Boston Real Estate Law News - Find a MA Real Estate Attorney

Hull Sues Gail Kansky to Stop Bird-Feeding 'Nuisance'

There are many people who love to watch birds. The National Audubon Society was created specifically to preserve ecosystems so that birds and other wildlife will still exist for people to see.

However, it seems as though Hull resident Gail Kansky has gone beyond helping birds to creating an alleged nuisance in her neighborhood, according to the Patriot Ledger. Neighbors have complained of the noise, bird droppings, and rats that have started to move in.

How bad does it have to get to become a nuisance?

There are two types of nuisance, a private nuisance and a public nuisance. A private nuisance occurs when your neighbor or other person is doing something that stops you from enjoying your property. However, they must not actually physically be on your property, because that would be trespassing.

A public nuisance is when the activity on one person's property affects the overall safety or welfare of the public. A good example of this is a paper mill that smells to high heaven. A town can sue the offending property owner to stop the nuisance.

In both cases, the aggravating activity must be continuous and not a one- or two-time issue.

In Gail Kansky's bird-feeding nuisance case, it seems like the birds are always around, so it meets the continuous element. The question is whether feeding the birds is harming the public. Just having birds around doesn't harm anyone unless they're in an Alfred Hitchcock film. What does harm people, or at least their property at first, is an infestation of rats.

If the excessive amount of bird food is attracting rats to the neighborhood, then there is a strong case for nuisance. This is especially so because, as we know, pest control is one thing that even landlords must guarantee to their tenants.

While this seems like an issue that Gail Kansky could have dealt with through communication with her neighbors, now she must respond to a lawsuit by the town of Hull to stop her from feeding birds. And that, in itself, could be quite a nuisance.

Related Resources: