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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33759
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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I have a neighbor renting a property who has 7 dogs that she

Customer Question

I have a neighbor renting a property who has 7 dogs that she leaves outside all day/ night. The dogs are baking constantly that I have had to call animal control multiple times. She no longer answers the door to animal control. I am no longer able to sleep or work (home office) because to the constant barking. What legal actions can I take?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Delaware
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Animal control has been called and Police with multiple reports. Several times her dog crawled thur fence into my yard with me taking the dog back to her. Animal control took the dog and gave her a find
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: i have videos of the dogs barking day and night,pictures of my neighbors boarded up fence,and I have saved all of my text messages asking her to take the dogs in. Call me for futher details including the risks to my health.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

First off, you can continue in the direction you were trying. However, if the police haven't ticketed her yet then they probably aren't going to do much.

Your best route is to hire a private attorney to file for an injunction against her under the theory of nuisance. The lawyer you hire will work with you to craft a remedy that you want the court to order, which may be limiting the amount of dogs living there, making them stop barking, etc. In addition you can sue for monetary damages although under these facts it is hard to guess what a judge would say is justified.

Injunctions are extremely complicated and people always ask if they can file it themselves rather than hiring an attorney and the answer is it is allowed, but I have never seen someone successfully file one without an attorney because they are so complex and if there are any mistakes the judge must deny it.

The steps to an injunction are:

1) An Application for TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) is filed along with supporting evidence such as affidavits. Usually the Application for Injunction is made at the same time. The TRO is a temporary measure and is not absolutely required before you get an injunction.
2) An Ex Parte (without the other side present) Hearing is conducted and the judge either issues the TRO or denies it. If the TRO is issued the judge orders a bond set in a sufficient amount to compensate the other side for any damages accumulated while the TRO is in place if the applicant fails to prove their right to an injunction.
3) A hearing on the TRO is set.
4) The TRO and notice of Hearing is served on the defendant.
5) The defendant should immediately begin following the judge's orders.
6) The TRO hearing is held and each side has an opportunity to present evidence and question witnesses.
7) The judge makes the decision on whether to convert the TRO to a Temporary Injunction or not.
8) If the TRO is converted to a Temporary Injunction then the judge sets a new bond to be in place.
9) Discovery is conducted by both sides.
10) A request for hearing date is made on the matter of converting the Temporary Injunction into a Permanent Injunction.
11) The hearing/trial is held on the Permanent Injunction and the judge issues a ruling.

These are what are known as extraordinary remedies and the procedural rules for these as well as the case law are EXTREMELY specific and difficult. If ANY mistakes are made the judge has no choice but to deny the relief and will not likely reconsider it in the future.

Just as an example, getting injunctive relief, both temporary and permanent, requires that evidence be offered of:
1) An immediate need,
2) Which, if not granted, will result in irreparable harm,
3) With no adequate remedy at law, and
4) (on temporary order) The person requesting the injunction is likely to succeed at a full trial on the merits.

If evidence is not offered to meet these four requirements, in a manner that the judge knows this is what the evidence shows, then the petition will be denied.

There are more requirements than this depending on the exact facts of the case but it is very, very easy to mess up one of these and end up having to pay damages to the other side just because your paperwork wasn't done properly.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The house is a rental under section 8. Can't I sue the owner for lack of enjoyment of my property?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

That is what nuisance is, which is why I mentioned it above. However, it is rare that a court awards much for that.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Dwayne- I find it hard to believe that as a home owner, I have to tolerate the ignorant behavior of a renter (not another owner). The police and animal control have been called several times and the renter no longer answer. My job requires me to have a home office which faces the back of the house where the dogs are barking and crying. What I want to know is: are there laws in De re: nuisance, lack of enjoyment of property that I can present to the person who is renting the house (after I locate them). This is the suggestion I got from animal control.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

Nuisance is the legal term that equates to "loss of enjoyment". However, there isn't a statute you can present because it is case law that affects this and it doesn't do anything to stop the dogs from barking, it just allows you to sue her for monetary damages for their barking and get a judgment against her. If she doesn't have any property, then you can't collect on the judgement so you have to consider that as well.

You asked "what legal actions can I take?" and I explained those above. If you just want to talk to her then "nuisance" is what you discuss. There is likely also a city ordinance but you would have to check with the city secretary about that.