Power to the People
Don't Get Angry, Get Solutions
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Benjamin Franklin once said, “Anger is never without reason, but seldom with a good one.” Well, Ben never lived next to a constantly barking dog, drove over a canyon-size pothole or had the roots of a monkeypod tree snaking into his yard. Honoluluans have. But don’t pull your hair out just yet—we’ve found simple solutions to some of your most nagging, everyday problems.
The poi dog next door exercises his vocal chords 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.
“Call it to the owner’s attention first,” says Keoni Vaughn, the manager of field services at the Hawaiian Humane Society (HHS). “Sometimes the owners have no idea their dogs are barking when they’re gone.” If you haven’t had any success, call the HHS to report the situation. In order for your neighbor to be in violation of the animal nuisance law the dog must have barked continuously for 10 minutes, or intermittently for 30 minutes, unprovoked. The HHS will initially respond by sending a letter and educational materials for the owner. Additional complaints could lead to fines and an appearance in court. “We refer both parties to the Mediation Center of the Pacific as a good way to settle the problem,” says Vaughn. “Court should always be the last resort, because no matter how many tickets we write it doesn’t stop the dog from barking.” Visit www.hawaiianhumane.org or call 946-2187 for more information.
Is your dog the one doing all the barking? Don’t wait until your neighbors are fed up. Call the Animal Behavior Helpline at the Hawaiian Humane Society. Julie DeNucci, the organization’s animal behavior coordinator, advises owners that there is no such thing as barking without cause. “There must be a reason. Maybe it’s a territorial issue, or boredom or separation anxiety.” The amount of training your dog needs varies. “Sometimes it’s as simple as moving your dog into the house to give it a sense of security,” says DeNucci. “Other times it might take a professional trainer to find out what’s wrong.” For more information, call 942-7297.
You just sat down for dinner with the family when telemarketers call.
The National Do Not Call Registry can help. The Federal Trade Commission created the national registry in 2003; more than 157 million phone numbers are already registered. You can enter your number online at www.donotcall.gov or call (888) 382-1222 from the number you wish to register. After you register, the telemarketers have a 31-day grace period to take your number off their list. Here’s the catch: Calls from political organizations, charities and telephone surveyors will still be permitted. But at least you’ll be rid of the telemarketers, and if one calls again after the grace period, you can file a complaint online. Be sure to jot down the phone number of the caller and the date and time of the call.
Because your bus was late you missed the season premiere of Lost.
Alas, TheBus is, like all vehicles, dependent on traffic conditions. However, if your bus is extremely late, you can call 848-4500 to file a complaint. You might be surprised to learn that your bus is not late but that the timetable has been revised recently. You can also complain online at www.thebus.org under the link for “Customer Comments.” The online form requires the date, time and location of the incident. Or, vent via mail to Oahu Transit Service, 811 Middle St. Honolulu, HI 96819.
7 Steps to Take Someone to Small Claims Court
1. Study the law. Check and double check that you are legally correct before you file any kind of claim.
2. Make sure your claim can be filed in the Small Claims Division. Small Claims Court handles cases for the recovery of money or property worth less than $3,500 and cases to resolve disagreements over rental security deposits.
3. Pick up the “Statement of Claim and Notice” form. There are two different forms; one for disagreements about rental security deposits, one for everything else. You can pick up the forms at the Small Claims Division (District Court of the First Circuit, 1111 Alakea St. 3rd floor).
4. File your claim. After you’ve filled out the appropriate form, bring it back to the Small Claims Division. It will cost $35 to file your claim and the clerk will help you prepare the necessary papers. The clerk will also set a hearing date for you no less than five days or more than 30 days away.
5. Notify the defendant. The clerk will prepare the notice stating when the defendant needs to appear in court, but you are responsible for notifying the defendant. The simplest way may be to send the statement via registered or certified mail with return receipt requested. You will need to show the judge the receipt to prove that the defendant was properly notified.
6. Prepare for the hearing. Gather evidence that can help your case, any written contracts, letters, bills, or photographs. Interview possible witnesses to support your case.
7. Present your case. Make sure have an organized way to present your facts. There are no appeals in Small Claims Court so it’s important to tell the judge everything.
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