CHAPTER 823
FENCES

Table of Contents

Sec. 47-43. Proprietors to maintain.
Sec. 47-44. Compensation of selectmen for services as fence viewers.
Sec. 47-45. Appointees to perform duties of selectmen as to fences.
Sec. 47-46. Payment for fence between agricultural property and state highway.
Sec. 47-46a. Payment for fence between agricultural property and property in control of Environmental Protection Department.
Sec. 47-47. Barbed wire between adjoining premises or enclosing grounds of public buildings.
Sec. 47-48. Barbed wire along sidewalks.
Sec. 47-49. Purchase of division fence.
Sec. 47-50. Division of fence by selectmen.
Sec. 47-51. Repair of division fence.
Sec. 47-52. When dividing line is a stream.
Sec. 47-53. Apportionment of division fence. Penalty.
Sec. 47-54. Proceedings to obtain new division fence.
Sec. 47-55. Damage by animals.
Sec. 47-56. Fences around home lots.

      Sec. 47-43. Proprietors to maintain. The proprietors of lands shall make and maintain sufficient fences to secure their particular fields. Within cities and adjacent to house lots, a tight board fence four and one-half feet high, an open picket fence four feet high, the opening between pickets not to exceed four inches, or a slat rail fence four feet high, the opening between slats not to exceed six inches, the lower slat not over six inches from the ground, a fence not less than four feet high of chain link galvanized wire not smaller than number nine gauge supported upon galvanized tubular steel posts set in concrete, all end and corner posts to be suitably braced, and all to be substantially erected, or any other fence which in the judgment of the selectmen or other officials charged with the duty of fence viewers is equal thereto, shall be a sufficient fence; in places outside of incorporated cities, a rail fence four and one-half feet high, a stone wall four feet high, suitably erected, a wire fence consisting of four strands not more than twelve inches apart, stretched tightly, the lower strand not more than twelve inches and the upper strand not less than four feet from the ground, with good substantial posts not more than sixteen feet apart, and any other fence which in the judgment of the selectmen is equal to such a rail fence, shall be a sufficient fence. Adjoining proprietors shall each make and maintain half of a divisional fence, the middle line of which shall be on the dividing line, and such fence shall not exceed in width, if a straight wood fence or hedge fence, two feet; if a brick or stone fence, three feet; if a crooked rail fence, six feet; and, if a ditch, eight feet, not including the bank, which shall be on the land of the maker. No ditch shall be made adjacent to a house lot without the consent of the owner of the house.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7155.)

      Duty of proprietors when the line is such that no fence can be made. 1 R. 269. A ditch named and treated as a boundary is regarded as a division fence. 6 C. 473. Rights of party repairing such ditch. Id., 474. What constitutes a divisional fence within the statute. 15 C. 135. Fence viewers are the sole judges of what is a sufficient fence. 24 C. 277. Terms "sufficient fence" and "ordinary fence" as used in the statute, construed. 37 C. 126, 127. Statute commented on. 52 C. 34. Hedge as a division fence; rights of adjoining proprietors as to trimming hedge. 108 C. 98. Cited. 181 C. 454.

      Cited. 46 CA 164.

      Privet hedge set out and cared for by defendant only having its middle line on her property from three inches to one and nine-tenths feet from boundary line held not division fence. 4 Conn. Cir. Ct. 196.


(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-44. Compensation of selectmen for services as fence viewers. Selectmen shall receive two dollars for each day's service as fence viewers.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3633.)

      Cited. 103 C. 424.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-45. Appointees to perform duties of selectmen as to fences. In any town, city or borough which conducts its government under the provisions of any special act, and in which the duties in relation to fences imposed by the general statutes on selectmen are not specifically assigned to another officer or agency, the legislative body of such municipality, or the board of selectmen in the case of a municipality in which the legislative body is a town meeting, may appoint a suitable person or a committee of three persons to perform such duties and may provide for the payment of a fee therefor, which fee shall not be less than that provided by section 47-44.

