Victory

Please save our farm!

This petition made change with 1,149 supporters!


A neighbor purchased her home looking out over the historic farmland in 1994. We purchased the property in 2016 and started making it into a small family farm. It turns out this neighbor  is unhappy living near a farm! They have reported us to the Health Department, Building and Safety, Zoning, the Board of Supervisors, and even the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals! We have been found in compliance in every case. They even got a hearing in front of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office in August, 2017, to try to get us punished for allowing "excessive farm animal noises" on this historic farmland property. The case was dismissed. That should have been the end of the harassment. But it continues.

We need your help. 

Farms have ANIMALS and animals make NOISES! Isn’t this something that should be considered when purchasing property near farmland? Our property is listed on the Historic Farmland Registry; it is part of a 100-year-old homestead! Any home sale within a mile of our property is required to have a Right to Farm statement signed by the purchaser! Despite this, Los Angeles County Animal Control is allowing ONE vindictive person who obviously rejects the rural nature of our community to define what constitutes a "noise nuisance" according to the incredibly vague municipal code. ONE person is being allowed to decide that farm animal noises coming from a small family farm on 100-year-old agricultural land are “unreasonable”.

Can we allow this to be how our laws work? The person who complains the loudest gets to define what is legal and what is not? What is the point of confirming - prior to purchase - that the zoning of a particular property allows for the farm animals you intend to get, if anyone who is within hearing distance can later complain and financially ruin you for having those same animals? How can it be a valid law if you cannot possibly figure out if you are in compliance until and if someone complains?? 

The law states that "unreasonable" noise is illegal and will be fined. If ANYTHING is "unreasonable" it is someone purchasing land next to agriculturally zoned land and then complaining when someone puts farm animals on it!

This petition will be forwarded to the Los Angeles County Supervisor for our district. You can also direct comments to her office directly at: 

Kathryn Barger
Los Angeles County BOS 5th District
500 West Temple Street, Room 869
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 974-5555
Kathryn@bos.lacounty.gov

Please tell this elected official what you think of this law and the actions of Los Angeles County Animal Control. 

Thank you!! 

 


The following is a thought experiment to hopefully help even the most unreasonable of people see that the Los Angeles County statute (LAMC 10.40.060) is ridiculously vague and open to abuse: 

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Imagine one day a sheriff comes to your door. He hands you a speeding ticket. The ticket says it is for "driving at excessive speed" and has a fine of $100 and must be paid within 15 days. There are no specifics whatsoever. Previously, you had received a similar, vague and completely lacking in detail warning for "driving at excessive speed", and you were told that if you "failed to take corrective action" you would be cited.

You follow the directions and file the request for an Administrative Hearing at the Sheriff's office, whereby you must first pay the $100 fine AND state the basis upon which you contest the fine. You contact the Sheriff's office and find out that a neighbor claimed you were "speeding" and that is why you received the warning and the citation. You ask for the evidence upon which the citation was based and receive (redacted) copies of emails from your neighbor to the Sheriff's office stating you were speeding. That is ALL. You pay the fine and request a hearing. The very next week, you get receive another warning letter!

How could this happen?!? Well, it turns out the law simply says:

"It is unlawful for a driver to drive at an excessive speed after the Department has issued a written warning notice of driving at excessive speeds. For purposes of this section, the term "excessive speed" means a speed that is unreasonably unsafe, annoying or offensive, or that unreasonably interferes with other drivers on the road. A driver who fails to stop driving at excessive speed 10 days after the warning is mailed may be cited."

Who gets to decide what is "unreasonable"? There is no definition. There is no way for any individual to know if they are within the law or not. Should the person filing the complaint REALLY get to be the sole arbiter of what is "unreasonable"? How is that legitimate? How do you even begin to defend against such a vague law, and such ridiculously vague "warnings" and "citations"?

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Sound crazy? Well, this is our current reality. Except that instead of "excessive speed" we are being cited for "excessive noise". The wording of the statute is, however, completely the same as what is insanely vague when rephrased above:

"Los Angeles County Municipal Code Title 10

10.40.060 - Excessive Animal Noise.

A. Excessive Noise. It is unlawful for an owner or custodian of an animal to allow the animal to emit any excessive noise after the Department has issued a written warning notice of an excessive noise complaint. For purposes of this section, the term "excessive noise" means a noise that is unreasonably annoying, disturbing, offensive, or that unreasonably interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property. An owner or custodian who fails to abate the noise within 10 days after the warning is mailed may be cited." [emphasis added]

Who gets to decide what is unreasonably annoying? Is it really up to just one person, the way the law reads and is being implemented by Castaic Animal Care and Control now? And how would you defend against such a vague law, and such ridiculously vague "warnings" and "citations"? You couldn't. WE CAN'T.

If you agree that this law is crazy, please help. Please forward this to any news agency which will listen. Know of a lawyer who wants to take on Los Angeles County and this ridiculous statute? Please send this to them. Write a letter to the Los Angeles Supervisor Kathryn Barger (address below). And above all, please pray for us. Looks like we are going to need it! 

Kathryn Barger
Los Angeles County BOS 5th District
500 West Temple Street, Room 869
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 974-5555
Kathryn@bos.lacounty.gov

 

 

 



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