1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Problem w/ Neighbors about our backyard chickens/rooster

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by seven, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. seven

    seven Hatching

    Oct 16, 2009
    It all started back in 2000 when my sister bought me a batch of chickens for my birthday. They were all sexed as hens, but as time past I ended up with two roosters. One was a small Golden Laced Wyandotte and the other was a Road Island Red.

    Well it wasn't long after my rooster started crowing that I got a knock on the door by an agent from the Sacramento Zoning Department. He said that there was a complaint that we had livestock on our property and were in violation of Code section 201-01,02 Illegal keeping of livestock, animals and/or fowl, and had to remove the animals or they would take them. Well I called the Zoning Department to see if there was anything else I could do and they informed me that according to Code Section 310-13,C that it was perfectly legal to own a chicken on my [Parents] property.

    The zoning code stated that our property was an R-D5 Zone that permitted us to own animals, fowl and/or live stock of 75 lbs or less on our property that is at least 10,000 square feet. With my new tid-bit of information I then called the agent that showed up at our door and relayed what I just learned. He looked it up himself, said he would research it further, and get back to me if anything else popped up. Well to make a long story short, we were legal.

    My family and I pretty much assumed which neighbor it was that must have complained, so I wrote a letter to our neighbors, informing them that we had chickens/rooster and were legal to have them and if they had any complaints to call us. They never did.

    It didn't end there. In 2005 we had a deja-vou moment. Another agent from the Sacramento Zoning Department showed up at our door with a complaint from a neighbor. He said that we were illegally keeping of livestock and had to remove them. We then proceeded to inform them that they were wrong and according to Code Section 310-13,C we were legal to have them. They again looked it up, said 'never mind' and left.

    But it didn't stop there. In 2006 KCRA Channel 3 News "Problem Solver" showed up at my parents door (by now I have moved out, but still own the chickens). They wanted an interview from my parents about the "neighbor dispute that has lasted for 6 years". My parents declined. I wish I was there when they came over as I would have loved to tell them that the neighbors have never once called us or approached us in person to complain about the rooster. Not once. Apparently, the neighbors feeling that the zoning department wasn't solving their issue they called Channel 3 to make things happen. So, Channel 3 investigated and turned up all the times that the ZD came to our door and issued violation notices and our contesting saying we were legal. Well all and all their final verdict was that we were 100% LEGAL and could not do anything about it. Channel 3 left patting themselves on the back 'solving another case'. However it wasn't the result my neighbors were hoping for.

    In 2007 our neighbors called Channel 3 again to do a follow up. So Channel 3 called my parents and asked, “Are you still keeping the chickens and Rooster?”, my parents said ‘yes’ and hung up.

    Now the real problem. It’s been 2 more years since we last heard anything from my neighbors until one day my dad noticed that our gate was open, and my rooster was gone. This gate is overgrown with ivy which makes it extremely difficult to open, thus they never use it. Not to mention that it is the gate closest to the neighbor who has been complaining about the rooster.

    I can only assume that my neighbor finally taking action into his own hands came into my yard and took my rooster with then intent to harm. They do have a history of violence to our pets as they once broke our dogs jaw bone with a 2x4 to get it to stop barking (they complained about our dogs barking all the time before we got the rooster).

    Is there anything I can do legally?

  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    How awful!

    You will have to ask an attorney about the past attacks on your animals. Depending on the circumstances, evidence and how much time as passed, you may be able to have the police file charges. You can certainly file suit; an attorney can advise you of the likely success.

    Police are likely to want evidence or near proof that the bird was stolen or harmed, and also that the neighbor did it. My suggestions are

    1) purchase high security padlocks and lock all gates that you do not regularly and frequently use; consider locking ALL gates except during egress.

    2) post No Trespassing, Property Protected By Surveillance signs on all gates and along the fenceline at regular intervals (I don't know how large the property is, so you may need several per side, or one per side may be sufficient).

    3) mount real and dummy security cameras in positions to record threats to your property and animals. The recording can run on a loop or record to an IP address. You actually only need to check the recording if an incident occurs.

    4) you can also add an alarm to gates, coop/pen doors, etc. A silent alarm would either ring in your house (or even notify a security company); an audible alarm would loudly notify the neighborhood of an illicit entry in progress.

