A coyote climbed our fence the other day and killed one of my dogs. We have since installed a taller, 6 foot wood fence, but have been told that coyotes can climb fences. my thought was to put sharp metal spikes on top of the fence to detour this. is this legal? i live in oklahoma. the fence in question backs up to a cemetery and there is a 100 foot greenbelt between my property line and the cemetery itself. there arent any homes or people behind our house.
It is probably "legal" in the sense that, as far as I am aware, there is no law specifically prohibiting the installation of spikes or other devices on fences to prevent creatures (two-legged or four-legged) from climbing the fence. However, if you are within the limits of a municipality, there may be zoning or other ordinances that restrict the type and/or location of fencing on your property For example, the City of Tulsa prohibits barbed wire fencing within 3 feet of a sidewalk. If there are restrictive covenants applicable to the property, they may also restrict the type fencing permitted. Even if the municipality does not specifically prohibit spikes on fences, If the spikes could be considered dangerous to the public, there is always the possibility that the fence could be declared a nuisance.
Even if the spikes are not prohibited, another concern should be whether they could subject you to liability to someone who is injured by them. Under Oklahoma law a landowner has no duty to make safe an "open and obvious" danger on the property, and a landowner only owes a trespasser a duty to avoid injuring him "willfully or wantonly." However, whether something is "open and obvious" can be subject to dispute if the injured party claims the danger was not obvious to them, and if someone is injured by the spikes, you can be certain they will claim that installing them was wanton and reckless. Whether they would succeed depends on too many factors to discuss here.
The best approach is to use common sense. If the spikes you are considering are capable of injuring a person, consider less dangerous alternatives. If someone, even a trespasser, is likely to come into contact with the spikes and be injured, don't install them. If you don't believe anyone is likely to be injured by them, you can weigh your need to install the spikes against the risk of getting sued if you're wrong. Finally, make sure you have liability insurance coverage that will cover a claim for injury caused by the fence.
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