As a kid, you were probably scarred by a neighbor yelling at you to get off his or her lawn. Yet as an adult, you’ve probably at least been tempted to shout away a few trespassing kids yourself. Well, one Virginia man shouted so much, that he had no choice but to try something different.
Every morning, local children caused a disturbance outside his house. But, no matter how he addressed the problem, the kids kept coming back. So finally, the frustrated man tried a new solution so extreme that the authorities were called in…
See, Bryan lived behind a bus stop where young kids waited for a ride to elementary school. Those kids played loudly on his well-maintained yard, and worse, they often left behind trash.
“They don’t respect other peoples’ land,” Bryan said. So he called the county, and “they refused to do anything about it. They said it was my responsibility if the kids get hurt on my land.”
So Bryan put up no trespassing signs. He installed cameras on his property. He incessantly asked the children to stay off his lawn. He even asked the parents to keep the kids off the lawn. Nothing worked.
As the new school year approached — and with visions of liability lawsuits dancing in his head — Bryan launched a plan he hoped would finally end the trespassing problem.
On the first day of school, parents bringing their kids to the bus stop saw a new addition to Bryan’s home: a fence wrapped all the way around his yard. Then a parent touched the newly erected fence…
…and felt a shock! Shaking his hand from the sting of the shock, the parent understood the new addition to Bryan’s yard — an electric fence! And he wasn’t the only one to realize it.
“My daughter walked out and said ‘he’s got a fence up,’” another neighbor said. “Then someone said it was electric and I said ‘whoa no!’ If something happens to one of those kids they’re going to have a lot of angry parents.”
Local parents banded together in outrage, but each parent was bothered by a different aspect of Bryan’s countermeasure. It bothered concerned parent Wayne Milby, for instance, that Bryan didn’t put up a warning sign.
But Bryan showed news crews that there was indeed a sign… 15 yards away from the bus stop. It was slapped on the battery that powered the fence and read “Solar Intellishock.” It had pictures of cattle on it.
Other parents noted that, while the shock wasn’t painful, it sent the wrong message; “I understood his concern,” one neighbor, below, said. “I just don’t think he understood the neighbors’ concerns.”
As one parent put it: “The first day of school, really? C’mon now.” The timing made the fence feel more malicious than a genuine protective measure. So neighbor Wayne offered an alternative solution for Bryan…
“You know, a regular fence,” Wayne said, probably would’ve worked just fine. Frustrated with Bryan’s fence, neighbors called the county police at 9:15 a.m. that morning.
That same day, Henrico County Public Works Director Steve Yob arrived at Bryan’s house to inspect the fence and measure the yard. But if the fence was on Bryan’s property, it was completely legal.
Steve’s findings? Engineers took measurements and did research, he said, “and [Bryan’s] yard starts further off the road from where the fence is. Where that fence was put is clearly county right-of-way.” In other words…
Bryan had to take down the fence because it wasn’t technically on his property. He did so without a fight. He “made a mistake and offered to correct it,” Steve said. But Bryan wasn’t giving in just yet…
In truth, Bryan didn’t anticipate that parents and the community as a whole would be so outraged by the fence. But he was happy the fence started what he called an important conversation.
“The message has gotten across, I’m pretty sure, to everybody,” Bryan told the local news. “It’s all over social media. Neighbors are driving by, parents are posting and talking about it.”
It’s unclear whether Bryan took the fence down permanently or just moved it back, but parents hoped he’d take after the house’s previous tenant and just put out a trash can for the kids.
Either way, with the word out there, Bryan could give his vocal chords a rest from yelling at kids to get off his lawn! And, more importantly, hopefully, the neighborhood kids could get to school without getting shocked!
Given liability concerns, Bryan had every right to worry about kids on his lawn — let’s just hope he found a solution a bit more humane than an electric fence.
Share this electric fence controversy with your friends below!