Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.

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Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.

Good neighbors respect one another’s property. Good farmers, for example, maintain their fences in order to keep their livestock from wandering onto neighboring farms. This proverb appears in the poem “Mending Wall,” by Robert Frost.

In the state of South Dakota. There are specific laws regarding fences between two neighbors. The way the law reads. If you are standing at the location where the fence should be placed and you are facing your neighbor’s property. You are responsible for erecting and maintaining the half of the fence that is to your right. If your neighbor is standing on his property facing you. His responsibility is for erecting and maintaining the fence to his right.

If either one of you fail to maintain your fence in order to keep livestock, from getting out and walking on the neighbor’s property to eat his crops. You are liable for the damage that they cause. If you ask a neighbor to fix fence that you’re not responsible for and he refuses. You must contact your neighbor in writing and and ask him to repair his fence. If he refuses to repair the fence and just ignores you. You can repair the fence yourself and recover your expenses in court. If he fails to appear in court or pay the costs. You can have a lien placed on his property. That lien will have priority over all other liens except tax liens.

You would think the law is quite clear about maintaining good fences. If all else fails, a huge fist from a strong right hand might work. It should get your neighbor’s attention, but that’s still may not prompt him to repair the fence he is responsible for.

I will end this fence story with fiction. It could be fact in our modern day of absentee landlords very few know thy neighbor anymore. A livestock man and a grain farmer were neighbors. The livestock man kept his cattle on his side of the fence, while the neighbors crops were young and green so his cattle could not bloat and die. For some odd reason in the fall after the corn was getting dry his cattle mysteriously started getting into the neighbors fields again. This made the grain farmer very suspicious. The following year after the corn started to dry he placed a camera out on a corner post aimed at his neighbors fence. It recorded all the activities around that fence.

The camera yielded perfect pictures of his neighbor’s pickup driving up and slowly going along the fence as if he was checking and fixing it. He was doing neither one, he was loosening up the wires and letting them hang to the ground in several places.The farmer owning the corn couldn’t believe his eyes. He drove over to his neighbors house to show him the camera and explain to him that he had proof of the guy letting down the wires near the cornfield.

He said, “the proper thing for me to do right now is to beat the hell out of you.” I will not do that because you will just have me arrested for assault and battery. Good fences and good neighbors mean absolutely nothing to you, nor does a decent reputation. All the old neighbors around here have stuck together for three generations. They might seem cold toward you now. I will ask the sheriff if he can come up with a crop loss estimate. You could offer to pay restitution and salvage some of your reputation.

https://wordpress.comlghoelson

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