In literature, there is a conflict type called ‘Character vs Technology.’ Reality, on the other hand, is frequently stranger than fiction. Today we have a story about a battle between an animal and technology for you. More precisely, between a dog and a drone. In this story a man’s neighbor repeatedly harassed his dog with his new drone. Read the whole story to know who won between the dog and the drone and share your thoughts on this.
Not sure what to do. Earlier today my neighbor came pounding on my door screaming obscenities and shouting at me. When I finally got him to stop yelling I found out that he was flying his drone in my backyard again and this time my dog finally managed to catch it and destroy it. He claims this was a $900 drone and I had to pay him right then and there. I refused and closed the door in his face. A couple hours later police showed up to retrieve the drone; it was still in my yard, but my dog completely ignored it once it stopped buzzing; and ask about the situation. The said neighbor called them stating that I refused him access to my yard to get it. That’s not true, he never asked.
I’m worried the neighbor will try to press charges against me for destruction of property or sue me. Will he have any legal standing if this does go to court?
He has a history of flying his drone low over my yard to tease my dog. I have asked him to stop several times, which he always refuses telling me that I don’t own the air above my yard. I have called the police to complain once before, he was doing “fly bys” over my dog and getting very close to hitting him. The police didn’t say he couldn’t fly it in my yard but did ask him to stop doing so in order to avoid conflict. That only seemed to egg him on.
A small update to my neighbor flying his drone in my backyard and attacking my dog:
I was served a summons by a Sheriff’s Deputy, neighbor decided to take me to Small Claims over his drone. My MIL is a paralegal secretary, so I was able to get a free consultation with a lawyer where she works to ask some questions about what to bring and how to prepare. He seemed genuinely amused that my neighbor was even trying to sue. He also suggested I counter sue and how I could possibly add in more damages.
He also told me that my neighbor and I technically live within 5 miles of an airport, and even though it doesn’t have a tower technically that falls under FAA regulations. I called the hotline from google and spoke to them about my neighbor’s hobby of flying out of line of sight, flying several thousand feet in the air, flying near an airport and made an inquiry into if he was registered to fly drones, saying he owned two very large drones (he already bought a new one, this one is almost 5′ across). I don’t know the weight of his, but it definitely is at least a few pounds. They took my information and have called me back once, so I know they’re investigating but don’t know anything else. Not sure if they’ll tell me anything anyways.
I brought both police reports to court, as well as several photos of my backyard, photos of our shared 8′ high privacy fence, medical bills for my dog, and a few short videos I had of him doing fly bys over my dog in the past. His main argument to the judge was that I “maliciously installed a table to allow my dog to jump high enough to catch his drone, which I (somehow) trained him to do”. Which, yes I had recently bought a new picnic table, but only so I have somewhere to sit and eat outside. I argued that his flying was causing my dog anxiety and that’s what provoked it, and thanks to y’alls advice, that my dog could have potentially died from ingesting part of the drone or if the drone hit him. In the end, he now has to pay me just under $2,000 for various vet bills (xrays, dental exams, sedation, medication etc). He is also banned from flying over my property, and I installed trail cams front and back yards just in case. He seems pretty upset with me, so I wanted to be careful.
The only thing that could make this better is if the FAA finds a reason to fine him or take away his drones.