New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape!

Posted by: Anonymous

New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/11/08 05:14 PM

Does anyone know the name and/or contact information for a federal or state entity that deals with city governments who practice "selective" or "arbitrary" enforcement regarding poultry or other animals???

My City allows 10 chickens, which must be contained 24x7 (no free ranging, even in your own back yard). I thought I had done the right thing; however, in my efforts to make the best home for my hens (no roosters) after obtaining written permission from my surrounding neighbors, I overlooked an important item which states that the housing must be 20' from the property line. Mine is only 10' (and is not movable). The City said they would overlook the placement as long as no one complained.

I had 10 lovely quiet hens until two weeks ago when I was forced to give them up because of a hateful neighbor (two doors away who lives with his sister and brother-in-law)who started complaining that my hens were too noisy. The City found that they weren't too noisy and dismissed the first citation. Then he started complaining that my hen house was 10' too close to the property line (after he "self-educated" himself about the municipal code. This is a 54 year old man who hasn't had a job in 20 years, smokes pot and is emotionally disturbed. This neighbor started trouble six months ago, moved to another neighborhood last December, but made a point of harassing me even after he moved. During the time of trouble, he harassed me, he tried to extort money from me so that I could keep my chickens (according to him) and threatened me. I finally had to get a restraining order.

While the City was willing to overlook the 10' barring a complaint, they chose to enforce their municipal code because of the one bad neighbor who no longer lives in the neighborhood (but might move back at the end of the year).

Three blocks away from me in the same neighborhood there are hens running around loose and no one seems to mind them. They've been there for nine months.

I need help finding the organization that can help me deal with the City's bad behavior.

A chicken loving co-worker recommended this site and said the professionals would know what to do in a case like this.

Thanks!
Posted by: J. Meyer

Re: New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/11/08 07:46 PM

In my opinion, you need one of two things: Either a hit man, or a lawyer. Either one will cost about the same, but one will get you a permanent solution.

Seriously, I think that a lawyer might be able to make a case if there are hens running loose three blocks away, and the city hasn't done anything about them. Good luck!
Posted by: Joachim Dippold

Re: New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/11/08 09:30 PM

Good Morning Folks,

hehehe, "Either one will cost about the same"???LOL! Lawyers are WAY more expensive...

Peace!;-)

Joachim
Posted by: Foehn

Re: New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/12/08 01:36 AM

If the neighbour who complained is two doors away, and the neighbour who shares the "10ft boundary with you did not, coupled with the written permissions and the council's own initial waiver, seems to me you have strong evidence in your favour. When you stack this up against a poor neighbour who threatens you and then tries to extort money from you, I wonder if you should infact establish a baseline or historical incident report with the local law enforcement. I did this on my lawyers recommendation following threats to me from a neighbour we were having trouble with. Historical evidence helps to build you a strong case in the event that further incidents should arise. There ought to be a process for revue with any decision made by your local council, but I can only speak from our democratic process here. Do you have such a community group as Citizens Advice Bureau? If you do, then they usually have a lawyer on board who will give you some advice for free. You would need to take all the written evidence you have with you, and if you recorded the extortion and threats (as you may have done for the restraining order) take those too. It adds weight against the charactor of the neighbour who complained.

I hope you do get some justice here. I'm sure we have members of this forum who will be knowlegeable about city ordinances.
All the best.
Posted by: C. G. McCary

Re: New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/12/08 04:02 AM

I'm a lawyer but am in Alabama. Each city's ordinance is going to have its own unique characteristics. There are several ways to combat this sort of thing but always specific to your locality. If you will private me your phone munber, I'll give you a call & we can talk-- and I'll talk to you for free! [Private me by clicking the icon in top of my post in the middle-- the one with the postal envelope & two people].

You don't say what State you are located. I can give you general advice to maybe point you in some directions & perhaps give you some ideas--other than Alabama, I have only handled a case in South Dakota, a few that took me to California, Florida & Mississippi.

Chris
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/12/08 04:45 PM

Thank you, Chris. I have sent you a PM.

