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Company wants Harmar supervisors to allow electric security fences in township

| Friday, July 18, 2014, 1:26 a.m.

A company that sells electrified security fencing is asking Harmar supervisors to change the township's zoning laws to allow them.

Cindy Gsell, director of business development for South Carolina-based Electric Guard Dog, told supervisors Thursday that the township's laws are silent on allowing electric security fences.

The township's existing regulations cap the height of fencing at 8 feet; Gsell said the industry standard for electrified fencing is 10 feet.

Gsell said Ward Trucking, which is in Harmar, has an interest in installing such a fence.

The company could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

Solicitor Chuck Means said a zoning amendment would have to first go to the township's planning commission, with the ultimate decision being made by supervisors. Supervisors could vote on approving the changes in September, he said.

Gsell said the company would pay all costs associated with the requests, which include legal, engineering and advertising expenses. The changes being requested are generic and not tailored to Electric Guard Dog's product.

Gsell described the fencing as an effective deterrent against theft for outside storage. It's installed within the boundary of a non-electrified perimeter fence, so anyone who comes into contact with the electric fence would already be trespassing, she said.

She said it is a relatively new use for electric fencing, which she said is most commonly used for containing livestock.

The fence is low-voltage and battery powered, Gsell said.

It issues a pulsating, short-duration shock the lasts a fraction of a second. She described the shock delivered as “memorable,” not enough to harm a person but sufficient that they would not want to touch the fence again.

A person who touches the fence would not be latched to it, but would instead pull away, she said.

The fences are monitored and signal an alarm when the circuit is broken, she said.

Gsell said several municipalities in Pennsylvania allow electric security fencing; Philadelphia had recently updated its laws to allow them, she said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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