Title:
Fence system for containing pets
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lightweight fence and gate for containing pets including a plurality of poles and a mesh fabric tensioned between the plurality of poles. The mesh fabric is attached to each pole by screws, and a flexible fabric border may cover and be attached to edges of the mesh fabric The mesh fabric is made from metal and the fabric border may be made from vinyl.



Inventors:
Sadinsky, Steven E. (Van Nuys, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/486541
Publication Date:
01/17/2008
Filing Date:
07/14/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H17/16
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KENNEDY, JOSHUA T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP (Glendale, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A lightweight fence and gate for containing pets comprising: a flexible mesh fabric tensioned between a plurality of poles of the lightweight fence and gate for containing pets, the flexible mesh fabric being attached to each pole by screws such that an edge of the flexible mesh fabric is substantially parallel to the pole; and a flexible fabric border covering and attached to edges of the mesh fabric; wherein the flexible mesh fabric is made from metal; and wherein the flexible mesh fabric is patterned to prevent footholds and jaw access which could be used by an animal to penetrate the fence.

2. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 1, wherein the flexible fabric border is made from vinyl.

3. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 1, wherein the flexible fabric border is stitched to the flexible mesh fabric.

4. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 3, wherein the flexible fabric border is stitched to the flexible mesh fabric using a double needle walking foot machine.

5. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 1, wherein the flexible mesh fabric is made from aluminum.

6. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 1, wherein each pole is insertable into a socket, the socket being inserted into a hole.

7. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 1, wherein the flexible mesh fabric is attached to the poles by a plurality of screws.

8. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 1, wherein a molding is located along a length of each pole; wherein the flexible mesh fabric is located between the aluminum molding and the pole; and wherein the molding and flexible mesh fabric are attached to the poles by a plurality of screws.

9. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 8, wherein the molding is made from aluminum.

10. A method for installing a lightweight fence and gate for containing pets, the lightweight fence and gate including a plurality of poles, a metal mesh fabric tensioned between the plurality of poles, the mesh fabric being attached to each pole by screws, and a flexible fabric border covering and attached to edges of the mesh fabric, the method comprising: locating a plurality of predrilled holes on a surface; inserting a socket into each predrilled hole; sequentially inserting a pole into each socket.

11. A lightweight fence and gate for containing pets comprising: a flexible mesh fabric tensioned between a plurality of poles of the lightweight fence and gate for containing pets; wherein the flexible mesh fabric is attached to each pole along a length of the pole such that an edge of the flexible mesh fabric is substantially parallel to the pole; wherein the flexible mesh fabric is made from metal; and wherein the flexible mesh fabric may be rolled and unrolled repeatedly without substantial lasting deformities.

12. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 11, further comprising a flexible fabric border covering and attached to edges of the flexible mesh fabric.

13. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 11, wherein the flexible mesh fabric has fused edges absent sharp points.

14. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 11, further comprising a molding attached to each pole, the molding extending along a length of each pole and covering the flexible mesh fabric.

15. The lightweight fence and gate of claim 11, each pole further comprising an insert and a pin attached to the insert such that the pin protrudes from the pole.

16. A lightweight fence and gate for containing pets comprising: a flexible mesh fabric tensioned between a plurality of poles of the lightweight fence and gate for containing pets; and a molding attached to each pole, the molding extending along a length of each pole and covering the flexible mesh fabric; wherein the flexible mesh fabric is made from metal; wherein the flexible mesh fabric has fused edges absent sharp points; and wherein the flexible mesh fabric is patterned to prevent footholds and jaw access which could be used by an animal to penetrate the fence.

17. The lightweight fence of claim 16, wherein the flexible mesh fabric and the molding are attached to the plurality of poles by at least one attachment member.

18. The lightweight fence of claim 17, wherein the at least one attachment member is selected from the group consisting of a screw, a rivet, and a nut and bolt.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In recent years, a need has been recognized for a type of temporary fence that is able to contain pets. More specifically, there is a need for a fence that is difficult for a pet to penetrate, is weather resistant, and is removable. Traditional removable fences are typically made from a plastic mesh material that is susceptible to be chewed, scratched, clawed or otherwise compromised by an animal. Such activity by animals may cause the plastic mesh material to tear, allowing an opening in the fence through which an animal may escape or enter the fenced area. On the other hand, fences that are made from more durable materials, such as metal, are not easily removable and storable, thus making them difficult to erect and dismantle.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a fence system that is difficult for a pet to penetrate, is weather resistant, and is easily removable and installable into, for example, a deck.

