Electric Fence – How to Stay Safe

Are Electric Fences Dangerous?

The simple answer is yes and no.

Think about it this way, farmers, livestock owners and horse owners all use electric fences, they also all make their living or have a passion for the animals they are trying to contain. If you were them, would you knowingly put your livelihood at risk by placing a dangerous fence where you know the animals will touch it, instead of a regular fence? No, of course not. So, these fences must be safe, right?

If managed responsibly electric fences are indeed very safe, they deliver more of a buzz than a crack. The fence is a deterrent, nothing more. Ask any farmer if the fence could kill an animal and most would laugh it off saying, ‘Well my dog bites the thing daily and he’s still here’. Electric fences do have the ability to deliver a stronger shock, but animal owners will not have their fences fully charged. The fence will be set so that when animals and people come into contact with the fence they are more likely to experience a discomfort or mild jolt rather than actual pain. The idea behind an electric fence is to deliver a one-time shock that teaches the animal not to touch the fence gain and therefore makes it much easier to contain.

Better Safe than Sorry

For those that still hold reservations, I would suggest having a chat with an electrical fence specialist, but for now here are some safety tips that owners and potential owners should keep in mind:

  • Make use of warning signs, make sure everyone is aware that the electrified
  • Never modify your electric fence without first consulting the manufacturer, there is a reason why the fence operates the way it does and you could be making it less safe by altering it
  • Never use barbed wire in your electric fence, it’s a poor conductor and can trap animals on the fence resulting in consecutive shocks
  • Have an expert install your fence if you are at all unsure of how to do it yourself, most suppliers will use an electrical contractor or provide this as an additional service
  • Ensure all those who come in regular contact understand how to disconnect the fence in case of an emergency, write these instructions down and keep it near the controls
  • Use the right material for your wiring, if your fence is exposed to high winds regularly thick tape will be unsuitable as the fence may collapse or lean
  • Check the fence’s voltage regularly to ensure it never reaches a dangerous level