Ranchers may be liable for strays depending on area

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The Ada County Sheriff's office says prosecutors will determine whether the owner of a horse involved in a deadly crash on Highway 16 Monday morning could face charges.

They also point out that the area of the collisions is not an open area for livestock and requires ranchers and farmers to keep their animals fenced in. 

Neighbors in the area say there is usually not a problem with animals getting out but they constantly have to keep on top of the situation.

"If the cows are big enough they just push right through the fence," said Mel Rawlinson, who raises beef cattle just down the road where the crash happened. "They don't really have anything else to do but to try to find a way and it's usually night time when they do it."

Attorneys say that a rancher that has an animal loose can be held liable if anything happens and it depends on where it happens.

"In a herd district if the animal gets out, and into the roadway and causes an accident, the owner of the animal can be held responsible for the accident, injury (or) death or the destruction of the property if it's an open range and there is a collision with an animal there is no responsibility on the animals owner," attorney Kurt Holzer said.

The Ada County Sherriff's office says that prosecutors will review and determine if charges are warranted in the crash.