In one exemplary embodiment, the invention provides for a lightweight fence and gate for containing pets including a mesh fabric tensioned between a plurality of poles, the mesh fabric being attached to each pole by screws. A flexible fabric border covers and is attached to edges of the mesh fabric. The mesh fabric is made from metal, for example, aluminum. The fabric border may made from vinyl and may attached to the mesh fabric by a double needle walking foot machine.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a portion of a fence system of one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a detail of a pole engaged with a metal mesh fabric of the fence system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view illustrating how a fence may be inserted into a deck according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a detail of a plastic insert and a plastic insert cap of one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a side view of a connector in a closed position.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the connector of FIG. 5 in an open position.

FIG. 7 is a side view of two connected fence portions.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a pole containing an insert and a pin.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, an exemplary portion of a fence system 10 of one embodiment of the present invention includes hollow cylindrical poles 12 and a metal mesh fabric 16 tensioned between adjacent poles. The poles 12 may be made from a lightweight, rigid material which can support the fence system 10, and in one exemplary embodiment, the poles are made from aluminum. Referring also to FIG. 8, each pole 12 may include an insert 13 and a pin 14 coupled to the insert, the pin protruding from a first end of the pole. In one exemplary embodiment, the insert 13 is made from plastic and the pin 14 is made from aluminum. The pin 14 is adapted to fit into a hole in the ground to keep the pole 12 upright, as described in more detail below. Referring again to FIG. 1, coupled to a second end of each pole 12 may be a cap 24. The cap 24 serves to cover any sharp edges created by a top end of the pole 12 and to seal the opening of the hollow pole to prevent foreign substances such as debris or water from entering the pole. The caps 24 may be made from, for example, plastic, and the caps may be maintained in the pole by an interference fit.

The mesh fabric 16 is located between adjacent poles 12 of the fence system 10 and is made from a lightweight, rust-resistant metal. In one exemplary embodiment, the mesh fabric 16 has a square pattern measuring ⅛ inch by ⅛ inch. Having such a pattern ensures that the fence does not provide footholds which a pet could use to scale the fence. Additionally, the small square pattern reduces the likelihood that a pet will be able to chew through the mesh fabric 16. The metal used for the mesh fabric may be, for example, aluminum, but any other lightweight, rust-resistant metal may also be used. The pattern of the fence need not be ⅛ inch squares, but rather any pattern that does not provide footholds or jaw access which could be used by an animal to penetrate the fence. Moreover, the material tensioned between the poles 12 of the fence and the pattern of such material should allow the fence portions to be rolled up for easy storage and unrolled without any obvious lasting deformities.

The mesh fabric 16 may have a vinyl border 20 running along each edge of the fabric. The border 20 serves to cover the sharp edges of the mesh fabric 16 to prevent the edges from causing injury to a person or an animal and also to prevent the edges of the fabric from fraying or otherwise becoming compromised. The border 20 may be created by folding a piece of vinyl over a length of the edge of the mesh fabric 16 and then flat stitching the vinyl using, for example, a double needle walking foot machine. The double needle walking foot machine provides two rows of stitching 22 to secure the vinyl border 20 around the mesh fabric 16. The border 20 may also be made from any other flexible material which prevents the edges of the mesh fabric from piercing the border and may be coupled to the mesh fabric by any means sufficient to keep the border attached to the fabric. In an alternate embodiment, the edges of the mesh fabric 16 may be fused, such as by welding, to form an edge without sharp points. Additionally, any other methods that prevent edges of the mesh fabric from having sharp points that may cause injury are contemplated, such as, for example, fusing the edges of the mesh fabric by melting the sharp points together.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the mesh fabric 16 is attached to the poles 12 using screws 26. Before the screws 26 are inserted, a molding 18 may be inserted along a length of the pole 12 and over the mesh fabric 16. The molding 18 provides extra support for the attachment of the mesh fabric and prevents the mesh fabric from separating from the pole even when the mesh fabric is subjected to high stress. The molding 18 may be concave to match the curvature of the pole 16 and may have rounded edges to reduce the likelihood of injuries resulting from the molding. The molding may be made from, for example, aluminum, but may also be made from any other lightweight, rust-resistant metal or plastic.

