Mend fences: NY court OKs suit over roaming cows

ALBANY — New York's highest court says the owners of wandering cows and the landowners responsible for keeping them fenced in can be sued for negligence if the meandering milkers get involved in a scrape.

The Court of Appeals overturned lower courts on Thursday, ruling that the usual liability test for injuries by domestic animals such as dogs or even aggressive bulls is their reputation for being vicious, not common law negligence.

However, the six judges say this case, where Karen Hastings was injured when her van hit a cow on a public road, is different and the negligence definition applies.

They reinstated Hastings' personal injury suit, ruling that owners or landowners may be liable when farm animals are "negligently allowed to stray" from the property where they're kept.