Senate Bill No. 341
(By Senators Miller, Williams, Laird, Nohe and D. Hall)
[Originating in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural
reported March 5, 2013.]
A BILL to repeal §19-17-5, §19-17-6, §19-17-7, §19-17-8, §19-17-10
and §19-17-11 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended;
and to amend and reenact §19-17-1, §19-17-2, §19-17-3 and §19-
17-4 of said code, all relating to requiring livestock be
enclosed by a fence;
stating that fences are for grazing and
clarifying the procedures adjoining
landowners shall follow to build, maintain and repair
requiring adjoining landowners to pay for a
just proportion of the cost of partition fence; requiring
notice; providing an exception for emergency repairs;
providing dispute resolution and civil actions; and
the Commissioner of Agriculture to promulgate
rules and emergency rules
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §19-17-5, §19-17-6, §19-17-7, §19-17-8, §19-17-10 and
§19-17-11 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be
repealed; and that §19-17-1, §19-17-2, §19-17-3 and §19-17-4 of
said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 17. FENCES.
§19-17-1. Fencing of livestock required.
Livestock shall be enclosed by a fence, including gates and
grates, that is built to reasonably prevent livestock from escaping
§19-17-2. Partition fences.
(a) Adjoining landowners of property used for grazing or
livestock purposes shall each pay for or perform a just proportion
of the construction, repairs and maintenance of the partition fence
between the properties.
(b) The owner of real property who converts land to grazing or
other livestock purposes after an adjoining landowner constructs a
partition fence shall pay a just proportion of the depreciation of
the original cost of constructing the fence, and shall pay for or
perform a just proportion of the repairs and maintenance of the
partition fence in the future.
§19-17-3. Building, maintaining and repairing partition fences.
(a) Adjoining landowners are encouraged to communicate and
have written agreements with one another concerning the type of fence to be built, the just apportionment of the cost of the fence
or repairs, the portion of the partition fence each person shall
maintain and any other agreements between the parties.
(b) A person desiring to build or repair a partition fence
shall give written notice to the adjoining landowner of his or her
intention to build or repair a partition fence. The notice shall
state the description and type of fence to be built or the
necessary repairs to be made. Within fourteen days, the adjoining
landowner provided with the notice shall provide a written response
agreeing to the proposal or responding with objections and counter
proposals and requesting a meeting to resolve the dispute. Failure
to respond makes the adjoining landowner liable for a just
proportion of the cost of the new fence or repair.
(c) Emergency repairs to partition fences necessitated by
storms, accidents or other unforseen circumstances
are exempt from
the notice requirements of subsection (b) of this section.
However, the adjoining landowner shall be notified of the repairs
and costs as soon as possible.
If a dispute arises between adjoining landowners regarding
building, maintaining or repairing a partition fence, and the
parties have met and attempted to resolve the dispute and failed,
either party may proceed with a civil action in magistrate or
circuit court for relief.
§19-17-4. Rulemaking authority.
The Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development may
propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the
provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to
regulate livestock fences, partition fences and disputes. The
commissioner may promulgate
emergency rules pursuant to section
fifteen, article three, chapter twenty-nine of this code.
NOTE: This bill
requires livestock be enclosed by a fence.
The bill requires adjoining landowners to pay for a just proportion
of partition fences. The bill encourages adjoining landowners to
have written agreements. The bill requires notice to adjoining
landowners before a fence may be constructed or repaired. The bill
provides an exception for emergencies. The bill provides that an
adjoining landowner may respond. The bill provides when a landowner
does not respond he or she is responsible for a portion of the
costs. The bill permits civil actions. The bill authorizes
promulgation of rules and emergency rules.
The bill repeals §19-17-5, §19-17-6
§19-17-1, §19-17-2, §19-17-3 and §19-17-4
have been completely
rewritten; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been