Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Chapter 28. Trespasses; Fences

§ 55.1-2804. Description of lawful fence.

Every fence shall be deemed a lawful fence as to any domesticated livestock that could not creep through such fence, if it is:

1. At least five feet high, including, if the fence is on a mound, the mound to the bottom of the ditch;

2. Made of barbed wire, at least 42 inches high, consisting of at least four strands of barbed wire, firmly fixed to posts, trees, or other supports substantially set in the ground, spaced no farther than 12 feet apart unless a substantial stay or brace is installed halfway between such posts, trees, or other supports to which such wires are also fixed;

3. Made of boards, planks, or rails, at least 42 inches high, consisting of at least three boards firmly attached to posts, trees, or other supports substantially set in the ground;

4. At least three feet high, if such fence is within the limits of any town whose charter neither prescribes, nor gives to the town council power to prescribe, what shall constitute a lawful fence within such corporate limits; or

5. Any other fence, except as otherwise described in this section, if it is:

a. At least 42 inches high;

b. Constructed from materials sold for fencing or consisting of systems or devices based on technology generally accepted as appropriate for the confinement or restriction of domesticated livestock; and

c. Installed pursuant to generally acceptable standards so that applicable domesticated livestock cannot creep through the same.

A cattle guard reasonably sufficient to turn all kinds of livestock shall also be deemed a lawful fence as to any domesticated livestock.

Nothing contained in this section shall affect the right of any such town to regulate or forbid the running at large of cattle and other domestic animals within its corporate limits.

The Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services may adopt regulations regarding lawful fencing consistent with this section to provide greater specificity as to the requirements of lawful fencing. The absence of any such regulation shall not affect the validity or applicability of this section as it relates to what constitutes lawful fencing.

Code 1950, § 8-869; 1977, c. 624, § 55-299; 2007, c. 574; 2019, c. 712.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.