    You can also file harassment charges, and perhaps get a restraining order placed against the neighbor. The city may be able to file against the neighbor for repeatedly filing false charges against you. The first time he can be assumed to have not known that the chickens were legal (as evidence, your family did not know that); however, all subsequent calls to zoning were in bad faith as he had already been told that your birds were legal. Calling the TV station was nothing but harrassment since you were legal, and they knew it. Calling them again...it could be considered stalking. If you don't get anywhere with the police or lawyer about any of this, try calling the TV station yourself--this time ask them to investigate the neighbor and his harrassment/stalking of you and your animals, as well as your very real fears for them and what has already been done.
  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I have a neighbor with two dogs that live outside all the time and bark non-stop - including at night. Many nights DH and I have been woken by the barking in the middle of the night and didn't get back to sleep for hours.

    Reading between the lines, because, keep in mind, we are only hearing one side of the story, you have angered your neighbors first with your barking dog and now with a crowing rooster. It doesn't sound as though, (other than writing them a letter years ago), you have done very much to try to make peace with these neighbors. I would start with keeping the dog in so it doesn't bark, and either getting rid of the rooster or keeping it in a dark location so that it doesn't crow as much (works with some, not others, of course).

    You might also try taking a gift of fresh eggs over and actually talking to the neighbors, in a friendly rather than combative way, to try to find out if there is something you can do to keep the peace with them. Wouldn't it be better to get on friendlier terms with them than spend money on attorneys and continue to have the stress of these complaints being made about you over and over?
  4. Countrywife

    Countrywife Corrupted by a Redneck

    Aug 20, 2009
    Unless you have proof that they took the rooster, like video, no point in calling the police. The value of the rooster makes it nothing more that a misdemeanor. Do better security, but seriously, the police can't do anything except take a report, but you don't actually have proof who did it.
  5. Whitehouse Quail

    Whitehouse Quail Songster

    Jul 1, 2009
    I'd record a rooster crowing, hook it up to a megaphone, and blast off your neighbor's ears.
  6. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

    Jul 11, 2008
    Winter Haven, FL
    wait did i read that right???/ 2x4 to the dogs head, breaking jaw???

    UMMMM, yes please do what the others have stated. Post signs, camera and get more roosters!

    That just ticked me off! Next time i am in cali, i am coming up there and egging their house........blahhh hahhhhhhh
  7. agnes_day

    agnes_day Songster

    Aug 29, 2008
    we have a neighbor like that..in all likelihood he poisoned all of the chickens i had for the past year, plus our dogs and kitten. unfortunately, we didnt have cameras up then. i would immediately get some up and put locks on everything. i plan on getting some pigeons next summer and i will be very diligent about this..
    i am so sorry!

  8. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    I am sorry, but if the OP did not break any ordinances, then he is in the right, regardless of how the neighbor's feel. If the birds or dog were breaking sound ordinances, then maybe they had an issue, but ti doesn;t sound like that is the real issue. Most folks would simply get better insulation or heavier drapes that would muffle the sound. When asked to "let me know if my birds cause problems, " they would say something about them crowing in the middle of the night (or whatever the real issue is), not say "they are fine" then call the zoning officer.
  9. agnes_day

    agnes_day Songster

    Aug 29, 2008
    Quote:im sorry but if my neighbors had hit my dog with a 2x4, i would give them a gift of a 2x4 up side the head!! what a bunch of jerks!

  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I am sorry, but if the OP did not break any ordinances, then he is in the right, regardless of how the neighbor's feel

    I agree with this. I do not care one tiny bit if my roosters crow at 4 a.m. and dont care if my neighbors care. I am agricultural and legal and if they don't want to hear a rooster crow, everybody else can move. With all the noise I have to put up with on every holiday and every party they have with zooming ATVs, jeeps, music, gunfire, fireworks, etc, they have NADA to complain about. Not sure why the solution some have is to bow to neighbors who want silence 24/7. Guess you may not want me as your neighbor (truthfully, I'd rather have none at all).

    Stick to your guns. Roosters crow, fact of life. Legally kept roosters crow, too. I think I'd be putting up cameras and signs saying they are being recorded. The best defense is a good offense.​

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by