Neighbors concerned for wildlife being impaled while hopping fences in south Charlotte

CHARLOTTE — Some neighbors in south Charlotte are upset with their homeowner’s association after spiked fences were installed because they say they’re causing harm to wildlife in the area.

Channel 9 reporter Almiya White spoke with residents about one incident over the weekend that raised alarms.

Sue Dickenson and Carol Turnbaugh said that they were walking through their neighborhood when they came across a deer hanging from a spiked fence.

“We started hearing this loud noise and we knew it couldn’t be good. And then we started hearing the howling and the pain this deer was in,” Dickenson told Channel 9.

Dickenson and Turnbaugh said the deer was impaled on a spiked fence.

“They’re just jumping over like they normally do and they’re getting snagged on the spears,” Turnbaugh said. “And if it doesn’t kill them instantly, they suffer, like the one did the other morning.”

“It’s something I didn’t want to ever see again, that’s for sure,” Dickenson said.

“Our worst nightmare happened,” Turnbaugh said.

The women said this has been an ongoing issue, so they decided to post about it on the Nextdoor app, where other residents also voiced their concerns.

“We’ve complained and asked and pleaded,” Turnbaugh said.

Dickenson and Turnbaugh said they took their concerns to the HOA. The association responded that the fence is a standard design, installed by the developer, and meets all codes.

In a statement, the HOA said removing the spikes would require replacing the entire fence at a significant expense to the homeowners. The association said that even if the fence were replaced, there’s no guarantee that wildlife won’t injure themselves while attempting to run through or jump over it.

“While we are saddened by the death of the wildlife, the fence is a standard aluminum retail design installed by the developer along a public street and sidewalk. The fence meets all current building codes and zoning ordinances. Removing the spikes would require replacing the entire fence at significant expense to the homeowners, and will take approval of a special assessment by a majority of homeowners to cover the expense. Even if the fence was replaced, there is no guarantee that wildlife will not attempt to run through or jump over it, resulting in severe injury or death to the animal. There is nothing the HOA could reasonably do to prevent this from occurring again in the future,” Derek Greene, president of the homeowners association, said.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department commented on the issue, saying the spikes on the fence are not the reason for the impalement of wildlife.

“Honestly, it’s not the spikes. The main issue is the two cross beams at the top,” said Bryan Harkey with CMPD Animal Control. “A deer tucks its legs when it jumps over objects but the hoof goes right in between the two upper supports, which leads to the impalement. From my understanding, the purpose of the two upper supports is to keep it from whistling when the wind blows through the fence.”

Dickenson and Turnbaugh said they still hold out hope that something will change.

“We’re just hoping there is someone with a heart who will get together and just know they don’t want animals suffering,” Dickenson said.

(WATCH BELOW: Deer dilemma: SC city dealing with debate over intrusive neighbors)

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV