Barn to Badge: Branan and Chatham County Sheriff Discuss Loose Livestock and Trespassing

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Andrew Branan, Extension Assistant Professor, worked with the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Chatham County and the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office to deliver a program this past December on escaped livestock response and liability. The innovative and interactive program – called Barn to Badge – was organized by Ashley Robbins, Chatham Livestock Agent, in response to frequent questions on the topic from livestock and poultry owners.

Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson was on hand with a number of his deputies to interact with livestock owners and respond to questions and how the sheriff’s office responds to escaped livestock reports. Sheriff Roberson also discussed various responses to reports of trespassing, and helpful tips for landowners to minimize such incidents, such as reporting extended absences to the sheriff’s office (who will do a check-in on residences), and not hesitating to report suspicious activity. Branan discussed the basic laws of fencing and civil liability theories for injuries caused by loose livestock and poultry, as well as best practices to prevent such events from happening. (Branan’s presentation)  Branan added to the discussion on trespass liability and prevention, and gave an update on North Carolina’s recent farm nuisance lawsuits and legislative effort to insulate farmers from such claims.

Sheriff Roberson did note the need for additional training for law enforcement in livestock matters. “Our present training ensures a quick response, but we always have more to learn on getting the animals back inside the fence!”