Sandy Springs bans electrified fences, barbed wire after close call

Electrified fencing and barbed wire is now banned in Sandy Springs.

Electrified fencing and barbed wire is now banned in Sandy Springs.

It may come as a shock, but Sandy Springs has outlawed electrified fences.

City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to amend an ordinance banning them, along with other types of fencing, after a close-call with first responders.

Sharon Kraun, city spokeswoman, said firefighters were recently at a fire in a detached garage, but the “unit felt something wasn’t right at the gate” and called in Georgia Power to check. The utility crew found the fence was electrified by a self-installed system, Kraun said.

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Firefighters put out the flames and no one was injured.

“When installed incorrectly, electric fences can trigger shocks that can have dangerous outcomes, especially to people with preexisting health conditions,” noted the agenda item from Tuesday’s meeting.

The ordinance also bans fences having concertina wiring — think spiraled wire with double-sided razor blades — and barbed wire.

The agenda item explained why the wires are also being banned: “Impediments such as barbed wire or concertina wire can pose a threat to emergency responders and waste valuable seconds in the event of an emergency, endangering the property owner ... as well as adjacent property owners.”

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Amy Henderson, spokeswoman of the Georgia Municipal Association, said Georgia’s cities have latitude for such measures and many have similar wire bans for safety reasons.

“It’s basically the whole concept of home rule,” she said Friday. “Communities can pass ordinances that create the communities that people want. Every city is different. Sandy Springs is not a rural city by any stretch of the imagination. Other cities might have livestock and it’s appropriate there.”

No one spoke in opposition to the ban at the meeting, Kraun said.

The ordinance took effect immediately, but City Council approved a 30-day delay in enforcement to give property owners time to comply.

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