chicken coop in the front yard

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chicken coop in the front yard

Their is an ordinance the chicken coop must be kept 50 feet away from all property lines. If animal control shows up to a violators property and does not abate the situation is the twp liable in a law suit or is it the control officer that is liable for the favoritism? Are punitive damages in order? A big mouth rooster is in the coop as well.
This is taking place in new jersey

Asked on August 25, 2017 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Neither the township nor the animal control officer will likely be liable unless you can show some improper motive (bribery; family or friendship connection to the coop owner; etc.) for their inaction. Otherwise, the law protects agencies and agency employees from being sued for the failure to do their job, since if they were not given some liability protection, they'd be too scared of being sued to actually have or do their jobs at all.
Sometimes a private citizen can enforce ordinances like this, either directly or at least indirectly, using them as evidence of conduct inappropriate for that neighborhood in a "nuisance" lawsuit. Also sometimes, while you can't get damages (money) from suing the government for not doing its job unless you can show wrongful motive, you may be able to court a court order forcing them to at least enforce the ordinance. If the animal control agent(s) don't help you, speak to a real estate attorney (one who handles real estate disputes, not just closings) a about your options.


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