“Can we all just get along?”
The quote, which is often misquoted as “Can’t we all just get along?” came from Rodney King after he was brutally beaten by Los Angeles police in 1991.
He poses a very good question.
Many times a cat, a dog, loud music, teenagers and sometimes early morning parties make it difficult for city dwellers to “get along” with the neighbors.
During the time we lived in Abilene, there was nothing more irritating than being awakened at 6 a.m. Saturday morning by a barking dog.
“Woof, woof, woof. Woof, woof, woof.”
Then that darn cat used the sandbox for a, well, you know what.
Four years ago green acres became the place for me.
“Land spreadin’ out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.”
Actually it was Jayhawk Street that we moved from, but you get the point. We moved to the country.
At 3 a.m. it isn’t the neighbors returning home from a party that wakes me up but the clock on the wall.
“Tick, tock. Tick tock. Tick, tock.”
But that doesn’t mean that all country dwellers “get along” with neighbors. Quite often there is the issue of a fence.
Most country dwellers reading this are probably bobbing their heads up and down, uttering a simple “yep.”
The fact is, Kansas’s fence law is long and complicated. Kansas State University published an eight-page booklet on the subject, including 29 footnotes.
“Each case and controversy involving the subject matter of this publication required consideration of unique fact and law,” said an author’s note. “Our laws are subject to change yearly through legislative procedures, as well as new judicial determinations.”
Laws govern everything from maintaining the fence to ownership. There are as many types of fence issues as there are types of fences. Some hold livestock, some do not.
Kansas is a fence-in jurisdiction which means that livestock owners are required to fence their animals in.
Cows, horses, pigs, maybe. Chickens, goats and cats, not so much.
If the adjoining landowners cannot reach an agreement concerning fence building and/or maintenance, the “fence viewers” should be called.
And it’s a little known fact that county commissioners in the county where the fence in question is located are the fence viewers.
The actual viewing doesn’t happen often as most fence issues get resolved before the actual viewing.
But Kansas law says, according to the booklet, “In general, the owners of adjoining lands are required to build and maintain in good repair all partition fences in equal shares, unless the parties agree otherwise.
“...if nonlivestock owners do not want their land enclosed, they cannot be forced to build or pay for an equal share of any partition fence.”
The booklet prepared by the Kansas State University Agriculture Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service concluded: “In any event, it remains clear that good fences make good neighbors.”