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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 19 - 17 - 1 §19-17-1. Definition of lawful fence.
Every fence of the height and description hereinafter mentioned shall be deemed a lawful fence as to any horses, mules, asses, jennets, cattle, sheep, swine, or goats, which could not creep through the same, that is to say:

(a) If built of common rails, known as the worm fence, four and one half feet high;

(b) If built with posts and rails, or posts and plank, or pickets, four feet high;

(c) If built with stone, two feet wide at base, and three and one-half feet high;

(d) If a hedge fence, four feet high. If any hedge fence be built upon a mound, the same from the bottom of the ditch shall be included in estimating the height of such fence;

(e) If built with posts and wire, or pickets and wire, four feet high, and shall consist of not less than six strands, the first strand five inches, the second strand ten inches, the third strand seventeen inches, the fourth strand twenty-five inches, the fifth strand thirty-six inches, and the sixth strand forty-eight inches from the ground; and if with more than six strands, the space between the strands shall in no case be greater than hereinbefore provided. The space between the posts shall, in no case, be greater than sixteen feet;

(f) If built with posts and high tensile galvanized wire, forty-six inches high, and shall consist of not less than eight strands, the first strand four inches, the second strand nine inches, the third strand fourteen inches, the fourth strand nineteen inches, the fifth strand twenty-five inches, the sixth strand thirty-one inches, the seventh strand thirty-eight inches, and the eighth strand forty-six inches from the ground. The wire shall be maintained at no less than a two hundred pound tension at all times. The space between posts shall, in no case, be greater than thirty feet, provided that pressure-treated one and one-fourth inch by one and one-half inch by forty-eight inch slotted hardwood or one and one-half inch by two inch by forty-eight inch soft wood battens are used between posts at a distance no greater than ten feet; and

(g) If built with posts and high tensile galvanized wire and electrified, thirty-eight inches high and shall consist of not less than five strands, the first strand five inches, the second strand ten inches, the third strand seventeen inches, the fourth strand twenty-seven inches, and the fifth strand thirty-eight inches from the ground. The wire shall be maintained at no less than a two-hundred pound tension at all times. The space between posts shall, in no case, be greater than one hundred fifty feet, provided that pressure-treated one and one-fourth inch by one and one-half inch slotted hardwood or one and one-half inch by two inch softwood battens are used between posts at a distance no greater than thirty-five feet: Provided, That if said fence is constructed to confine only horses, mules, asses, jennets, or cattle, it shall be deemed a legal fence if it is not less than three strands, the first strand seventeen inches, the second strand twenty-seven inches and the third strand thirty-eight inches from the ground. The space between posts shall, in no case, be greater than one hundred fifty feet, provided that pressure-treated one and one-fourth inch by one and one-half inch slotted hardwood or one and one-half inch by two inch softwood battens are used between posts at a distance no greater than thirty-five feet. Only high-powered low impedance fence controllers which comply with international safety standards shall be used to electrify fence.

All fences heretofore built under the existing law and in compliance therewith shall be and remain and may be kept up as lawful fences.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.

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