An invisible fence for dogs may sound like a good alternative for keeping your dog contained in your yard. However, there are real risks and dangers not to mention annoyances that all dog owners must be aware of. Dog owners especially need to understand the liability risks of installing the invisible fence in their front yard. We spoke with a lawyer and he shared with us that putting an invisible dog fence in the front yard increases the likely hood of the homeowner experiencing a personal injury situation.
Here is what happens when you walk by an invisible fence that is in the front yard.
Imagine you’re taking your dog for an afternoon stroll. It’s a nice afternoon. As you walk up the street you move over to the side of the road and take a step into a neighbors yard to let a car pass by. As the car drives by, you wave and just as you are about to continue your walk, you’re flanked from behind by a snapping and barking dog.
That is what happened to me when I took Rio for a walk in our new neighborhood. Rio and I both spun around in a defensive mode. Luckily the invisible fence ended a couple of feet or so from us. The dog was much smaller than Rio but I can only imagine what would have happened if we were standing any closer to the invisible fence. The dog continued to lunge and bark at us. The dog’s owner was outside. But she just gave me a naive wave as I struggled to pull Rio away from the yard. If she could read my facial expression – she understood that I thought that was “not cool”.
Is Your Dog A Creepy Stalker?
This did not turn out not to be an isolated incident. We quickly discovered that our new neighborhood has several houses with invisible fences. Many of the invisible dog fences are in the front yard and allow the dog within just a few feet of the street. Some dogs made their presence known well before we walked by their yard. Other dogs would stand still and just wait for us to get close before they sounded the alarm and charged at us. There is even one dog who gets down low and slowly crouches toward us – just like a lion attempting to stay undetected while stalking its prey.
Rio was anything but relaxed after our neighborhood walks. In fact, he gets really alert, nervous, and postures a lot as he looks around for other dogs who may want to jump out and surprise us.
Containment & Invisible Fence Laws For Dogs
I was unsure about the laws surrounding invisible fences for dogs, so I reached out for a consultation with Rod Dixon of Dixon Davis LLC. Rod is a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, GA. As a personal injury lawyer, he has dealt with many dog bite-related cases. I asked Rod who would be at fault if someone gets bitten by a dog behind an invisible fence. Rod stated that it’s really a case by case situation. Personal Injury lawyers have to look at the facts of the situation and the circumstances, the individual laws and ordinances of the municipality as well as the homeowners association’s rules and policies.
I told him how I stepped into the neighbor’s yard to let a passing car drive by and asked him if I had been bitten, who would be at fault. “By entering onto that person’s property, it could be considered trespassing”, Rod said. So I would have been at fault…. or maybe not. He stressed, that all the facts and circumstances have to be considered. Were the appropriate invisible fence yard signs present as required by the local ordinance or were the signs hidden behind an overgrown bush, does the dog have a bite history and what kind of breed is the dog. Right or wrong, Rod said that many municipalities have stricter ordinances on pit bulls, Rotweillers, and so-called “bully breeds“.
Why Invisible Fences Installed In Front Yards Could Pose As Personal Injury Risk
Homeowners are more likely to experience a personal injury situation when the invisible fence is in the front yard. The reason being, Rod says, people walking by your house, whether it’s an elderly person or a mom pushing her child in a stroller, may become startled if your dog comes running and barking at them. And in the process of thinking they need to run away – they trip, fall and become injured.
Invisible Fence Saftey Tips From A Lawyer
Rod provides these helpful tips. Understand that invisible fences are not perfect and they can malfunction. Dog owners who are dead-set on having an invisible fence, first, make sure you know and understand your municipalities and homeowners association’s policies and laws. Rod stated he would be “an advocate for invisible fences to be limited to the backyards of houses”. It’s common for homeowner associations to restrict fences to the backyards of homes – invisible fences should follow those same restrictions.