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Can my landlord make me get rid of my dog?

Westfield, NC |

I've lived in this house for 8 months. I've had a dog the whole time. We live on a farm and some of the farm animals have been killed. The landlord thinks it's my dog. I have seen so many stray dogs in the farm animal cages etc. She now says I have to get rid of my dog. We have no lease agreement or any type of paper work. Can she make me get rid of my dog? She's also had her family that lives around here come onto my property with weapons trying to hurt/kill my dog. What are my legal rights?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

A landlord can set restrictions on whether you can have a pet on the premises, but it is more complicated usually when there is no written lease involved addressing the issue. It sounds as if the issue here will come down to your oral agreement with the landlord. Oral agreements can be enforceable, under certain conditions. First, you’ll have to establish that the agreement actually existed, which is easier said than done. Even if you can do that, you’ll have to ensure that the subject matter of your contract does not fall within what’s called the statute of frauds. It is always best to get any kind of agreement in writing. Even if they cannot make you get rid of your dog, if your landlord can prove that your animal is a nuisance on the premises then they may be able to institute eviction proceedings. Regardless, your landlord nor anyone else certainly cannot hurt or kill your dog. A landlord is required not to breach a tenant's right to quiet enjoyment of their premises and must give reasonable notice if they intend to enter the premises for inspection, repairs, etc. If they do harm your dog or otherwise, they not only may be facing criminal charges, but you have may a civil suit against them. I strongly recommend you consult and possibly retain an experienced landlord-tenant attorney in your area to fully go over all your rights and options.

This information is provided for general purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created with the furnishing of this advice. Attorney licensed in North Carolina only.

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4 comments

Asker

Posted

Would I have a case on harassment due to the fact that they have come on my property twice with weapons, in front of children who live here. Now the kids ask if grown people have guns when they see one around here and I am now stuck watching outside my door making sure no one is on the property. It's a very unsettling feeling and I do not like it at all. I can't even let the kids play outside without having to worry about someone coming around with a weapon.

Michael Scott Rothrock

Michael Scott Rothrock

Posted

Possibly. You are certainly within your rights to also call the police or have whomever is home call the police for trespassing and communicating threats if they are entering the property without your permission and threatening you, your family, or property with weapons. Based on what you have shared, it certainly sounds like a serious and dangerous situation that you probably do not want to leave to chance. If they are the landlord themselves or acting on the landlord's behalf, you can also pursue a civil suit against the landlord for breach of your covenant to quiet enjoyment and seek rent abatement and possibly other damages. Again, it is highly advisable you retain counsel to assist you in this matter.

Michael Scott Rothrock

Michael Scott Rothrock

Posted

I should mention as well that if you cannot afford to retain counsel, Legal Aid of North Carolina routinely handles landlord-tenant matters and may be able to offer you assistance. It's certainly worth a phone call.

Asker

Posted

I am using this as my documentation of events. So 4 days ago Wednesday August 1, 2012. After being told do not come on the property, the same guy that was here with a sharp pipe threatening to kill my dog was walking around my property and driving a golf cart around the property trying to provoke me. I didn't say anything to him. Today August 5, 2012, another guy (they are all family) came to my front door and asked If I would walk with him to their shop that is near my house. I did. He wanted to show me a dead chicken. They want to blame it on my dog, even though they have no proof. We are out in the sticks, anything could have killed that chicken, sure my dogs were eating it, but it could have been dead before that. He then said again to me that "I better get rid of the dog, or he will shoot it and he doesn't care if he has to shoot it on my front porch, and that I told his son not to come on the property anymore, but they "own this place" and can do what they want" Then another guy who was up there said "I've never shot a dog but if they aren't gone by tomorrow I will come down there and shoot them even if it's in front of the kids". I told both of them they will not do any of that and that I know my rights and I walked away. Should I get the police involved in this matter? Also what kind of payout are we talking about for this constant harassment? It will have to be substantial because I know going through with this, they will evict us and we will have to have enough money to find another place to stay. There is emotional distress here, threats, our kids ask us now if grown people have guns, they are scared. Let me know my options please and advice asap. Thank you!

Posted

I agree with my colleague. This is not a self-help situation. You need a lawyer. The North Carolina Bar Association can give you a referral: www.ncbar.org/

If we do not have a signed fee agreement I am not your attorney and this is not legal advice.

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3 comments

Asker

Posted

Would I have a case on harassment due to the fact that they have come on my property twice with weapons, in front of children who live here. Now the kids ask if grown people have guns when they see one around here and I am now stuck watching outside my door making sure no one is on the property. It's a very unsettling feeling and I do not like it at all. I can't even let the kids play outside without having to worry about someone coming around with a weapon.

Laura Mcfarland-Taylor

Laura Mcfarland-Taylor

Posted

I agree with my colleague's advice on the matter.

Asker

Posted

I am using this as my documentation of events. So 4 days ago Wednesday August 1, 2012. After being told do not come on the property, the same guy that was here with a sharp pipe threatening to kill my dog was walking around my property and driving a golf cart around the property trying to provoke me. I didn't say anything to him. Today August 5, 2012, another guy (they are all family) came to my front door and asked If I would walk with him to their shop that is near my house. I did. He wanted to show me a dead chicken. They want to blame it on my dog, even though they have no proof. We are out in the sticks, anything could have killed that chicken, sure my dogs were eating it, but it could have been dead before that. He then said again to me that "I better get rid of the dog, or he will shoot it and he doesn't care if he has to shoot it on my front porch, and that I told his son not to come on the property anymore, but they "own this place" and can do what they want" Then another guy who was up there said "I've never shot a dog but if they aren't gone by tomorrow I will come down there and shoot them even if it's in front of the kids". I told both of them they will not do any of that and that I know my rights and I walked away. Should I get the police involved in this matter? Also what kind of payout are we talking about for this constant harassment? It will have to be substantial because I know going through with this, they will evict us and we will have to have enough money to find another place to stay. There is emotional distress here, threats, our kids ask us now if grown people have guns, they are scared. Let me know my options please and advice asap. Thank you!

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