Can I shoot my neighbor’s free range chickens if they show up on my property?

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Can I shoot my neighbor’s free range chickens if they show up on my property?

My neighbor’s chickens are constantly on my property. They have done minor property damage like defecating everywhere and digging up mulched trees. I have confronted my neighbor about it but he has not done nothing. I was thinking of buying a shot gun and using it on the chickens. What can I do?

Asked on May 9, 2012 under General Practice, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, if you shoot the chickens, you will likely be liable to your neighbor for their value and may also have committed a crime (e.g. destruction of his property; animal cruelty). The correct way to deal with this situation is--

1) Check local ordinances--are chickens permitted? (In my town, they're not.) If he's breaching code or ordinances, contact the building or health code authorities, who can enforce the law against him.

2) Either instead of or in addition to the above, you could sue your neighbor for--

a) compensation for any property damage, including clean up or re-landscaping costs, his chickens have caused you; and

b) a court order requiring him to keep them off your property.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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