A cattle producers' group wants Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to sign legislation relaxing potential penalties when livestock get loose.
Livestock producers currently can be charged with misdemeanor animal neglect if they fail to provide adequate care or control that results in substantial harm to an animal.
A bill pending before Nixon would apply the animal neglect charge only to inadequate care -- not poor control.
Instead, the bill creates a new offense of animal trespass, defined as knowingly failing to provide adequate control of animals for at least 12 hours. It would be an infraction on a first offense and a misdemeanor only for repeat offenders.
The Missouri Cattlemen's Association said the bill could spare producers from being made criminals when cows walk over a fence.