rusty truck

Nuisances

A nuisance is an activity that affects the right of an individual to enjoy the use of a specified property.

Examples of nuisances

Dogs

Dogs running loose should be reported to the Police Department at 952-938-8885.

Barking dogs can be a problem. Under Hopkins City Code 925.39, "any dog which shall, by any noise, unreasonably disturb the peace and quiet of any person in the vicinity..." would be considered a nuisance dog. This includes dogs that bark or whine repeatedly over a five-minute period of time. Complaints about barking dogs should be directed to the Police Department at 952-938-8885.

Graffiti

The City of Hopkins requires that graffiti be removed or painted over as soon as possible. Report graffiti or learn more about cleaning it up.

Noise

See Noise.

Property Maintenance

The City of Hopkins investigates complaints of situations that may involve a violation of City ordinances (i.e. exterior storage, junk vehicles, weeds).

Nuisance and Hazard Trees

A hazard tree is a danger to you or to a neighbor. The U.S. Forest Services says that a tree is a hazard if there are structural defects in the roots, stem, and branches that may cause the tree or tree part to fail, where such failure may cause property damage or personal injury. Said simply, a tree with structural problems is only a hazard if it has the potential to strike a “target.”

If a tree interferes with the free use and enjoyment of your own property, then the tree has become a nuisance. If the problem tree is on public property contact the Public Works Department at 952-939-1382.

If the problem tree is on private property then it is an issue between you and your neighbor. Talk to your neighbor and explain what you can see from your property. Their sightline view may not be the same, or it might be in a part of their yard they do not use frequently. Ask your neighbor to mitigate the risk the tree poses to your property. Take a photo of the tree and write your observations in a letter to your neighbor, and keep a copy for yourself. Consider having a certified arborist look at the tree to evaluate the risk. If a conflict arises, consider using a mediation service. To learn more about trees and the law, read about Minnesota Trees and the Law from the University of Minnesota.

Wild Animals

Wildlife sometimes causes problems for residents. Unfortunately the City of Hopkins does not have the resources to deal with wild animals.

For information about dealing with wild animals in Minnesota, read Living with Wildlife from the Department of Natural Resources. For complaints involving nuisance wildlife, consult a pest control agency or wildlife management service (listed in the Yellow Pages).

Feeding Wild Animals

Many people enjoy feeding wildlife because it allows them to have closer contact with these animals. Often, they think they are helping the animals to survive, especially in an urban environment. They could not be more incorrect. Wild animals that are in your neighborhood have
survived because there is available food, water, and shelter. Most urban wildlife eat a variety of vegetation and small vertebrates (such as mice) which are plentiful even in the most settled residential neighborhoods. If an animal is in your neighborhood, you can rest assured that there is plenty of food available, or the animal would simply not be living there. While feeding the animals can be fun for humans, it is usually detrimental for the animals, and will harm them more than it helps them.

  • When wild animals begin to depend on humans for food, their foraging skills may be diminished. When young wild animals are taught to depend on humans for food, they may become less
    experienced at foraging and consequently less likely to survive.
  • Wild animals that are used to being fed by humans commonly lose their fear of people. Wild animals do not usually discriminate between one human and another and will often start pestering
    other neighbors. They may also cause damage to homes and property because they expect to be fed and have lost their fear of people.
  • The food fed to animals by humans is inadequate nutritionally and can cause serious health problems for the animals, especially when they are young and still developing. Just like humans, most urban animals need a variety of foods in their diet, and if they fill up on "junk" food, they will not get the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
  • Animals (like humans!) are opportunistic and will go for the most convenient food source available. When food is readily available, animals will gather in abnormally large numbers. This
    means that if one animal in the group has an illness or disease, it can spread throughout the group. Many wild animals do not interact with others of their own species except during mating season and
    when raising their young. This is one way to limit diseases among a wild population. By gathering these animals together in unnatural groups, these diseases can spread much more quickly and can
    destroy a large number of animals
    .
  • Reproduction rates may also be affected when an artificial food source is readily available. In the wild, the number of animals being born is often directly related to the amount of natural food
    available. The number of animals surviving will also depend on how much food is available. This is nature's way of keeping a balance and making sure there are not too many animals in one area. When an unnatural food supply becomes available, animals may produce more young and soon there may be more animals living in the area than what the natural food sources can support. If that food source is no longer available, animals may starve to death.
  • Feeding migratory animals such as ducks, geese, and some passerines such as hummingbirds can interfere with the animal's awareness of seasonal changes in natural food supplies which tell the animal that it is time to migrate. This has been a large problem with Canada geese in some parts of the country, including Washington. Human food sources are so plentiful that some Canada geese no longer migrate but continue to reproduce to the point where they have been removed or killed because they have become such a nuisance.

Public vs. private nuisances

Generally speaking, the law recognizes two distinct types of nuisance: public and private.

Public nuisances

The City of Hopkins defines a public nuisance as "any substance, matter, emission, or thing which creates a dangerous or unhealthy condition or which threatens the public peace, health, safety, or sanitary condition of the City or which is offensive or has a blighting influence on the community and which is found upon, in, being discharged or flowing from any … property located within the City of Hopkins." (City Code section 615.02) The City can take action against public nuisances.

Private nuisances

A “private nuisance” is one that affects an individual’s right to enjoyment of some property or activity, but does not necessarily affect the community as a whole. For example, a large tree overhanging a neighbor’s yard may be a private nuisance where it affects the neighbor’s enjoyment and use of her backyard. The City cannot solve private nuisances. If talking to your neighbor does not help, mediation might be the answer. Visit Community Mediation Services, Inc or call 763-561-0033.

Contacts

  • City Hall
    952-935-8474
    1010 1st St S
    Hopkins, MN 55343
  • Have a question about a potential nuisance? Use the Ask the City contact form.