

When I explained this to him, he called me a jerk, so I went nuclear on him and that was the last time I heard from him.
 

JNRBRONC

Moderator
Look up who is the local "trustee" in your county/township. From what I've heard, they are supposed to be the first line of recourse for fence disputes. Be prepared to pay for half of the new fence.
 

Obsessed

Well-Known Member
My Trustee it is. Thanks! I guarantee my neighbor isn't going to want to put $ or labor into a full new fence, so I'm not too concerned with footing 50% of the bill / labor for an all new replacement. We'll see how this shakes out.

I don't agree with the 50/50 property fence laws, if one neighbor runs livestock and the other doesn't, but I know they've been on the books for years and years, so no getting around it.
 

JNRBRONC

Moderator
Maintenance of a fence in Iowa usually follows the right hand rule. You face the fence, the right half of it is yours to maintain. There are exceptions that landowners agreed on, but I think those exceptions need to be "recorded" and maybe the trustee handles that, too.
 

Obsessed

Well-Known Member
Actually, I contacted the ISU land law extension about Iowa fencing laws a while back and the 'right hand 1/2' rule doesn't exist in Iowa.

In Iowa, property line fence expenses should be shared equally by the property owners, no matter where the segment of fence in question is located on the property line.

If you and your neighbor are friendly and agree to split the cost evenly, then you are only on the hook for splitting 50% of the cost associated with installing / maintaining fencing equal in quality to whatever your neighbor has installed / maintained.

The right hand rule is actually a horrible rule. Reason being, if my neighbor only pastures their left hand side of their property, then I would be responsible for installing and maintaining 100% of my right hand side of our property line fence. No fence would be required at all on their right hand side / my left hand side property line.
 

203ntyp

PMA Member
You would think that if a neighbor's livestock got through their fence and caused property damage (crops included) they would be responsible to pay for damage and crop loss! Happened to my neighbor once, cattle next door got loose and trashed their garden and lawn, the cattle owner paid for repairs and losses no questions asked. That's the way it is in most states from what I understand. Threaten a lawsuit and see if that gets their attention.
 

Obsessed

Well-Known Member
Threatening your neighbor with a lawsuit doesn't make for good relations. Of course, filling your freezer with their wondering cattle doesn't either...

The monetary damage his cattle have done isn't high enough 'yet' to file any type of lawsuit anyway.

I just really want him take better care of his fence. I don't expect a brand new fence installed or anything. Just better maintenance.
 

Windlooker

Active Member
I don’t think lawsuits and law enforcement are the answer to barbed wire fence issues. They have more important things to deal with.

Fences across creeks are difficult. I have one I share with my neighbor and it goes out every time the creek is out. Water is powerful. Between the two of us we do the best we can to maintain. End of it.
 

Obsessed

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I got ahold of my township trustees, so now I'll let them do their thing. I didn't want to go that route, but like I said, I've been dealing with this for years.

This fence across the creek is just a single line of electric fence. The creek flash floods any rain we get and the battery system that runs it goes out all the time too. There's really no good way to run any sort of fence across it. Zero. A responsible livestock owner would fence off both sides of the creek and manually move the livestock from one side to the other.

I don't live way out in the country either. Des Moines city limits is only a couple hundred yards from me. I live on a well used street and have main highways nearby as well.
 

Obsessed

Well-Known Member
How much trouble would a guy get into if they went the 'fill the freezer' route anyway? If caught, of course... It would be easy to claim the animal charged you. Just curious.
 

JNRBRONC

Moderator
You shoot it, you just bought it.

For the creek, set two large posts/telephone poles each side of the creek, run a cable from top to top, hang cattle panels on the cable. The water will swing them up, to drop back down when creek recedes.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Nrharris

Well-Known Member
You shoot it, you just bought it.

For the creek, set two large posts/telephone poles each side of the creek, run a cable from top to top, hang cattle panels on the cable. The water will swing them up, to drop back down when creek recedes.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I've seen something similar using blue plastic barrels so they float up with the water level.
 

Obsessed

Well-Known Member
The way my neighbor maintains all of his fencing and his property, he's not going to build or pay for anything this elaborate at the creek. Also, I can't mentally picture either of these solutions working at the spot in the creek where our property line runs. Might be a good idea in certain spots.
 
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