Fence Laws Boil Down to Doing the Right Thing

Fence Laws Boil Down to Doing the Right Thing

And put it in writing!

A caller looking for help on where to find information about Indiana fence laws made perhaps the best observation I've seen yet on the subject. No matter what the law says, no matter how hard legislators try, it's one of those gray areas where two plus two isn't always four, and where a square peg sometimes doesn't even fit into a square hole.

"It all boils down to the people involved case by case," the caller says. "In the end, work it out and then put it in writing. Having it in writing for the future may be the most important part of all."

We couldn't agree more. Work out a solution with your neighbor, who may be a new rural convert from the suburbs, or who may be the older farmer who has lived there all his life and doesn't like your way of thinking, because you're the new move-in, even if you've been there 10 years! The law may be a guide, but it can also be misleading and it gets really gray when it gets down to the nuts and bolts of who is supposed to pay for what, and who can do what on whose property line.

In fact, we have a free lance-writer preparing a story on fence law for Indiana Prairie Farmer right now. You haven't seen it yet and may not see it for a while is because the author can't get the two principal sources, both attorneys, to agree on key aspects of the law! No wonder you and your neighbor may not interpret it the same way.

It's a bigger issue if you have livestock, or if the neighbor gets livestock for the first time and the fence isn't good enough for livestock. That's where the 'who pays what and who has to pay' part comes in. Hopefully, you're on good terms with your neighbor and can come to a solution you both can agree upon whether it's exactly what the law spells out or not.

In one case, two neighbors who couldn't agree on what to put on the property line put both a woven wire fence and a high-tensile electric fence back to back, a foot apart;. Each paid for their fence. Both parted happy and have stayed happy for 15 years. Does it look stupid? Yes! But one party wanted a hot-wire fence for horses, and the other party wanted a woven-wire fence for pigs, and to cut down on liability issues since little children were often guests on the property.

Do what you have to do, and get it in writing. Our readers have it right!

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