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Indiana’s fence code can cut both ways

You’ve got a neighbor who moved to the country, built a house and has kids. You’re sure horses will be next. So you’re going to call your township trustee to force them to build a fence.

Craig Beckley, Sparta Township trustee in Dearborn County, says you need to think before you push the issue.

The truth is, Beckley notes, that you not only have to build your half of the fence if you want one, but you also have to do it before you can ask your neighbor to build the other half. Here are two important points Beckley says to consider before diving head first into fence forays.

One. Be aware of Indiana code. “One of the biggest struggles is the vagueness of Indiana’s code,” he says. “The requirement of being horse high, bull strong and hog tight can be interpreted in many ways. Also, the time requirements in the law can be unreasonable depending on the length of property line. Once the primary landowner has completed his fence, the neighbor has 20 days to build his. For a landowner that doesn’t make his living from the land, 20 days to erect a quarter-mile fence is almost undoable.”

Two. Good fences make good neighbors. Remember, cooperation is inherently American, Beckley says. “My advice is that working together is always better than pulling apart.”

Hayhurst writes from Terre Haute.

This article published in the November, 2011 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.