I have an appointment this Friday morning with the Police Captain in charge of Animal Control. My hope is to get someone motivated to update the 33 year old municipal code with something more reasonable. I will take all the help I can get.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/12/08 04:51 PM

P.S...... to all of you.... boy don't you think for one minute that thoughts of my lovely shotgun didn't run through my head about this guy. But that would only mean that *I* would be the one in jail. While I believe this guy deserves just that, he's a feckless piece of dirt and not worth my time. Some people have nothing better to do than to make trouble for others who have what they wish they had.
Posted by: J. Meyer

Re: New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/12/08 09:36 PM

Hey! Good luck, and be sure to keep us informed.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/15/08 09:09 AM

The meeting with the PD was not what I had hoped. Naturally, the PD only enforces the code which the City Council approves. So, his best recommendation was to contact the individual City Council members and meet with them one on one. I called four members yesterday, had to leave message and got no returns. Same old circle it appears.
Posted by: C. G. McCary

Re: New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/15/08 09:20 AM

hmmmm, sorry to hear this news . . . sounds all too familiar . . . take some neighbors with you to the council meeting . . . if that doesn't work, maybe you should run for city council. That will get their attention.
Posted by: Uno

Re: New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/16/08 08:36 PM

Going out on a limb...but if this guy is not a registered home owner, the property that he stays at is not in his name...is he even eligible to make a complaint? If the actual people who own that property do not complain, who is he? Does he count? You should clarify exactly who is defined as a neighbour or resident, and I am sure overnight guests do NOT count, no matter how long they overnight. If he is a guest, then I don't think he should have any input. If he is a renter...see below.

Perhaps you should ask the owners of the house if their insurance company is aware that they are renting a room in their home, in effect running a boarding house when they are insured as a private residence. I don't know about in the US but here insurance companies have more power than God. mad Perhaps if the owner's insurance goes up, their mooching relative will become more hassle than he's worth. And they'll throw him out.

My heart goes out to you. Good luck.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: New Member Needs Help with Government Red Tape! - 03/18/08 05:27 PM

Hello all,

Thank you for your kind responses. The man who is causing the problems "lives with" his sister. I'm guessing he pays some type of rent when there and some type of contribution from his disability check. He moved out temporarily last December while the back end of the house they inherited with the father died gets a face lift. The evil one will move back in when the work is finished. Then the sister and brother in law will move to Hawaii and leave the bad boy in their house to live. The whole family is very dysfunctional. The sister and her husband recently inherited their 9 month old grandchild because the baby was being neglected and abused by the young parents who don't have a clue as how to care for an infant/child. I have never seen the sister touch or hold the baby, but I see her husband (grandfather by marriage) holding him all the time. Crazy weird family. The brother in law came to my house yesterday to tell me that he had rented out the house next door to me. Apparently the family has a handicapped daughter who cannot communicate and must be led around by an adult. He wanted to make sure I understood that she screams.....any time, day or night. I guess he didn't want me to call the police thinking someone was being hurt. Or was he just trying to make sure that he continues to torture me? Don't know.

This past weekend, while I was standing at my front door gazing at the beautiful weather we were having, the evil one drove slowly past my house gawking as he drove by. Since this was in clear violation of the restraining order for which he has no respect, I called the police. He now has a court date to tell the judge all about it some time in April. His brother in law doesn't care that the evil one is breaking the law by coming to his house (2 houses from mine). And these are very visibly devout religious people who eat, breathe and sleep the JW religion. I just don't understand how they could act, or not act, in this manner against their neighbors. confused Even the Golden Rule has great value and reward to most normal people. This is way more info than you want to know. Guess I needed to get it outta me. Thanks for listening.

I had an encouraging phone call back from one of my city council members this evening. He is very interested in talking to me regarding my chickens and the municipal code. After I gave him a very brief description of what I would like to share with him, he said, "don't you just hate it when you have crappy neighbors!" At least it's a glimmer of hope. And even more impressive that he called me from his hospital bed where he was being treated for cancer and he asked to meet with me.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.