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Help with Curmudgeonly Labor and Board of Health

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by SmahtFahm, May 29, 2010.

  1. SmahtFahm

    SmahtFahm In the Brooder

    Nov 30, 2009
    North Central, MA
    Hi all! Long story short--got chickens a year ago, we're on 2.5 acres, surveyed our immediate neighbors and all were fine with chickens. Built a coop and moved the girls in, all 25 of them. A few months later, our next door neighbor calls and apologizes for asking, but says the chickens are sometimes in her yard and she saw poop once. We apologized profusely and put up a fence where we thought the chickens were getting in her yard (we own all three sides of her property, stupid property lines). It seemed to help and there were no further calls, we never saw the chickens in the yard again...until a knock on the door a few months later from the Board of Health. Cranky neighbor called the BOH and complained. [​IMG]

    The BOH guy apologized, seemed bashful that he was there (this is an ag friendly town), and suggested maybe just extend the fence on that one side all the way down to the road (150 ft.). He said he'd call if he got any more complaints. I extended the fence that afternoon, end of problem. I also called over to my neighbor, reminded her that we've always been good neighbors to her and asked why she did not simply give us the courtesy of a phonecall? She got upset and started yelling, saying that the fence hadn't helped and that we knew the chickens were still getting in and yet we did nothing. A) We have 2.5 acres, she has a half acre, and our hens hang out in predictable places, visible to us, so how were we supposed to know that a FEW hens were OCCASIONALLY wandering onto her property (even though they used to feed them and call them over), idiots? B) I have 3 kids and have better things to do than stare at her property, a quick glance going in and out never showed any chickens, but she's nosy and has nothing better to do than stare at us.

    My husband and I decided to call a surveyor to have them stake the property lines on all 3 sides of her so that we could put up a proper fence (high enough to keep the hens out AND protect us from her prying eyes). The surveyor came out and said it was difficult because the property lines were not easily accessible because she'd been throwing wood debris and trash on our property for years, and her well is on our property (surprise!). I called and communicated this all to our neighbor and told her we'd put up a fence on the remaining two sides, that we needed her to clear her debris from our property lines and then we could move forward. I told her 3 times, but she avoided answering each time, and just kept trying to dictate the type of fence she wanted us to put up (something nice on the sides, nothing fancy in back). She grew irate when I told her that it would be a chicken fence, nothing fancy. She hung up.

    She never cleared her debris, it's been several months. All was fine...until we received a BOH letter this weekend issuing a Public Nuisance, stating that they inspected her property a month and a half ago, discovered chicken poop, which is a public health nuisance and ordered us to restrain our chickens or they'd order us to get rid of them. Soooo....we marched out that afternoon, put up LOVELY orange safety netting all around her property, blew through her wood debris piles with a chainsaw and waded through their trash (we now have rashes on our arms, god knows what's in the bags) to access our property lines. She's built herself a fenced in garden, well over half on our property and her well is there, so we can't really built a proper fence because she's got stuff there. Additionally, I have fencing on order (it's been backordered for 2 months) to pen the chickens in on our property (to save my gardens for the summer months from hungry chickens). We sent a letter back to the BOH detailing all this, but she's a problem, very passive aggressive. She's made comments more than once about how we don't give her eggs (she's very entitled, thinks people should just give her stuff, but she never gives back). [​IMG]:he Anyone with similar issues? Resolutions? Resources?

  2. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    You can lose your property by adverse possession if you let her keep using it. In most places it becomes legally hers after five years. ordinances/laws vary, but you better watch out! I'd be putting up a fence and claiming her well was mine if I was you.
  3. Did she not have to have the site surveyed before digging a well? Seems if you have to just to put up a fence, something that can easily be removed if there's a mistake, then something as long term as a well would require a survey as well. If one is required and she didn't get one then she's in violation, and you could maybe tag her for destroying your property. If she did get one, found it was on your property and built anyways then she's in it as well.

    Check with the survey folks... that might be your ticket to freedom!!
  4. vatterpa

    vatterpa Songster

    May 4, 2010
    Indiana, PA
    [​IMG] OMG!! what a rude person, unfortunately there are a ton of them out there. I agree that you should defintley stake your claim. BTW I LOVE the orange fencing! HEHEE:celebrate
  5. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Chirping

    Mar 17, 2010
    In Ohio you would be able to cut off her access to your well, and charge her for the water she stole. Have you tried contacting the same board of health and complaining about her trash?
  6. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Definitely put up the fence on the property line. Ignore the garden and well; it's not your problem that she built them on your property. Adverse possession laws vary from state to state, but it is a real concern you need to address--especiallt since she has placed her well and part of her garden on your property.

    And yess, call the health dept to complain about her trash--mention the rash y'all got.
  7. vatterpa

    vatterpa Songster

    May 4, 2010
    Indiana, PA
    I'd call that kinda trash a public nuisance! [​IMG]

  8. LittleFeat

    LittleFeat Songster

    Jul 14, 2009
    My resolution...I would dumb all her garbage back over the property line onto her property, clear out enough to get good access to locate the property line right through her garden, check with local laws about location of fencing (can it be directly on property lines or does it need a setback?), check local laws about well access/location and tell her it will be disconnected in 30 days (if that is a legal option). Take back your property. Don't be nice about it, after all she started it all and SHE wasn't nice. Tell her you are going to do EXACTLY what she requested....FENCE YOUR PROPERTY SO YOUR CHICKENS WILL NO LONGER HAVE ACCESS TO HERS. That's what she wanted....that's EXACTLY what she's getting! How can she even argue that. As to the well, that would be an issue only if you can legally do anything about it. Does she have to have access to it as in does it have a pump/wellhouse or is it just the physical well itself? If she needs no access then I guess you could decide whether you wanted to take it to extremes and have her remove it. I am all for working things out in a civil way with people but when they start acting like she has been, then that's it... [​IMG]
  9. theFox

    theFox Songster

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Quote:More like a possible super fund cleanup site, call in the EPA and your state's DEP, that'll keep the neighbor tied up in knots for a long time ;-).
  10. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Absolutely do not involve your state DEP or the EPA. It doesn't matter if it's her trash because it's YOUR property and it will be YOUR problem.

    The garden is not a problem. That is ephemeral and she can relocate it. The well is. Given the time, effort, and expense you've already invested in this mess I'd consult with a local real-estate attorney (first consultations are often free) to see what your best legal maneuver is going to be about fencing and her well. You've got a lasting enemy on your hands so you need to be very careful not to make a misstep that she can take advantage of.

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