Barbed wire fencing law

Detail of rusty barbed wire fence in the green field. image by GoodMood Photo from

Anyone interested in building a barbed wire fence to protect their property or livestock must be aware of the laws that apply. Regulations vary by locale.


Ensure the fence is built within a designated area. For example, under the guidelines of the Cleveland Zoning Code Section 358.05(b(2), barbed wire fences must be built in non-residential districts and have to be at least 4 feet from a residential property line.


In areas where barbed wire fencing is allowed, the barbed wire itself must meet specific requirements. In Salt Lake City, for example, the barbed wire must be at least 6 feet off the ground and fences are allowed to have only as many as three strands of barbed wire.

Keeping It Legal

Under the guidelines of the California Livestock Laws Section 17121, fences used to maintain cattle must meet the requirements of a "lawful fence." Barbed-wire fences, as long as they contain three strands of barbed wire that are 4 feet off the ground or more, are considered "lawful fences" in California.

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