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J.Hazelbaker
J.Hazelbaker, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4385
Experience:  Extensive experience and training in real estate matters.
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I am having a problem with a neighbors cat who sits on my deck

Resolved Question:

I am having a problem with a neighbors cat who sits on my deck all day scaring my birds away from my feeders. This has been a hobby of mine for the past 15 years. I have tried to speak with them, to no avail, as has the Town of Bourne, MA, where I am from. According to the town, they have a right to let their cat outside but only on their property. Once it crosses over to mine, they do not have any rights. I have been told I can trp it and take it to a shelter somewhere, but how do you trap a cat? This has been going on for over 1 1/2 years and I just cant get any resolution. I do not understand why I, a property owner and tax payer, have to modify my life style so I can accomodate them and their cat. Why should I be punished? It is my property, not theirs. Thank you for any advice you can offer.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  J.Hazelbaker replied 2 years ago.

J.Hazelbaker :

Hello. Thank you for using JustAnswer.

J.Hazelbaker :

As a birder myself, I can certainly understand your concern and frustration.

J.Hazelbaker :

Unfortunately, you are in a position where, to protect your interests, you have to be proactive.

J.Hazelbaker :

Morally and legally, the neighbors need to take care of their pet.

J.Hazelbaker :

Clearly, they are shirking their obligations.

J.Hazelbaker :

But, absent them taking care, you are in the best position to remedy the situation.

J.Hazelbaker :

You can trap the cat with wet cat food (in a tin) and a "have-a-hart" trap (racoon size and available from most hardware stores).

J.Hazelbaker :

If you were motivated enough, you could trap the cat, send it to a shelter, and bill your neighbor for the expense (bait and trap).

J.Hazelbaker :

Alternatively, you could call a pest removal service to come out and trap the cat. Again, this expense could be billed to your neighbors.

J.Hazelbaker :

If they refused to pay, you could sue them in small claims court to force them to pay. In addition, you could request a court order prohibiting them from letting their pets trespass on your property.

J.Hazelbaker :

Please let me know what follow-up questions you have. If my above responses have been helpful, please click Accept so that I get credit for the time/effort. You may always restart the thread and ask follow-up questions at any time by clicking the “Reply” button at the bottom of the question/answer thread. You can access this thread later in your profile under the “My Questions” tab.

Customer:

I am so happy you understand this. I was afraid you might laugh at my problem. I have 5 feeders, plus suet, peanuts, etc. They bring me so much joy, this breaks my heart.

You mention I could request a court order prohibiting them from letting their pets on your property. Is this difficult to do?

J.Hazelbaker :

The court order takes time, energy and money. It is the surest way to proceed, but it's a commitment.

J.Hazelbaker :

If it were me, I would inform the neighbor that you have discussed the matter with the local authorities

J.Hazelbaker :

and legal counsel and are giving them one last chance to keep their pet on their property or you will be forced to trap it and take it to a shelter.

J.Hazelbaker :

At that point, I would either call the pest removal services, but, more likely, trap the animal myself (as I am comfortable doing that).

J.Hazelbaker :

I also have an "airsoft" gun that shoots a non-lethal plastic BB, that I keep next to the window where I observe our feeding station.

J.Hazelbaker :

It stings, but does not hurt the animal. It is very effective, but not a complete cure (the animal will eventually come back).

J.Hazelbaker :

You can get a dependable airsoft gun for less than $30. And a have-a-hart live trap is about the same cost.

Customer:

The Town of Bourne has called them already, about a month ago, telling them that legally I could trap the cat. They did absolutely nothing. I cant get near this cat because as soon as it sees or hears me, it is gone. Do you know about how much (a rough estimate) it would cost to get a court order?

J.Hazelbaker :

Here is a web address to a critter control company in your area:

J.Hazelbaker :

http://capecod.crittercontrol.com/services/bourne/rodentcontrol.html

J.Hazelbaker :

As for the court order:

J.Hazelbaker :

you could go the small claims route. The court provides you with the forms and instructions to file your lawsuit. You don't need an attorney.

J.Hazelbaker :

The filing fee is less than $200.

J.Hazelbaker :

Here is a guide that describes the small claims process:

J.Hazelbaker :

http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/districtcourt/smallclaims.html

Customer:

You have been so very helpful, Mr. Hazelbaker. I will move forward with this advice. Enjoy your birds! It is very good for the soul. I will hit the accept button now. Again, thank you so much.

J.Hazelbaker, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4385
Experience: Extensive experience and training in real estate matters.
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