Spiked fences are something that can add a little character to the outside of your home -- but Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials say they can also be deadly to a group of Anchorage’s most popular residents.
“Palisade fences kill moose," said Anchorage-based Fish and Game biologist Jessy Coltrane. "(It's) the spikes that they either gut themselves on, or hang up a leg or they catch their hooves in the opening where the spikes are.”
Anchorage Assembly member Jennifer Johnston wants to help prevent that from happening in the future. On Tuesday, she’ll be introducing an ordinance that would regulate metal fences.
“As most of us know, moose are more likely to be killed on the roads than by these fences, but it was something I saw that we could do something about,” Johnston said.
The Atwood Mansion and Estates, as well as Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, prominently feature spiked fences. In years past, both locations have been the site of multiple moose impalements -- but both have since been fixed, by adding flat bars across the top or capping the spikes to make them moose-proof.
If passed, Johnston’s ordinance could follow that lead. She says older fences haven't been covered by law, while taller designs don't threaten moose.
“All the fences that are currently there are grandfathered in, so they don’t have to fix it,” said Johnston. “It’s getting it above nine feet; it’s the four to six feet where you have your problems.”
Coltrane said a moose is impaled at least once or twice a year on palisade fences.
“I know where every single palisade fence is in this town, because at one time or another I’ve either removed a dead moose or shot a live moose off of the fence,” Coltrane said. “When it happens, it’s usually a pretty gruesome event.”
The ordinance will be introduced at Tuesday night’s Assembly meeting. A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Aug. 5.