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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 116808
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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My neighbor is killing our tree in a Natural Green Burial Section

Customer Question

My neighbor is killing our tree in a Natural Green Burial Section of a Privately owned family cemetery in WA state…. I don't have actual video of them doing it… only the dead grass trailing leading to that one and only tree along a fence line of trees… beautiful grassy area 5 feet to either side and then dead? This is against the law, but I don't know how to pursue charges…
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

You will need to get a tree expert to determine what is causing the damages. Once you can determine they are doing this you can again notify the police or you can also file a civil suit against them. However, until you can get some actual evidence they are doing something to the tree (poison or whatever) it is hard for the DA to prosecute or you to prevail in civil suit against them for damages.

You can try to set up wireless video (such as the cameras people use on deer trails) of the area to try to catch them in the act, but until you get that evidence linking the death of the tree to the neighbors, there is nothing more legally the police, the DA or you can do through the court systems.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The trail of dead grass/killer on their grass, on their side of the fence, and a trail leading down, only from that one spot… you can see it is running down from their side, why is it ONLY THERE? NOT THE REST OF THE FENCE LINE… why is it only on the one tree? who will pay for a tree expert to come out and tell me it's them spraying killer on it? Why do I have to have video evidence of them spraying it, when there is an actual trail that ends at the tree? The officer that came out last time said the renter told him they cut the tree…. The officer's exact words were "the DA won't waste their time on the" so then what, I just take it??? we are suppose to protect the property, and we are contracted to maintain organic, no chemicals in that section - this guy is damaging YEARS OF ORGANIC PROCESS!!! Which "oh well' can't fix, or change…
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.

That is enough for a civil suit, since you can trace it to their land, but for criminal charges you have to prove who did it beyond a reasonable doubt, which you cannot do. You need to know specifically who violated the law to meet the beyond the reasonable doubt standard. So file a civil suit against them and seek money damages and an injunction, that is your right instead of criminal charges.

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