Buford v. Houtz,
133 U.S. 320 (1890)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Buford v. Houtz, 133 U.S. 320 (1890)

Buford v. Houtz

No. 711

Submitted January 6, 1890

Decided February 3, 1890

133 U.S. 320




There is an implied license, growing out of the custom of nearly one hundred years, that the public lands of the United States, especially those in which the native grasses are adapted to the growth and fattening of domestic animals, shall be free to the people who seek to use them where they are left open and unenclosed and no act of the government forbids their use.

During the progress of the settlement of the newer parts of the country, the rule that the owner of domestic animals should keep them confined within his own grounds, and should be liable for their trespasses upon unenclosed land of his neighbor, has nowhere prevailed, but, on the contrary, his right to permit them, when not dangerous, to run at large without responsibility for their getting upon such land of his neighbor has been universally conceded, and is a part of the statute law of Utah. Comp.Laws § 2234.

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