Livestock at large in B.C.
In British Columbia livestock may roam freely, or ‘be at large’, on the property of their owner, in a livestock district or, when authorized by the Range Act, on Crown land. However, when livestock stray from these areas they may be subject to capture.
A livestock district is a geographic area established through regulation, where livestock are permitted to be at large. Complaints may arise when livestock that is lawfully at large in a livestock district stray onto a person’s yard or property. Landowners living within a livestock district must fence out livestock to avoid straying animals entering their property.
A pound district is a provincial designation placed on land either inside or outside of a livestock district, where livestock are not permitted to be at large. Livestock are never allowed to roam freely in pound districts or on land that is outside of both livestock districts and pound districts such as Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley.
The Livestock Act includes a process for establishing livestock districts -areas where livestock may be at large, and pound districts - areas where livestock at large are subject to capture. Currently there are 13 livestock districts covering approximately two-thirds of the province and 109 pound districts. The Act also outlines when a livestock owner may be liable for damages and issues regarding trespass.
The Trespass Act must also be considered as it states that owners of adjoining land in a rural area are required to make, keep up and repair the fence between their properties, unless otherwise agreed upon.