The recent rise in the popularity of sustainable and local agriculture has resulted in an increase in the number of chickens and other poultry that are being raised on residential properties in the last decade. Rhode Island state law allows for residents to raise poultry on their property, so long as the municipality and property owner permits it. Not all Rhode Island residents support broad permissions for others to raise livestock on their residential property. A locally published news report discusses an elderly Rhode Island couple’s attempts to enact an ordinance in their town to address the nuisance caused by their neighbor’s chickens and turkeys.
According to the local news article discussing this story, the couple has lived in their South Kingstown home for over 45 years, and the neighbors with the birds moved in about 3 years ago. The two neighbors share a driveway, and shortly after the new neighbors arrived, they began to raise chickens and turkeys. The elderly couple noticed that their neighbors’ chickens and turkeys were entering their property, digging around the ground, and leaving feces and other messes. Additionally, the birds were loud and at times threatening, even causing the couple’s dog to injure itself when attempting to scare the birds off.
The couple has sought help from the local police department to address the nuisance, but the police are unable to help. The couple instead went to the city council and the media to drum up support for regulations or a ban on residential poultry husbandry. According to the news report, some council members are resistant to the ban, because of the economic benefit of allowing people to raise poultry on their land.
If an ordinance to regulate raising chickens is not politically possible, the couple may still seek relief by making a nuisance claim in state court. Because they allege that the chickens and turkeys are destroying their property and preventing them from making full use of it, a nuisance claim may be appropriate. If the couple succeeds in pursuing a nuisance claim against the neighbors, the court could enjoin the neighbors from raising chickens, and even order financial compensation to the couple for the damage that has already been done. With the help of a Rhode Island property attorney, the couple may be able to alleviate their concerns.
How to Address a Neighbor Dispute over an Alleged Nuisance
Rhode Island residents have a certain duty not to interfere with the property rights of their neighbors. Some protected rights include safe access to one’s home, as well as the right to peacefully enjoy the premises of your home without unreasonable interruption. Neighbors with noisy, dangerous, or unsanitary pets or livestock could be the basis for a valid nuisance claim. If you have questions about a possible claim, the diligent Rhode Island real estate attorneys at Bilodeau Capalbo can help you decide your next move. Our Rhode Island property lawyers have experience pursuing nuisance claims, and we can help you resolve your issues. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Rhode Island real estate attorney by calling 401-300-4055.