In the case of Mackay v. Uinta Development Co. (219 Fed. 116 (8th Cir. 1914)), Mackay sent his sheep across privately-owned land on their way to some Federal land. They ate all the grass, damaging the land. The owner of the land (Uinta) sued for damages from the trespass. However, the Appellate Court found for Mackay.
  • The Court looked to Buford v. Houtz (133 U.S. 320 (1890)) and found that since Congress allows people to trespass on Federal land, there is an implied license that people can graze their animals there.
  • The Court then extended the doctrine to say that there is an implied license for a private person to send their animals across private lands in order to get to public lands.
    • Since there was no way Mackay could not have gotten his sheep to the public land without going over private land, Congress must have meant it was legal to do so, right?
    • The Court found that if Uinta wanted to keep sheep off their land, they would have to build a fence.
      • That was a change from English common-law (and followed in the eastern US), that it was the livestock owner who had the responsibility from keeping his livestock from straying, not the property owner.
  • Compare this case to Leo Sheep Co. v. United States (440 U.S. 668 (1979)), which held that the Federal government does not have a similar right of way.