Arizona is an open-range state. That means that the responsibility for keeping livestock off property falls on the property owner, not the livestock owner. And when you stop to think about it, this makes perfect sense. It’s a lot easier for me, a private landowner with a defined area of the property, to fence out livestock than it is for a rancher, who has hundreds of cattle spread over thousands of acres, to try and account for all of his animals at all times.
What is a no-fence district?
But, in some areas of the state, landowners have joined together to petition for the creation of a no-fence district. In a no-fence district, Arizona’s open range laws don’t apply. That means that it’s the livestock owner’s responsibility to keep livestock off property, rather than the property owner’s responsibility.
How is a no-fence district established?
No-fence districts are established by the County Board of Supervisors. Most of the taxpayers in the relevant area may petition the County Board and ask that a no-fence district be formed. Upon submitting such a petition, the Board will immediately record it and order the formation of the district.
If you own livestock, it’s a good idea to have maps of these no-fence districts on file to determine whether there’s a chance that your animals could end up in one of them. Arizona Farm Bureau staff has compiled these maps and legal descriptions of the property in one convenient resource, available at www.azfb.org on the Public Policy page under “Resources and Links.”