Seagull Scenario

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Larus, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Larus

    Larus New Member

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    I am inspired by riverrat's scenarios to come up with one of my own. For this scenario, I think I've also been inspired by watching too much crime dramas on TV :) "Larus" is the genus name for some American seagulls, so I am calling it a "seagull scenario" instead of "rat scenario". Here goes:

    You are a new beekeeper in an urban area. Being a good neighbor, you put screens around your hives to direct their flight path away from your immediate neighbors' yards, put a water source in your yard so your bees don't go for the neighbor's kiddie pool, and send a letter to your next door neighbors telling them that you intend to keep bees this year, describing the benefits of bees to their gardens and to the ecosystem in general, and outlining the measures you will take to prevent your bees from being a nuisance.

    In response, one of your neighbors writes you a letter. She tells you that she is severely allergic to bee stings, and asks you to refrain from putting beehives in your yard. However, there's not much time left til your bees arrive, you've spent months building equipment (some of it from scratch), and you have no other viable options for where to put the hives, and not much time to look for such options. Since the law allows you to keep bees in your yard, you explain to your neighbor that a bee that flew a mile to get to her backyard is just as (un)likely to sting her as a bee that flew 50 yards. You emphasize how unlikely it is that she will ever get stung by a honeybee, from your hive or anyone else's hive, but assert that it is legal for you to keep bees, and proceed to put the beehives in your yard.

    Some time after you hive your packages of bees, your neighbor does get stung by a stinging insect (a bee, a hornet, a bumblebee - who knows)? She goes to see a doctor, who treats her for an allergic reaction to the sting.
    It turns out your neighbor has a friend in the county's D.A. office who presses criminal charges. The charges assert that your neighbor warned you (in writing) that your action of keeping bees would endanger her, but you went ahead anyway. You are under arrest for reckless endangerment of human life. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say (e.t.c., e.t.c.).

    Two questions:
    1) What should one do to avoid such a scenario?
    2) Having found oneself in such a scenario, what can one do to defend oneself (i.e. what can you tell the judge to defend yourself against the charge of recklessly endangering your neighbors)?
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Things can get much worse than your seagull scenario. I guess at some point they ain't really scenarios???

    The really calls for a lawyer I would think... which I ain't. However you acted in a prudent manner and the mechanism of the bite or sting is unclear. Even if it was established (likely difficult) that it was a sting, how can anyone make a positive connection to your bees. The culprit could just as likely be a feral hive or ground nesting yellow jacket <typically close to the stinging incident.

    what to do... put the bees out in the country and out of sight. the benefit to the beekeeper is the scenery is wonderful out here.
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    The law is on your side (legal to keep bees), you are innocent until proven guilty. Can she identify what stung her, if it was a honey bee,did she do something to provoke the bee. Can she prove it was your bee.You made all the neighbors aware that you were getting bees and were taking precautions to keep them from being a problem.Then i might threaten to counter sue for harassment. The burden of proof is on her not you. Jack
    PS. you were falsely arrested under false pretenses. (no proof) Then i would sue. :thumbsup:
     
  4. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

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    When I moved to Tulsa Ok. and ended up in sub division, I contacted the head of the HOA and explained that I had two hives in my back yard. I provided a copy of the state Bee law that stated that beekeeping was allowed statewide and that county/city ordanaces could not forbid the keeping. The head of HOA said no problem that they had large flower/vegi gardens and welcomed the bees. The word about my bees was not passed around and it was 6 months before one of my neighbors saw the hives and the next soonest was 8 months.
    Point #1 is I did not ask IF I could have bees, I just did it because it was legal
    Ref to question #2 I would get legal rep. for false arrest and require proof that it was a honeybee sting and/or that it was MY bee. If not a hbee sting then counter sue for wrongfull arrest. Jim
     
  5. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    some times its best to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. You didnt say how severe her reaction is or the amount of treatment required. Everyone has allergic reactions to stings it could be as simple as some minor redness and itch all the way to anaphylactic shock. The law says you can keep bees. If it doesnt have an specifications in the law that would deviate for neighbors who have declared allergies. Which I highly doubt. I dont see a DA taking a case like this to court a good attorney will send him packin with his tail between his leg he didnt have to stand on.
     
  6. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I might add I like the idea of others posting some scenarios keeps us thinking :thumbsup:
     
  7. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    I think in this scenario, all precautions were made. Perhaps I would've gotten an epi-pen for her and myself as an extra measure.

    How does she even know it's a bee, let alone one of yours? I don't see how they can prove it. Since she has been stung before (because she said she had a bee allergy) you even had bees, how can she prove it??

    I mean, if she had a deathly allergy, I would think she would've keep the epi-pen around anyway.
     
  8. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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    I liked Bsweet's answer.
    1) However, IF I decided to discuss my decisions with my neighbors I would speak to them in person (maybe bring a gift, perhaps some honey :) ) and I would do that before I was certain of my decision.

    2) Jack and Bsweet answered the legal question pretty much the same way that I would've.