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Loose Livestock Causes Concerns for Drivers’ Safety

3 years 2 weeks 2 days ago Tuesday, March 21 2017 Mar 21, 2017 March 21, 2017 5:32 PM March 21, 2017 in News

DONNA - The Hidalgo County Cowboy said horses and cattle that escape end up injured or sometimes killed in motor-vehicle accidents.

Donna resident Saul Moreno currently has a neck brace to keep his body balanced.

“We are very fortunate to be alive. We had a guardian angel that night,” he said.

Moreno is recovering from four fractured vertebrates after an accident last year. He was in the backseat with his wife when his son hit a horse on the expressway in Weslaco.

“We hit the horse and then we came airborne, and then we came on the side and skidded for a while,” he said. “The car winded up sideways right in the center of the lane.”

The injuries caused Moreno’s family to struggle financially. He said he wants closure and help from Weslaco police investigators.

“They told us we didn’t have any kind of a case unless we go through civil court that may be for financial help,” he said.

Moreno is concerned other drivers could also be in danger.

Teo Martinez is known as the Hidalgo County Cowboy. He assists law enforcement and picks up livestock involved in accidents.

“It’s sad. You can go and see the animals down on the ground with the bones in many pieces,” he said.

Martinez said the rainy weather is to blame for many animals getting loose. He added owners need to keep their animals secure.

“If they care that much about their livestock, why graze them on the side of the road? Put them in your property and have something comfortable for them to be roaming around freely,” Moreno said.

He said he’s anxious to get his life back to normal.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to the Weslaco Police Department about Moreno’s report. They said his case is still open and inactive until they can get more leads.

We also wanted to know more about Texas livestock laws. Under the Texas Criminal and Traffic Penal Code, livestock are prohibited from roaming certain areas. The following is an excerpt from Sec. 143.102:

“RUNNING AT LARGE ON HIGHWAY PROHIBITED. A person who owns or has responsibility for the control of a horse, mule, donkey, cow, bull, steer, hog, sheep or goat may not knowingly permit the animal to traverse or roam at large, unattended, on the right-of-way of a highway.”

Sec. 143.103

“IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY. A person whose vehicle strikes, kills, injures, or damages an unattended animal running at large on a highway is not liable for damages to the animal except as a finding of:

  1. gross negligence in the operation of the vehicle; or
  2. willful intent to strike, kill, injure, or damage the animal.

Livestock can be on farm to market roads, but not on highways. The owner of a livestock will also be held liable for any damages that occur when the animal is not it its permitted location. 

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