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Police want to seach our house! Fine us thousands of dollars! Conducted an illegal search thru windo

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by Meara, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Meara

    Meara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is the latest development in a long long story. The city police are pressuring us and using scare tactics to get us to let them search our home for chickens! Note - my chicken coop is located on a different property because ours is just a couple feet shy of being large enough to legally house the birds on.

    However, I recently had a sick bird in the house who has since died. Poor thing. She had something wrong internally and slowly wasted away despite all my efforts to save her. I also had a batch of chicks who had hatched out and I kept inside in their brooder until they were old enough to move outside to the coop. So yes, I did indeed have chicks and a chicken in my house. But how would the police know this?! Well it turns out that the community patrol officer conducted an illegal search by going around and peering through our windows. I don't mean the window in our door or along a walkway, but that she went around the back of our home and left the sidewalk and went around the corner of the house and then climbed through bushes so she could press her nose against our windows.

    This "officer" is in charge of enforcing ordinances for the city like keeping one's grass mowed and one's garbage can area tidy. And she has been gunning for us for years. We aren't really sure why. The only thing we can figure is that she has targeted us because we live in an old (nearly one hundred years) run-down house in a neighborhood of nice upscale homes. It is the oldest home in this part of the city. We bought it only 6 years ago and right before the housing market crashed. Our intention was to fix it up, but then everything changed financially and so here the old house sits just slowly falling apart around us. We really should just give it back to the bank, but our payments are current. However it is now so "upside down" that there is no chance to refinance and it's turned into a money pit:( It's worth a third less now than what we paid for it.

    Anyhow, the community officer stalks our house. She is here weekly and walks around our property and if anything is out of line cites us for it. For example, we leave an item in the driveway up by the garage and we are cited for illegal dumping. We have to be careful to always put all garden tools away and never ever leave ANYTHING outside, not even a piece of wood or a bird feeder.

    Anyway, I am getting off track.... The police contend that they know we are harboring chickens in our home and that if we don't allow a complete search of our home we will be found "guilty" in a municipal hearing and fined thousands of dollars. Locally, the municipality holds hearings with a hearing officer who is a lawyer, but not a judge. Nobody is sworn in. The hearing officer is free to set the fine at any level he deems appropriate as long as it does not exceed a maximum dollar amount per citation. The police do not have to submit any physical proof or follow court procedure because it is not a court.

    We already had an initial hearing and that hearing officer heard our testimony and then DISMISSED the entire case but ordered us to return one more time for a follow-up. When we reappeared for the follow-up a few weeks later it was a different hearing officer and HE REVERSED EVERYTHING THE FIRST HEARING OFFICER DECIDED WITHOUT HEARING ANY OF OUR TESTIMONY! We are beside ourselves. I had no idea things like this went on in the USA. None of it even makes any sense. We can't even argue that an illegal search was conducted because according to the police and the hearing officer they are not bound by those laws in a municipal hearing! But that's the 4th Amendment!

    We read an article in the local paper about the municipal "court" that called it a "kangaroo court". Until we read that article we didn't realize it was not actually a court and the "judge" was not actually a judge. The police call it court and refer to the man as the judge. When we went to the first hearing the room was full of people who had been cited for various offenses. They were almost all poor people. The hearing officer fined them one after the other and ordered them to pay the city. The article we read in the paper states that this is how the city is making money and that this system is quite lucrative.

    This has now dragged on for nearly two months and caused us stress beyond measure. The worst part is that we are now always worried about the officer looking in our windows. I currently have a sick chick with an injured leg that I am "harboring". This all seems crazy to me. You'd think we were running a meth lab the way the cops are treating us! I'm open to advice. Has anyone else gone through anything even close to this?
     
  2. ozzyman778

    ozzyman778 Out Of The Brooder

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    Get in touch with the person who wrote that article see if the paper can help shine some light on the situation. ..we lived in a similar circumstance in a mobile home park. .we eventually surrendered the house and have moved to the UK on military orders and it is much more pleasant here.

    I know the stress of dealing with these types of people. Keep solid records and notes signed amd dated. Perhaps investigate any civil laws pertaining to your right to peacefully enjoy your home without harassment.
     
  3. Triple Willow

    Triple Willow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is such t-total bullcrap that they are getting by with treating you like that! I could not live in the city for reasons such as this. I don't know where you are but go over their head. Contact one of your congressmen or senators or the governor or somebody like the ACLU. Fight back! Report it to the nearest television stations! Keep your place clean so they can't cite you for anything and keep your windows covered. I don't see how they can tresspass on your property...?
     
  4. Triple Willow

    Triple Willow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Purchase a security camera and record the idiots tresspassing on your property! You can get one for around $30-40, maybe cheaper. You could hook up a camcorder.
     
  5. hungnguyen

    hungnguyen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "Contact one of your congressmen or senators or the governor or somebody like the ACLU"

    Agreed, this is the best way to fight back.
     
  6. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    I think I would be seeking legal advice.
     
  7. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They get away with this because they chose their victims. Trying for people who can't afford an extended lawsuit, even if it would end with settlement in their favor. Until people start banding together and making it very expensive for local governments to act this way it will continue.If you have to get a lawyer, make sure that it is put in the proceedings that they are to pay legal fees and damages.
     
  8. Triple Willow

    Triple Willow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Keep a camera handy and every time they drive by your house take a picture of them and let them see you doing it.
     
  9. Meara

    Meara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are really broke right now, but going to go ahead and call a lawyer. I still can not believe this is happening. My bf feels this is the "final straw" and that we should let the house go into foreclosure and rent a house in one of the other nearby areas. Maybe that would be for the best, but I hate to see him make a decision like that because of what this community officer is doing. This woman has anger management issues. She screams at my bf when he is trying to talk to her and he is such a polite guy too. What is someone like that doing serving in a police department?
     
  10. Triple Willow

    Triple Willow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tell your boyfriend not to let that woman cause him to make any bad decisions. Letting the house go into forclosure will haunt him financially for a long time. Offer to sell the house to the city - if they want you out bad enough they will buy it or they will get somebody else to. You need to borrow a camcorder and record every conversation, every time she drives by the house, etc - SERIOUSLY!!! And give her some of her own medicine!!! File a complaint against her and see if you can't shake any skeletons out of HER closet! Mess with her life like she is yours! Go on your city's internet gossip website "Topix" and tell everybody what is going on. But be aware, they will probably attack you too, but at least the word will be out. You should be writing (handwritten on paper) letters to every congressman and senator and the governor of your state. Also call them, every one of them and tell them you need help! I can almost assure you that they will be calling your mayor to ask "What the heck is going on down there!" Make it very public, show the world what idiots they are! They will only win if you let them because if what you say is true, they are wrong. Be aware that MOST all lawyers are in bed together and with the officials of the city where they are located, seriously. They don't want to go up against the city where they do business because it can hurt their business. Watch them like a snake and don't let them talk you into a bad agreement.

    1-be sure you are right
    2- get the camcorder and use it
    3- write the letters immediately and mail them
    4- call all of them immediately and keep calling
    5- file a WRITTEN (on paper) complaint with the mayor of your city and deliver it in person and nicely explain to them that your rights are being trashed and you are not going to take it. Tell them that they can call the idiots off or else you are going to do your very best to sue the city for a chunk of money.
    6-file a whole seperate complaint against the she devil that is making your life a living hell. (hand written/hand delivered to the mayor)
    7- keep a copy of everything
    8- if they don't back off sue them and when all is said and done sell the house for whatever it will bring and go live happily ever after (somewhere else) with the money you got in the settlement.

    FIGHT BACK!!!
     

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