Dealing with Inhumane/Incompetent Landlord?

By Alley


I’m deeply, deeply concerned about my animals and their safety.

I own four rabbits, all are caged and not let out without supervision and they’re usually in a puppy cage if they’re let out so they can’t sneak off. I’ve owned rabbits for eleven years now.

I recently moved in with a relative(Great Aunt), and it just so happens that her(and now my) Landlord is also my Grandmother. She let me move in knowing I had four rabbits and a cat, and she told me she was okay with it all as long as the rabbits didn’t damage anything. Of course my rabbits can’t because I don’t let them run around all over the place, but for some reason she thought my house rabbits were staying outside.

She NEVER mentioned this. It was one day I went over to her house that she told me she wanted me to put the rabbits outside in a dilapitated little barn that’s built off to house. It was dead winter and I told her that I would not do that because the condition of the barn was appaling and unfit for any animal. I asked her why she would even consider putting them out there…

She told me she called a bird feed store and asked them if rabbits could live outside and if they could be up out in a barn. This guy said yes. And in Maine, people that work at these stupid little feed stores are complete uneducated hicks and he even told my Landlord that there was no such thing as ‘House Rabbits’ or ‘Rabbits living in the house’. I told her that I will not allow my rabbits to freeze to death and get eaten alive by wild animals that got into the barn, because they were pets and family members. And I walked out.

She contacted me again later on and said that if I didn’t keep my part of the house clean then she was going to kick me out or get rid of my rabbits herself. I had no problem with cleaning because.. seriously… I kept my place clean as it was so I said okay. And she said the rabbits were only going to stay inside until mid-spring, when it warms up.

Now let me explain the barn that she wants me to keep my rabbits in.

This barn use to house horses back in 1972 when my mom lived there. This barn is not on a foundation, it’s on cinderblocks and rocks that are lifting it a good six to seven feet off the ground and it has some iron support beams under it as well. They lifted this barn over twenty years ago, and over the years with not support under the building in some parts this barn has completely fallen apart. The whole back side of the barn is gone, and about ten feet of the floor nearby is completely gone as well. This section of the barn that fell off is about three to four feet off the ground, and quite often wild animals like foxes, raccoons, and feral cats get into the barn. From time to time I even have to chase these animals out of the barn, so I’ve seen them. I’m not just assuming at this point.

This barn is dirty, completely unsanitary(I understand barns are naturally dirty anyway) but this barn, for the past 13 years, before I moved in has been used as a storage space for one of my Grandmother’s sons. Where he put dirty oil tanks and other such things. There is only a two foot space to walk anywhere inside the barn, everything else is filled with dirty and oily junk. There’s not secure place to put my domestic rabbits in safely.

Not to mention, but the neighbors next door have a hunting dog they let run loose and that dog has gotten into the barn as well.

I’ve tried to explain all these things to my Grandmother, but she won’t accept its like she’s completely oblivious to the danger that could very well kill or harm my pets. I don’t have the money to spend on an outside hutch, my rabbits cannot be exposed to the elements. My rabbits wouldn’t be able to handle living outside, no matter the season. Each season brings different illnesses and dangers and I can cannot afford to take care of rabbits that get sick because they’re outside and the illnesses that that come with the seasons often kill rabbits, my rabbits have never been outside and always have been inside house rabbits and one of them is just really old and fragile.

So I’m at a loss of what to do…

I guess don’t really know my rights, but my father pointed out that I never signed a contract so he said I was at the mercy of my Grandmother.

I was considering contacting the police or animal control if I was forced to put them out there. Or talk to the police and get something that might help me out, but I’m not sure what that would be or how to really do it.

The livestock laws in the state of Maine require that proper shelter be supplied to the animal(s), and with the barn in it’s current condition I do not think it’s suitable but like I said I told that to my Grandmother and she told me ‘I don’t care, I don’t want those rabbits in the house.’ I’ve even tried to educate her about my house rabbits, but she doesn’t like to learn about things she doesn’t care about or know.

Any advice anyone can offer please? I am planning to move, but I’m completely unable to move until late August and I fear that if I’m forced to put them outside they’ll all fall vicitm to the illnesses and wild animals due to them only having cages that were built to keep the rabbit inside, not keeping animals out from getting my rabbits(I have marchioro cages) or if I don’t put them outside she’ll make me get rid of my pets.

There’s no way to secure the barn or even part of the barn, I’m not going to put my money into a piece of land or a house that I don’t even own when I never damaged it. There’s not even electricity running through this barn anymore.

I’m at my wit’s end, and with Spring coming along I’m becoming more and more stressed out. Being a full time college student I really don’t need to have this added stress of worring about long time pets being ripped apart by dogs or foxes that wander into the barn.

Edited on: Monday, July 23rd, 2012 12:51 am

One Response to “Dealing with Inhumane/Incompetent Landlord?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


October 19th, 2012 10:23 pm

A written contract is not necessary when the implied agreement is what counts. The grandmother had no problem in the beginning. She is wrong and a complaint should be filed so that a third party can verify the inplied law.


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