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Unattended Livestock

What can I do if livestock are trespassing on my land?


Council encourages livestock owners to maintain good fencing to ensure that their stock do not escape and to keep in touch with neighbouring properties in case they do.


If necessary though, an occupier of private land may impound any animal that is trespassing on the land.


If you know who owns the trespassing livestock


An occupier of private land who impounds an animal and knows or can easily find out the owner’s identity must inform the owner of the animal’s whereabouts within 24 hours of impounding the animal and must then either:

  • immediately have the animal delivered to the livestock pound at the Southern Region Livestock Exchange (SRLX), or
  • keep the animal on the land for a period of not more than 4 days and then (if the animal has not been claimed by its owner) have the animal delivered to SRLX.

The occupier must ensure that any animal kept on the land after it is impounded by them:

  • is provided with adequate food, water and veterinary care, and
  • is kept in a place that is well drained and maintained in a clean condition, and
  • is provided with adequate shade for the climatic conditions, and
  • is kept secure, and
  • is separated from other animals that are diseased or, if the animal is or appears to be diseased, is kept separate from other animals.

If the owner of the animal claims the animal, the occupier must do one of the following:

  • release or send the animal to its owner on payment in full of the appropriate charge,
  • if the animal’s owner declines to pay the appropriate charge—have the animal delivered to the SRLX,
  • release or send the animal to its owner without payment in full of the appropriate charge.

If the occupier releases or sends the animal to its owner without the appropriate charge having been paid in full and the owner does not within 7 days pay the occupier the appropriate charge in full and any costs of transporting the animal to its owner, the occupier may recover the charge and costs from the owner as a debt.


What is an ‘appropriate charge’?


The appropriate charge is an amount not exceeding:

  • the expenses actually incurred in providing the animal with food, water and veterinary care, and
  • the cost of rectifying any loss or damage attributable to the trespassing of the animal.

An occupier of private land who fails to comply with these guidelines may commit an offence under the Impounding Act 1993 and may be subject to fines or prosecution.


What about unattended livestock in public places?


Unattended livestock pose a significant safety risk, especially if the stock are wandering on or near a public road.


Council may impound an animal to the SRLX that is in a public place throughout the Shire, if Council believes on reasonable grounds that the animal is unattended. If the animal is in a public place for a lawful reason, Council will not impound the animal.


Fees and charges are payable by livestock owners if their animals are impounded.


wandering cows


If my livestock has been impounded, what do I do?


Council will send an impound notice to the owner of impounded livestock. The notice will outline the applicable fees that need to be paid at the Civic Centre before the livestock can be reclaimed. Fees may include an impound fee, transport costs, maintenance charges and any applicable veterinary costs.


Once you have a receipt, you can contact the SRLX on 4868 1507 or saleyards@wsc.nsw.gov.au to reclaim your animal.


What if I need to transport a trespassing animal to the SRLX?


If you are unable to transport the animal safely on your own, livestock transport providers can be found in the Yellow Pages.


Some transporters are also listed on the SRLX webpage here.

Last Updated: November 10th, 2016
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