St. Petersburg, Florida may allow electric fences

| July 22, 2014

The city council in St. Petersburg, Florida was divided over whether it is okay to install electrified fences around properties in the city to safeguard them against vandalism. Some say, if used in conjunction with other measures, electrified fences are a good deterrent, while others are concerned by the threat they may pose to passersby. Failing to reach a consensus, council members have sent the issue back to the committee to mull over.

If passed, the proposal will benefit Tibbetts Lumber Co., which chose to put up an electric fence over two years ago after vandals caused $40,000 of damage to an air-conditioning unit. Tibbets’s electric fence is behind a non-electrified perimeter. The owners only switch on the short, pulsed 12-volt charge, after working hours. They claim that their system has dissuaded vandals.

Proposed regulations for electric fences

Electric fences would be allowed if they are a minimum of three inches behind another non-electric fence. The proposal also suggests that warning signs be posted every 60 feet. Fences would only be allowed on land that has been earmarked for industrial use.

Proposal dissenters have a different viewpoint

Opponents of the proposal point out that the lumber yard with the electric fence is near a school. “I’m perplexed the way barbed-wire fence and our police department aren’t sufficient to protect our properties,” says Councilman Karl Nurse.

Warning Electric Fence Sign

A warning sign is a must for an electric fence. From Christopher.

Supporters of the proposal had a different point of view. “We’ve got people who are willing to invest their own resources to try and contribute, and not relying upon and being a parasite on the government,” said Councilman Charlie Gerdes.

Regulations in other parts of the country

Electric fences are legal in many other parts of Florida. California state law requires that electric fences meet the standards of organizations like the National Electrical Code of the National Fire Protection Association. These standards mandate that controllers keep electric currents at safe levels.

Cities in California are free to set up more strict legislation. The state also recommends that those who want to install electric fences check with their municipalities to make sure that they are not violating local laws.

Fort Worth, Texas permits electric fences, but not within 500 feet of properties occupying children. If St. Petersburg officials consider such cities, they may be inclined to set similar riders to the construction of electric fences.

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Category: Property, security, Trespassing

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