What to do if my former neighbors have2 large dogs living and tied down on our property?

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What to do if my former neighbors have2 large dogs living and tied down on our property?

I have a house on the market. My former neighbors have 2 dogs tied down on our property. They are tearing up the yard and their trash is everywhere. Animal control says they can do nothing as long as the dogs aren’t running loose. General circuit clerk advised consulting a lawyer. What can be done to get these dogs off our property? Not even sure about damages.

Asked on April 20, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You say the dogs are on your property? The neighbors have no right to do this--from what your write, they are trespassing and committing vandalism. You *should* be able to have the dogs removed by animal control--animal control should not just remove wild dogs but also animals that are improperly on another's property. You can tell your neighbors to remove them and if the neighbors won't, you'd very likely be within your rights to untie the dogs and let them loose (again, assuming this is your property and you did not give the neighbors permission--you should, before taking any action, provide written notice to the neighbors so you can prove you gave them a chance to retrieve their animals). You may call the police on the neighbors when they come onto your property; you may sue the neighbors for the damage their animals have done and the cost of clean-up. No one has a right to trespass and put their animals on your property, so you do have rights; vindicating those rights probably begins by discussing the situation and explaining to the neighbors they have no right to keep their dogs there and you won't them gone and expect the neighbors to pay for the damage.


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