Legal Corner: Construction lighting is disturbing my residence, is there an ordinance?

Legal Corner: Late night construction lighting is disturbing my residence, is there an ordinance?

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Submit your questions to news@kplctv.com. Civil matters only, please.

QUESTION: “Who do I complain to about constant dogs barking all hours night and day? There’s no one living there – just four dogs. I’ve contacted animal control several times, but I haven’t seen any progress?”

ANSWER: To clarify – incessant or late-night barking is definitely a violation of the Parish’s “Nuisance Animal” statute. Section 5-43 defines a nuisance animal in several ways, one of which is in Section 43(a)3: one that “Barks, whines or howls in an excessive, continuous or untimely manner.” It also has fines for each violation, with the penalty for the 4th offense being impoundment of the animals.

Although no one lives there, the owner of the property is the one to be held responsible for activities there. So, contacting the owner and seeing if the owner can or will remove the dogs is the first suggestion.

If that fails, then we suggest that the viewer gather evidence to present to the enforcement officer. So, what the viewer should do is (1) tape or record the dogs barking, being sure the time of day is noted, (2) tape/record the dogs every time they bark after hours or during the night, with proof it is on a different day each time, and (3) be ready to hand over (or email) copies of the dogs barking to the officer, so as not to lose your original recordings. That should be enough, but if a hearing is required, you may also need to testify.

QUESTION: “I’m very excited and a fan of the expansion of LC, but the hotel construction taking place at 12:02 a.m. with stadium lights blaring into my house is disturbing. After a call to city police, the construction workers tilted on of two sets of the lights ever so slightly, still leaving my home lit up. Isn’t there an ordinance?”

ANSWER: One of the side effects of economic boom is these types of “growing pains”! According to the city’s attorneys, there are noise ordinances, but no lighting ordinances. If you believe the work and the inconvenience will carry on more than a few days, their suggestion is to (similar to the other viewer) gather evidence of your claim.

However, this will have to be handled in a civil capacity, possibly in the form of filing an injunction under a nuisance theory. It would also be wise to check with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing the same issue, and ask if they would be open to pooling everyone’s resources to file the injunction (a “strength in numbers” approach).

QUESTION: “My mother has Alzheimer’s. Before it got bad she gave power of attorney to my sister. My sister has been running my mother’s life ever since. My sister will not share any information with me about my mother. What can I do?”

ANSWER: The sister is not obligated to report to the viewer, but, if she is on the up and up, she should have no reason to conceal her activities.

Louisiana Revised Statute 9:3851 allows certain persons who are close to the principal to demand a review of the acts of the agent. If the court finds that the agent has violated a duty, the court can order relief various relief such as rescinding the power of attorney, collecting funds due to the principal, court costs and attorney fees etc.

However, in order to be successful, the viewer would have to show that the sister is violating a duty. (see https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=918773 ) As always, start by asking. If she does not voluntarily give you information, then have her explain why she is refusing in a letter. If that does not work then go and talk to an attorney and see if the costs of litigating are worth it to you.

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