Cattle on the Highways (1934)

Travelers on U.S. Highway 17 and Georgia Highway 38, and the American Automobile Association, were complain­ing by the end of 1934 that cattle on the highways were a safety threat. There were no state or local laws at that time which required livestock owners to keep their animals fenced in.


The problem was addressed by members of the Chamber of Commerce of Liberty and Wayne counties which met in a joint session at the Yellow Bluff Fishing Camp on the night of December 3,1934. D.S. Owen,140 president of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, said his organization was in favor of open ranges, but would cooperate in any way to make the highways safer for motorists.


Glenn Thomas of Jesup, Georgia, spoke on behalf of small cattle owners in Wayne County. He said that their very exist­ence depended on the herds they owned. He emphasized that such owners were up-to-date in their tax payments, while most farmers in the area were not.


Most cattle owners, Thomas argued, resided as much as 20 miles from Georgia Highway 38, and would be discrimi­nated against if forced to keep their cattle in fenced areas. He advocated the use of $2 million of highway funds to fence in the paved highways. He said such funds were then being used to pay public school teachers and veterans of the Confederate Army, and he considered their use to save lives on highways of at least equal importance.


Liberty County Farm Agent G.B. Eunice 141 told the groups that $25,000 worth of cattle, and $6,000 worth of hogs were produced in Liberty County in 1933. All of them were, of course, raised on open ranges.


The two groups reached no decision about whether to fence in the highways or the livestock that night. The state eventually passed a law which required livestock owners to keep their animals fenced in.