Brand Law

This summary of South Dakota Brand Laws is not a complete statement of the laws but is intended to make you aware of the important requirements of livestock ownership inspection and brand registration.

The South Dakota livestock ownership inspection area includes all counties west of the Missouri River. All livestock sold or removed from within the area are subject to ownership inspection. All livestock transported into the inspection area for grazing, show or pleasure purposes, must be inspected prior to removal from the inspection area.

Livestock Ownership, Inspection Required

  1. Livestock auction markets
  2. Private treaty sales
  3. Prior to slaughter
  4. Ranch production/dispersal sales
  5. Prior to removal from the Livestock Ownership Inspection Area
  6. Placement into a South Dakota Registered Feedlot
  7. Inspection is required whether the livestock are branded or not.
One of the following documents is required when livestock are being removed from the ownership inspection area
  1. Local Ownership Inspection Certificate
  2. Livestock Market Clearance
  3. Shipper's Permit
  4. Lifetime Horse Transportation Permit


Livestock Brand Inspection $1.00 per head.
Lifetime Horse Transportation Permit $20.00 per head
Annual Horse Transportation Permit $3.00 per head

Shipper's Permit

A shipper's permit provides for the removal of livestock from the South Dakota livestock inspection area to certain designated livestock markets or slaughter facilities located outside the inspection area. Shipper's Permits are available from Shipper's Agents or Brand Inspectors.

Out of State Branding Permit

SDCL 40-19-01. Do not brand any livestock with an out of state brand in South Dakota until this office has granted permission to do so. Violation of this law is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Requirements for branding calves with an out of state brand. Calves born to cows imported for grazing purposes within the ownership inspection area may be branded with an out of state brand authorized by the Board if the following conditions are met:
  • The cows and calves are inspected for ownership at branding time;
  • The calves are branded with the owners registered brand;
  • The calves are less than three months old; and

Requirements for branding yearling stocker cattle with an out of state brand. Yearling stocker cattle imported into or purchased within the ownership inspection area for feeding purposes may be branded with an out of state brand authorized by the Board if the following conditions are met:
  • An ownership inspection is made at branding time;
  • The owner provides the inspector with proof of ownership of the cattle;
  • The cattle are branded with the owner’s registered brand; and

If you would like a request to brand livestock with your out of state brand in South Dakota please complete the attached “Out of State Brand Application” and return it to the State Brand Board.

Out of State Brand Application

Crimes, Offenses and Penalties

It is a Class 5 Felony to intentionally brand over a previous brand or alter, deface or obliterate a previous brand on any livestock.

The following are Class 1 Misdemeanors:
  1. To hot iron brand any domestic livestock for ownership purposes unless the brand is registered with the Brand Board in the name of the user.
  2. To brand any livestock with a brand which has been cancelled or has been rejected from registration.
It is a Class 1 Misdemeanor to remove livestock from the livestock inspection area without an inspection or shipper's permit.


Any person who takes up estray livestock shall, within 10 days, provide a written description of the estray to the County Sheriff or Brand Board. Failure to notify the Sheriff or Board is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Strayed or Stolen Report Form

Any certified law enforcement officer may stop anyone transporting livestock, livestock carcasses or portions thereof on any public thoroughfare for the purpose of examination and inspection of permits.

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