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Neighbor's dog killed my chickens. City ordinance issue??

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by kathrync, Nov 28, 2016.

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  1. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    My neighbor's wolf hybrid dog killed my entire flock last week, and they refuse to reimburse me for the damages. They claim that because my chickens were kept too close to my house (according to the local city animal code) that they are not liable because I shouldn't have had chickens in the first place.

    Now, I understand that my chickens were technically illegal in terms of city code enforcement, but it seems that the local animal control doesn't really care about these matters. We live in a small town surrounded by farmland, and many folks here own backyard chickens that are technically illegal in terms of distance from dwellings. It seems as long as the chickens aren't a noise/smell nuisance, nobody cares whether we own them or not.

    So, my question is, is a county superior court judge going to care whether or not my chickens were not in compliance with city code? Is the owner still liable for damages in this instance?

    My plan is to send a demand letter to the neighbor first, just to see if they will get scared and pay up.
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    I would think it is worth pursuing. Despite your chickens not being technically legal does not absolve your neighbors of responsibility. They are still YOUR property. That would be akin to saying if you were parked in front of a traffic meter and you let the time expire and someone sideswiped your parked car, that they wouldn't be liable because you were illegally parked. You'd be on the hook for the expired meter but they'd be responsible for bashing your car. You may have to pay a fine or move the housing of future birds, but it sure seems your neighbors with their dog running loose (isn't that illegal?) have full culpability in the killing of the chickens. Just my two cents. Hope it works out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    A severe and heartfelt warning:
    You have a wolf hybrid next door? Then you have a bigger problem than just dead chickens. As an experienced and successful dog breeder of 15 years and an avid student of the canine mind... that dog is neither dog nor wolf. Mentally it is split between the to and can never be fully either one. It is worse if the dog is contained and then gets out. It doesn't matter what the neighbors think. Wolf Hybrids are mentally unstable. My guess is this was a thrill killing and none of the birds were eaten? Sigh. My collies were specially bred for deep intuition and agile mentality. When I retired the kennel in 2009 they were successful in their other owner's hand in 13 different performance venues. I know and have studied extensively what I am writing. Check and see if they are even allowed to have a wolf hybrid. It is ( and should be) illegal in many areas. At the least, animal control should get an anonymous tip there is a wolf hybrid at that address. It is a public safety concern. Wolves attack small helpless fluttering, quickly moving things. Like chickens and small children. This animal is neither wolf nor dog but and unstable mix of the two. Be careful if you have small children and never, ever let them near that hybrid.
    Warm Regards,
    Karen
    Bellwether Collies (retired)
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  4. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    California Dog Laws :
    https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ca-dogs-consolidated-dog-laws

    § 3341. Liability of owner, possessor, or harborer of animal killing or injuring other animals; scienter;
    right to kill animal found committing injury; accidental killing or injury
    https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ca-dogs-consolidated-dog-laws#s3341

    https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ca-dogs-consolidated-dog-laws#s31102
    § 31102. Conditions involving livestock or poultry that permit the killing of a dog AND
    § 31103. Seizure or killing dog entering place where livestock or poultry confined AND
    § 31104. Restrictions on killing dog in city

    I see you live in the central valley of California. Lovely place. Here are State Dog
    Regulations for California. Print out the ones that pertain and take to animal
    control to make sure they are still in full force. Then act on them if need be.


    Best,
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    More CA dog laws:

    § 31151. Applicability of article
    § 31152. Killing dog worrying, etc., livestock or poultry; restrictions
    § 31153. Seizure of dog entering place where livestock or poultry confined
    Food and Agricultural Code (Formerly Agricultural Code). Division 14.
    Regulation and Licensing of Dogs. Chapter 7. Violations.
    § 31401. Offense; punishment
    § 31402. Violation resulting in death or serious injury to livestock or poultry; punishment
    Food and Agricultural Code (Formerly Agricultural Code). Division 14. Regulation and Licensing of Dogs. Chapter 8. Civil Liability.
    § 31501. Double damages

    They are wrong and they know it.
     
  6. pattyhen

    pattyhen Chicks Ducks oh my

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    I'm so sorry this happened to your chickens. I wish you luck on pursueing this in court I think you have a good case.
     
  7. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks Karen. I've already looked into all of those CA codes. There's only two ways that Animal Control will take the dog away; 1) According to AC: if the dog attacks or exhibits any aggressive behavior within the next 12 months it will be declared "vicious", or 2) if I take the owners to civil court and pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to sue. Unfortunately, I cannot afford that kind of legal expense. :(

    It is really disappointing that AC in our town doesn't take wolf-hybrids more seriously. But yeah, I will definitely take matters into my own hands if that dog sets foot on my property while I'm at home.
     
  8. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Great ( not!)... all these great codes and so tough to take action, sigh.
    What frustration!
    Karen
     
  9. chicken123man

    chicken123man New Egg

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    So when this happened did you call animal control or did you talk with them frist.if you called animal control they my be mad about that.did you make sure the fence was secure no lose board's I would check.are you keeping these chickens legal within ordinance. If not you might think of a new hobby or they can call animal control on you and you'll have to get rid of your new chickens and pay a hefty fine.you might want to talk with them and come to a acceptable agreement. If you take them to court you could lose everything. As in money and your hobby.is it worth all the headaches. I think not.
     
  10. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    yes, we called animal control, but they don't work weekends, so the police came out and took a report. They witnessed the dog eating my hens. The dog dug underneath the fence. My chickens were kept too close to the house (law says must be at least 50 ft. away) but I'm sure the dog would have broken into my yard regardless of how far away the chickens were. I think my chicken hobby is done, because these neighbors will just report me to the city to take revenge. :( But, I am going to call the dept of fish and game to see if they can get the dog tested for wolf genetics. The neighbor is trying to claim that the dog isn't part wolf, but I think she's lying.
     
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