Kittitas, Kittitas County, Washington
Am I being harassed by our local police? If so, what should I do.
Came home yesterday to find a business card on my front step. It was from the Chief of Police, Badge #401, Kittitas, Wa. On the back was written: "All dogs -----> Please License Immediately. I saw a dog in back yard but no license in system." In the upper left hand corner of the card it read: "Also, weeds need attention."
I moved into this rental house 11 months ago; left the previous home on very good terms with the owner. The only reason I moved was because he sold his property.
I promptly licensed my two dogs as required by local ordinance. They are allowed to run free in my fenced in back yard but while in the open front yard they wear electronic collars and are never left alone.
Living here has not been a pleasant experience so far. The first day in my new home, an older woman knocked on my door; poked her head inside and claimed she was looking for a lost cat. Naturally, she only wanted to see the new people. She declared, "You're only allowed two dogs in Kittitas." I told her I only had two; the other two belonged to my son who was helping me move.
The second person who communicated was a retired man who lives across the street. He threatened to shoot my dogs. He owns a motorcycle
and rode it down the street; my dog followed, barking, at the edge of my lawn. I believe it scared him and instead of speaking to me he became aggressive and made the threat to my son. I was only told about it weeks afterward. I would have called the police if I had been told about this the day it happened.
Other than those two people, not one person has spoken to me.
The police chief most probably saw my dog while parked from the road; perhaps he got out and walked to the fence. At any rate, either the city does not have the capability of cross referencing tags to street addresses or he did not bother to check. My dogs are perfectly legal and were enclosed in private property.
The weeds. My weeds are overgrown in my yard. I usually maintain the landscape but seriously injured my back recently. Like surgery, days in hospital, wearing a back brace injury. Since then, my sons have been taking turns mowing my yard. They don't keep it to my standards but I assure you it is not close; not close, to fifty percent of the yards in this small town.
It is my belief that the retired man across the street contacted the chief and personally asked him to perform a "code enforcement" check on my animals and yard. The easiest course of action would be to simply move but I am unable to do that, because of my injury. I would be willing to bet any amount of money no other homes in this city were given notices like the one I got for either yard condition or animals. I think this was personal.
So. Am I being harassed? Without escalating this situation, what can I do to protect myself? Take photos of other yards within the city? Write a letter? Contact the mayor? Hire an attorney?
I look forward to your answer. Thank you.