Police in Elysian Fields, Texas are dealing with a relatively rare form of alleged tort and crime. Marcos Gonzalez is accused of causing the death of six-year-old Ceira Clark by electrifying his fence with 20 amps. Clark lives next door and fell on the fence on the day after Christmas.
Her mother, Brenda Slack, says that she tried to revive her but that the shock was too great on the child.
Police captain Marty Latham did not appear to object to an electric fence in a residential area, but did object to the voltage: “It wasn’t a typical electrical fence that would be powered down. It was running straight through a 110 outlet and there was a lot of amps running through it. People with common sense would put it maybe on a 5… but 20 amps, that’s enough to power half of a house. She didn’t have time to scream for help, close her eyes, nothing.”
It does not appear to be a crime in Texas to have electric fences in residential areas. It should be. In the meantime, the family should sue Gonzalez. The common law has long prohibited the use of devices that can cause serious bodily injury or death in the protection of property. These spring gun or man-trap cases are based on both the immorality of the act as well as the inherent danger to police, fire-fighters and citizens from these devices.
Such cases often involve people who put the voltage too high or fail to add a regulator that pulsates the voltage as in the death of an elderly woman in New York who died trying to free her pet, here.
In the most bizarre instance, a man was injured when on this video he was captured urinating on a fence that he did not realize was electric.
The police are exploring a criminal negligence charge for Gonzalez.
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