As I was driving on 35 this morning on my way to work, traffic began to suddenly slow down. As I traveled through traffic to my surprise, I saw 3 cows standing in the ditch! What the heck! According to reports, Tuesday evening there was a crash involving a chevy pickup hauling a livestock trailer. The trailer was going northbound on Interstate 35 when it left the roadway near mile marker 14.

Now, this is not the first-time cattle have shared the highway with us! Back in August cattle had escaped and roamed the interstate after visiting a Kwik Trip in Stacy! Which has me thinking about what should we do we cows escape on the highway or any road for that matter, or is there a law to prevent this?

Back in December 2020, a Minnesota resident asked state trooper Troy Christianson a similar question.


My neighbor’s cattle are always out. They don’t take care of their fence and they are getting into my yard. I can deal with that, but my real concern is the highway we live along. I’m worried someone is going to hit a cow and get hurt or something worse. There must be a law about this.

Sgt. Troy Christianson Answers with this:

Throughout my career, I’ve responded to several crashes involving cattle, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep, swine, goats, and much more. A vehicle running into (and sometimes under) a 1,000 to 2,000-pound animal can quickly turn a sedan into a convertible. Many of these crashes resulted in serious injuries and occasionally something worse.


To answer your question, yes, there is a law. Minnesota State Statute 346.16 addresses livestock “running at large.” The law states that civil action can also be taken. The owner of the animal is responsible for keeping it fenced in and safely off public roadways.

So, when dealing with cows on the road just be very careful. In addition to staying calm and slowing down, when encountering a large animal on a road or highway shares the following:

  • remain in your lane while attempting to slow down as quickly as possible. If you have room to do so, move toward the right side, or outer edge, of the road.
  • be aware of your surroundings.
  • Never speed, especially at night.
  • If you do end up in a collision with a moose or deer, duck down into your car; large animals like these can come through the windshield or crush the car roof. (Lower your seat to help).

Although no one wants to kill or injure an animal, our own life and safety is more valuable than that of an animal.

Information is credited to Ask a Trooper and Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol. If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at

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