The Law Office of Kurt H King

November 9, 2016

Missouri Fence Law

In Chapter 272 of Missouri’s Revised Statutes, you find two sets of fence law back to back, General fence law up front.  Counties can opt for the second set of statutes (Optional fence law) if they prefer.    A minority consisting of northern Missouri counties use the Optional version more in tune with rural areas.

It can be tricky finding out if a particular county has opted out, as it may have happened years before the current county officers took office.  No one at the courthouse may know or want to take the time to check old records and find out for you.  While each county should have its fence law written and available to the public, some do not.  You may be referred to the University of Missouri agricultural extension office for a list or map of those counties which have opted out.  A good article and map is presently available on-line.

While there are several differences in the two fence laws, an important one is that under the General fence law a landowner who does NOT place livestock up against the fence need not pay for half the cost of a boundary fence with his neighbor who does run livestock against the fence.  Section 272.132.

Amazing how so many of us are just a generation or two away from our farm ancestors, but have never encountered the fence laws our grandparents knew well.

Keep in mind the old axiom “a good fence makes for good neighbors”–it still holds water.  Surveys cost but save the expense of rebuilding an off-line fence and paying lawyers on lawsuits claiming trespass, adverse possession, tacking, quiet title, and so on.

Kurt H. King

Law Office of Kurt H. King


20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068

General Litigation and Matters, Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, Family Law

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