In one exemplary embodiment, fourteen screws are used to attach the mesh fabric 16 to a pole 12. As shown in FIG. 1 and in more detail in FIG. 2, three screws are inserted near either end of the aluminum molding 18: one approximately in the center of the vinyl border 20, and one equally spaced from the center screw on either side of the vinyl border. Eight screws 26 are evenly spaced between each edge of the mesh fabric along the length of the aluminum molding 18. Clearly, any number or arrangement of screws 26 may be used to sufficiently attached the mesh fabric 16 to the poles 12 and the number or arrangement of screws is not limited to the example described above. In addition, other attachment means such as, for example, rivets or nuts and bolts, may also be used to attach the mesh fabric 16 to a pole 12.

As noted above, the fence system 10 of the present invention is adapted to fit into holes 34 drilled into the ground 36 or a deck as shown in FIG. 3. More specifically, a socket 28 adapted to receive the pin 14 or lower pole end may be inserted into the hole 34 in the deck 36. The socket 28 includes a generally hollow cylindrical body 30 and a flange 32 at one end of the body. The flange 32 serves to limit the extent to which the socket 28 may be inserted into the hole 34 and also to allow easy removal of the socket from the hole. The socket 28 has a channel 40 into which the pin 14 or lower pole end is inserted and a base 33 on which the pin rests. The socket base 33 has a drainage hole 38 which allows water and debris to drain from the socket 28 to prevent the socket from becoming clogged. In one exemplary embodiment, the socket 28 is made from a rigid plastic such as high density polyethylene (HDPE).

As shown in FIG. 3, the fence system may be installed as follows. First, holes 34 are drilled into the desired location of the fence system, for example, a deck. A socket 28 is then placed into the holes 34 drilled into the deck. Once the sockets 28 have been installed, the pins 14 or the lower end of the fence poles 12 are sequentially inserted into the sockets, unwinding the tensioned mesh fabric 16 as the poles are inserted. Inserting the poles 12 into the sockets 28 allows the poles to stand erect and establish a fence system 10 around a desired area.

When the fence 10 is temporarily not being used, but the sockets 28 are left in the pool deck holes 34, a cap 42 (FIG. 4) adapted to fit into and cover the channel 40 of the socket 28 may be placed on the socket. The cap 42 prevents debris from accumulating in the socket 28 when the fence system 10 is not installed. The cap 42 may be made from, for example, plastic or rubber, and the cap may be secured to the socket 28 by an interference fit.

Sections of the fence, including a gate section, may be attached together by a connector 44 to form a fence system 10. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the connector 44 includes a body 46 coupled to a sleeve 48. The body 46 includes a loop 58 to which a first screw 54 is attached and a closing section 52 which is substantially V-shaped. The sleeve 48 is generally cylindrical having a pair of eyelets 60 located at one end. The eyelets 60 are adapted to receive a locking device 62 (FIG. 7) which can be inserted into the eyelets to prevent the connector from being moved to an open position, as is described in more detail below. The cylindrical portion of the sleeve 48 has a “cut away” portion, allowing the closing section 52 of the body 46 to protrude from the sleeve creating a locking region when the body is coupled to the sleeve. A second screw 56 may be coupled to the body 46 and maintained in the locking region. The protrusion of the closing section 52 from the sleeve 48 also prevents the body 46 and the sleeve from separating. A spring 50 inserted over the body 46 biases the sleeve 48 against the closing section 52.

The connector 44 has a closed position, as shown in FIG. 5, and an open position, as shown in FIG. 6. In the closed position, a screw, for example, may be housed in the closing region 5 created by the closing section 52 and the sleeve 48, the closing region being maintained by the spring 50 biasing the sleeve against the body 46. In the open position, the spring 50 is compressed by moving the sleeve 48 towards the loop 58 such that the sleeve no longer prevents an object from sliding freely along the body 46. In the open position, the second screw 56 can be disengaged from the connector 44.

As shown in FIG. 7, the first and second screws 54, 56 of the connector 44 may be coupled to poles 12 of adjacent fence portions to form a continuous fence system. The connector 44 may also be used in combination with a lock 62 to form a gate in the fence which may be opened to gain access to the fenced area and locked to prevent entry into the fence area. Alternatively, the first screw 54 may be connected to a pole 12 and the second screw 56 may be connected to an adjacent structure, such as a building. Attaching the connector 44 to a structure allows a fence system to be a complete circuit, and thereby tension is maintained in the fence. To disassemble the fence system, the connector 44 is transferred from the closed position to the open position, allowing the second screw 56 to be disengaged from the connector.

Although exemplary embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various modifications may be made to these embodiments without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the claims and their equivalents.





 
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