Disabled woman burdened by neighbor's bird feeders

“One of the problems that I'm running into with the Elkhart city, is the fact that they have codes that they don't want to enforce,” Barbara Payton explains.  

Payton has lived in this home for forty years.  

In 2019, Payton started to experience health problems which led to her losing part of her leg.   

“I've been disabled, since 2019. Things are, it’s really hard for me to get around. But I still manage.”  

Now she faces a new problem, the birds.  

“My neighbor installed nine bird feeders in the front of their home. It was every day, going out sweeping the porch three, four times a day, I had bird poop, completely covering the porch, the birds ended up on the railing of the porch, on the outside of the porch, on the edge of the porch. They were everywhere.”  

Payton says conditions became unsanitary around her home and unsafe.  

“They would also fly directly across my top step to get to the bird feeders. So that kind of stopped me from actually going out, trying to go down the stairs because I deemed it as being unsafe. The birds I mean, they're just like all over. I've seen that movie the birds and I've never seen anything else like it until now.”  

After Payton says she tried to resolve the problem with her neighbor and got nowhere – she notified city code enforcement.  

“The most recent conversation that I had with the city, I was told that we were out 45 minutes, we didn't see any violations. And so, we can't do anything.”  

I decided to look over Elkhart city codes myself. I couldn’t find anything that deals with bird feeders or birds but did find this code under public nuisances which might apply. 

Elkhart Code 99.07 B-15 

Any matter which attracts or may attract rodents, insects, domestic or wild animals in such a manner as to create a health hazard or unsanitary or dangerous condition.  

Just look at what we found outside Payton's house.  

Bird feces on her porch, dead rodents in front of her home on the sidewalk, and birds flying to the bird feeders from her property.  

We counted four bird feeders at Neighbor's house.  

“The fact that they have codes that they want to enforce. Even though I have presented them a note from my doctor, that state that you know, I have a very compromised immune system and I have to be very, very careful breathing and being around this type of environment.”  

We reached out to code enforcement who told me I had to contact the mayor’s office.  

We had an interview scheduled with their office which they canceled. They did not respond to our request to reschedule. 

“Well, let's see. I think I've called the mayor's office probably about four times now. And each time I've never gotten a response.” 

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