Can I Sue My Neighbor for Feeding Squirrels That Damage my Property?

by John Warbuck
A squirrel has a snack while perched on the branch of a pine tree in a forest setting, squirrel, woodland creature, creature, animal, rodent, nature, tree, pine tree, evergreen, evergreen tree, outdoors, furry, woods, forest, branch, tree branch

Reviewed by Carina Jenkins, J.D.

You’ve noticed recently that a family of unwanted squirrels has moved into your yard, and they’ve taken residence there because your neighbors are offering them a steady supply of nuts. After asking politely for them to stop, they continue feeding wildlife with complete disregard for your family’s safety or property. The question on your mind may be: “Can I sue my neighbor for feeding squirrels that damage my property?”

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Because laws vary from one city or state to the next, you may need to work with a law office to find your answer. This guide reviews what similar laws may have to say, which could influence your choice to seek legal representation.

Is It Okay to Feed a Wild Animal on Your Property?

Keep in mind that laws do vary. However, it’s generally considered a form of nuisance or wildlife harassment if someone feeds wild animals for any reason. Most people aren’t aware of the many laws that prohibit feeding animals on their property because they own their land, and they think they’re doing the animals a favor. For this reason, the best approach to take initially is to educate your neighbors in case they’re simply acting with good intentions.

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What Damage Can Squirrels Do to Your Property?

Despite common perceptions, squirrels can be destructive. They are such a significant part of our urban ecosystem that we often ignore them and don’t consider the potential damage they can cause. Squirrels often damage roofing, siding and fencing when they’re attempting to find shelter before the weather cools down.

Anyone who has dealt with a squirrel infestation is aware of the interior damage squirrels can do to homes. They chew through insulation, destroy electrical wires and contaminate food supplies. Squirrels are capable of spreading disease to your family as well.

Another potential issue is if any of your family members are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts. Squirrels eat and store nuts, so having these uninvited guests in your home could be a threat to your health and safety.

Are Homeowners Liable for Damage Done by Their Pets?

In many cases, you can hold a neighbor liable if their dog or another one of their pets damages your property. For example, if your neighbor’s dog damages the fence on your property line, you have a reasonable expectation for your neighbor to fix the fence or cover the cost of the repair. When you’re taking your neighbor to court over damage their pet did to your property, you simply need to prove that it was their pet that did the damage.

A law firm may warn you that it’s more difficult to prove your neighbors were breaking the law if their actions involve wildlife, however. Because your neighbors don’t own or control the squirrels on your property, it’s more difficult to prove a degree of negligence that warrants financial damages.

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How Do I Get My Neighbor to Stop Feeding the Squirrels?

If you believe your neighbor is the reason for your squirrel problem or is making it worse, you can try the following steps before taking them to court.

Talk to Your Neighbor

Having a civil conversation can go a long way toward getting your neighbor to understand why you see the squirrels as a nuisance. If your neighbor is understanding, they’ll stop feeding the squirrels and attracting them to your yard.

Contact Wildlife Control

Most police departments have a wildlife control officer that specializes in dealing with these types of issues. If speaking with your neighbor isn’t working, you can report them to the authorities. Some municipalities will issue citations for feeding wildlife, which could motivate your neighbors to stop. Keep records of the calls and report numbers in case you need them later.

Speak to an Attorney

If you believe that your neighbors’ actions have resulted in damage to your property, you can contact a law firm to assess your legal rights and options. A qualified attorney would be able to tell you what laws apply to your situation and if the cost of bringing it to court is worth the potential judgment or settlement you’d receive.

Avoid Losing Your Cool

One of the ways you could get yourself in trouble is if you take matters into your own hands or lose your cool with your neighbors. Don’t go onto their property to remove the squirrels, and don’t get into any shouting matches that could be used against you later. If your neighbors choose to handle things the hard way, make sure you only communicate with them through your attorney or a law enforcement officer.

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Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of eLocal Editorial Content is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

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