      (1953, S. 2967d; P.A. 94-59, S. 5.)

      History: P.A. 94-59 provided that appointments be made by the board of selectmen in the case of a municipality in which the legislative body is a town meeting.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-46. Payment for fence between agricultural property and state highway. When there is no fence between property used for agricultural purposes adjoining a state highway and the highway property sufficient for the purposes of section 47-43, or when any fence so located is in need of replacement, the adjoining proprietor may, with the written agreement of the Commissioner of Transportation, executed within sixty days of a written request by such proprietor, cause such a fence to be constructed or replaced within two years from the date of the agreement; and the Commissioner of Transportation shall, within sixty days after the construction or replacement is completed, reimburse the proprietor for one-half the cost thereof, subject to limitations of costs per linear foot and in accordance with standards to be established by said commissioner.

      (1957, P.A. 234; 1967, P.A. 43; 1969, P.A. 768, S. 262.)

      History: 1967 act specified that fence must be constructed or replaced "within two years from the date of the agreement"; 1969 act replaced highway commissioner with commissioner of transportation.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-46a. Payment for fence between agricultural property and property in control of Environmental Protection Department. Where there is no fence between property used for agricultural purposes and adjoining property of the state under control of the Department of Environmental Protection sufficient for the purposes of section 47-43, or when any fence so located is in need of replacement, and the boundary has been mutually agreed upon, the adjoining proprietor may, with the written agreement of the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, executed within sixty days of a written request by such proprietor, cause such a fence to be constructed or replaced within six months of the date of the agreement; and the commissioner shall, within sixty days after the construction or replacement is completed, reimburse the proprietor for one-half the cost thereof, the state's share not to exceed four dollars a rod, payments to be made in the order of receipt of applications and completion of projects. Total payments under this section shall not exceed five thousand dollars in any fiscal year.

      (1961, P.A. 558; 1967, P.A. 72; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 205; P.A. 79-530, S. 1, 3.)

      History: 1967 act increased state's maximum share in reimbursement from $1 to $2 per rod; 1971 act replaced state park and forest commission and its director with department and commissioner of environmental protection and revised reference to maximum for total payments to reflect change from biennial to annual budget; P.A. 79-530 raised state's maximum share for reimbursement to $4 per rod and raised maximum amount for total payments from $2,500 to $5,000 per fiscal year.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-47. Barbed wire between adjoining premises or enclosing grounds of public buildings. No person shall use barbed wire in the construction of fences, or have barbed wire upon existing fences, between his own premises and those of an adjoining proprietor, within twenty-five rods of any house or barn belonging to such proprietor, unless either premises are used in connection with raising livestock, without first obtaining his written consent. No barbed wire shall be used in the construction of fences, or retained upon existing fences, connected with or enclosing the grounds of any public school or public building, except a Department of Transportation storage facility or a vessel operations area of a state-owned waterfront facility or aircraft operations area of a state-owned airport. Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7157; P.A. 80-105; P.A. 84-322.)

      History: P.A. 80-105 added exception re premises used in raising livestock to provision requiring written consent for barbed wire fence within twenty-five rods of house or barn; P.A. 84-322 allowed use of barbed wire at department of transportation storage facilities, vessel operations areas of state-owned waterfront facilities and aircraft operations areas of state-owned airports.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-48. Barbed wire along sidewalks. No barbed wire shall be installed along any sidewalk unless it is at least six and one-half feet above the ground. Any barbed wire in use in conformity with section 7156 of the general statutes, revision of 1949, on October 1, 1957, may be continued in use.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7156; 1957, P.A. 157, S. 1.)

