Tyler County Precinct 1 residents to vote on stock laws

Voters in Tyler County’s Precinct 1 will see a stock law on the ballot next month.
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 6:07 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2022 at 8:30 PM CDT
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TYLER COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Voters in Tyler County’s Precinct 1 will see a stock law on the ballot next month.

The State of Texas is considered open range, and the absence of a stock law means the land in Texas is considered open.

Cary Sims, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agent for Angelina County, said this leaves it up to the counties themselves to decide on stock laws.

“That doesn’t have to include the whole county; it can be a portion of the county. Stock laws, we say, are typically open or closed, and if you live in an open county, you can run your livestock anywhere. If you live in a closed county, you are responsible for keeping livestock on your property,” Sims said.

Agriculture Law Specialist Tiffany Dowell Lashmet said 22 counties are legislatively prevented from having countywide elections for closed range in cattle, and Tyler County is one of them. But, she says, this can be voted on by precinct.

“There’s really no rhyme or reason to me what counties they included. They are all over the state, and I don’t know what similarity they have,” Dowell Lashmet said.

Angelina County residents voted for closed range in 1949, and Nacogdoches County residents voted for closed range in 1957.

Dowell Lashmet said the counties are able to choose what livestock is included in the stock law.

“There are some counties that are maybe close ranged for horses, sheep goats, pigs, but might be open ranged for cattle. The county really gets to choose what they want voters to specifically vote on,” Dowell Lashmet said.

She also said one of the biggest things that will come out of this election and possible adoption of the stock law is who’s liable if an animal is hit.

“If you are in an open range area, and you got animals hit on the road, so long as that road has opened range, there is not liability for those animals being hit, because there is no obligation to fence them in. Now, in a closed ranged area, there is that obligation to fence them in, and so the way that most stock laws read, it says the owner cannot permit his animals to run at large,” Dowell Lashmet said.

To learn more about which counties have stock laws, click here.

KTRE's Avery Gorman speaks with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent Cary Sims about Texas Stock Laws and what they mean.