It was nice and quiet in the neighborhood until our neighbor's 'ohana tenants decided to pen up some fighting chickens in their yard, right on the property line. The noise from these caged creatures disrupts the entire neighborhood. What can we do?
Whether it's crowing roosters, barking dogs or band practice in the neighbor's garage, "noisy" situations like these can create tension between homeowners. As I said in my last column, I'm not a lawyer; therefore these are my best suggestions and do not constitute legal advice.
My first suggestion is to make an attempt to talk out the issue. I know of several cases in which neighbor-to-neighbor communication or mediation services have led to a mutually beneficial solution for all parties involved. It's worth trying.
If that's not an option, here are a few things you should know. Maui County currently does not have a comprehensive noise ordinance (there are some specific noise ordinances for nuisances such as loud music and excessive dog barking), and there are no specific laws addressing chickens or crowing roosters. But according to the Maui Humane Society (MHS), you could file a complaint about "fowl" noise under Hawai'i's disorderly conduct statute. MHS itself does not have the authority to handle such cases, so you should contact the Maui Police Department at (808) 244-6400.
While we're on the subject, though, let's talk about excessive dog barking.
Dog owners who violate Maui's animal nuisance law could face a maximum penalty of $500. But here's the catch: if you file a complaint, you'll first need prove that the barking lasts for a solid 10 minutes or intermittently for 20 minutes. In addition, you'll be required to testify and prepare a case against your neighbor. Again, it may be easier to resolve this issue through communication.
For mediation service information or barking education materials, contact MHS at (808) 877-3680, ext. 29.
Josh Jerman is a REALTOR/Broker with The Wailea Group LLC, located in The Shops at Wailea at 3750 Wailea Alanui Drive, Ste. 5EW. He serves on the Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) Board of Directors, RAM Education Committee and the Hawai'i Association of Realtors' Finance Committee. To "Ask Josh," send your questions to Josh@JoshJerman.com or visit www.facebook.com/askjosh.