      When violation of a statute concerning barbed wire is not set up in complaint in action for damages for personal injuries, it is error to read statute to the jury to show that legislature thought barbed wire a dangerous thing. 101 C. 549.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-49. Purchase of division fence. If one proprietor or his predecessor in title makes the whole fence and the adjoining proprietor afterwards encloses his land, such adjoining proprietor shall purchase and maintain half of the divisional fence. If the parties do not agree in dividing and appraising it, either may call on the selectmen of the town in which such fence is situated, who may set out, to each, his proportion of such fence and determine how much shall be paid to the party erecting or owning the same by the other; a certificate of which determination, under the hands of the selectmen, shall be sufficient evidence for the recovery of the amount so determined. No action therefor shall be maintained unless the proprietor, who, or whose predecessor in title, first occupied his land and made the whole of the divisional fence, has caused such fence to be so divided and appraised within six years after the adjoining proprietor, or those under whom he holds, has first enclosed his land by particular enclosure, nor unless such action is commenced within one year after such division and appraisal have been made.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7158.)

      Parol division of divisional fence by adjoining proprietors is valid. 29 C. 428. Decision of one selectman, when binding as to division of fence. 32 C. 109. Where party builds whole of division fence on line, the adjacent proprietor has no right to tear down half. 52 C. 34.

      Cited. 4 Conn. Cir. Ct. 196, 199.


(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-50. Division of fence by selectmen. When a fence between adjoining proprietors has never been divided and either refuses to divide it, the other may call on the selectmen to make a division, who shall set out, in writing, the better part to him who erected it or to the party holding under him; and the cost, certified by the selectmen in writing, shall be paid by him who refused to make such division. Such division, when recorded in the town where the land lies, shall be binding on the parties.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7159.)

      Cited. 4 Conn. Cir. Ct. 196, 199.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-51. Repair of division fence. If any person neglects to keep his division fence in repair, the party aggrieved may call on the selectmen to view it, who, if they find it insufficient, shall immediately give written notice thereof to the person bound to repair it, and shall also mail to the owner of any mortgage upon land which is partly bounded by the fence in question a written notice of an order to repair such fence. If none of the parties interested, to whom notice has been given, makes such repairs within fifteen days from the time of giving such notice, the party aggrieved may make such repairs and recover of the person bound to repair it double the cost of such repairs as estimated in writing by the selectmen and also the fees of such selectmen. Such sums shall constitute a lien upon such land against all persons interested therein, provided such lien shall be recorded in the office of the town clerk of the town in which such land is situated within sixty days from the time of completing such repairs. Such liens may be foreclosed in the manner provided for the foreclosure of mortgages.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7160.)

      Defendant's obligation to keep fence in repair must be averred. 15 C. 532. Fence viewers are the sole judges as to sufficiency of fence. 24 C. 277. Fence viewers are not judicial officers. Id.; 28 C. 604. Unnecessary to set forth in the notice the particular defects; what notice is sufficient. 24 C. 277; 29 C. 421; Id., 431. Not necessary that notice should be given delinquent party of the time of meeting to estimate value of repairs. 28 C. 605; 101 C. 289. The fifteen days given to repair run from time of serving notice. 29 C. 431. To what extent the complainant, on neglect of the owner, may repair. Id. Selectmen's order is void if fence is not a divisional fence; question may be raised for first time in superior court. 101 C. 288.

      Cited. 4 Conn. Cir. Ct. 196, 199.


(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-52. When dividing line is a stream. When the dividing line is a stream or pond, which does not take the place of a sufficient fence, and it is impracticable to make the fence in the line, if either party refuses to make a division fence on either side, two selectmen of the town shall, on application of either party, determine on which side of the stream or pond the fence shall be erected and maintained, or whether partly on one side and partly on the other, and what part each shall make and maintain, and deliver their determination in writing to the parties. If either refuses to make and maintain his part of the fence, the other may do so and recover the expense from the party so refusing.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7161.)

