Senate Bill No. 341
(By Senators Miller, Williams, Laird, Nohe and D. Hall)
[Introduced February 21, 2013; referred to the Committee on
Agriculture and Rural Development; and then to the Committee on
the Judiciary .]
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; requiring adjoining landowners to pay for
a just proportion of partition fences; encouraging adjoining
landowners to have written agreements; requiring written
notice to adjoining landowners before a fence may be
constructed or repaired; providing an exception for
emergencies; providing that an adjoining landowner may give a
written response; providing that when a landowner does not
respond he or she is responsible for a just proportion of the
costs; permitting civil actions; and authorizing promulgation of 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repealed; and that §19-17-1, §19-17-2, §19-17-3 and §19-17-4 of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 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
§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 is authorized to propose rules
for legislative approval pursuant to article three, chapter twenty-
nine-a of this code to regulate livestock fences, partition fences
and disputes. The commissioner is also authorized to promulgate
emergency rules pursuant to section fifteen of that article.
NOTE: The purpose of 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