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-53. Apportionment of division fence. Penalty. When there is no fence between adjoining proprietors or when a particular enclosure is divided between two or more proprietors and either desires to have a division fence erected, any two selectmen of the town where such land is situated, and, if the same is situated in more than one town, then one from each town, may view such dividing line, first giving notice to such proprietors; and, if they deem it reasonable that such fence should be erected at the expense of each of such adjoining proprietors, shall divide and stake out a line and assign to each his portion thereof and limit a time within which it shall be erected; and each proprietor shall erect a sufficient fence on the portion of such line so set to him. If either makes his portion of such fence and the other neglects to make his portion within such time, such selectmen may cause the fence to be completed, and the expense thereof, as certified by the selectmen, shall be paid by the proprietor so neglecting. Any person who neglects to erect a sufficient fence on the portion of such line so set to him, within the time prescribed by such selectmen, shall be fined not more than two dollars for each day of such neglect.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7162.)

      Fence viewers have no power to settle disputed lines or bounds. 28 C. 198; 101 C. 289.

      Cited. 4 Conn. Cir. Ct. 196, 199.


(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-54. Proceedings to obtain new division fence. When a particular enclosure has been divided and the parties cannot agree respecting the division of a fence belonging to the same, or when adjoining proprietors cannot agree respecting the division of an existing fence, and there is no record of any division of it, any of them may call out any two selectmen of the town where such fence is situated, or, if the same is in two towns, one from each town, who shall view such fence and make a division and award in favor of and against such parties such sums as they deem reasonable. Such award shall be in writing, signed by such selectmen, describing such division and limiting a time for the payment of the sums awarded, and, when recorded in the town or towns where such fence is situated, shall be final, and shall not be invalid in consequence of any inaccuracy, if the location of such division, the parties and the sums awarded can be understood.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7163.)

      Verbal agreements for dividing do not run with the land. 21 C. 342; 101 C. 290.

      Cited. 4 Conn. Cir. Ct. 196, 199.


(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-55. Damage by animals. All damage done within enclosures by cattle, horses, asses, mules, sheep, swine or goats, when the fence is sufficient, shall be paid by the owner of the animals. No person shall recover for damage done within his enclosure by reason of the insufficiency of his fence, unless done by animals at large contrary to law, or by unruly cattle that are not restrained by ordinary fences; or unless the owner of animals puts them into or voluntarily trespasses on such enclosure; or unless they entered through a part of the fence which was sufficient; in all of which cases the owner of the land may impound them and recover poundage and damages.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7164.)

      See chapter 436 re impoundment of animals generally.

      Where fence is sufficient: Who are the "owners" of cattle within the statute. 6 C. 532; 16 C. 204. Under first part of this statute no action lies unless the fence is sufficient. 14 C. 295, 296. Otherwise where cattle are unruly. 16 C. 206. Where fence is insufficient: A defense of insufficient fence may be met by evidence that cattle were unruly. Id. Cattle entering through insufficient fence may be impounded. 32 C. 221. Terms "sufficient fence" and "ordinary fence", construed. 37 C. 126, 127. No obligation to fence against unruly cattle. Id., 129. History of legislation re fences. Id. Statute held inapplicable in action for damages due to vicious bull. 79 C. 271. What cases are covered by this statute. 94 C. 549; 96 C. 662. Evidence held to show cattle at large on highway and unruly. 94 C. 550. Plaintiff who was not the owner of the land had no rights under the statute. 124 C. 695.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 47-56. Fences around home lots. When adjoining proprietors are unable to agree about erecting a division fence and there is a dwelling house on the lot of one proprietor within one hundred rods of the dividing line, he may notify any two selectmen of the town in which such lot is situated or, if it is in more than one town, then one selectman from each town, who shall give written notice to the parties of the time and place of a hearing in regard to such fence; and the proprietor of such lot may, upon the terms named by the selectmen, erect a better fence than is required by law, and the adjoining proprietor shall pay such part of the expense as he would pay for the erection of an ordinary sufficient fence, but shall be allowed the value of his part of the existing division fence appraised by the selectmen. The expense of maintaining such better fence beyond that of an ordinary sufficient fence shall be defrayed by the owner of such lot, who shall also pay the fees of the selectmen. Such selectmen shall make a written certificate of their doings and leave a copy with each proprietor; and the party erecting the fence may recover of the other party the amount to be paid by him if not so paid within thirty days after the erection of such fence.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7165.)

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)