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Throwing Poop, Flaming Poop Pranks: What Can Happen?

By Brett Snider, Esq. on June 19, 2014 10:15 AM

Monkeys throw poop, and who doesn't love that? But there might be some legal consequences when you, a human, start flinging doodoo into someone's yard.

Take San Marino, California, Mayor Dennis Kneier's ordeal as a cautionary tale. Kneier was caught on surveillance video allegedly tossing dog poop onto a neighbor's walkway, reports Los Angeles' KNBC-TV. To be fair to Kneier, the doggie doodie was in a closed dog-poo bag, but the victim was still steamed over the steamer left on his property.

So legally, what can happen when you thrown poop into someone's yard as a prank?

Doggie Doos and Dont's

Unless you live in a major urban area, the poop you are likely to encounter in your yard is most likely to be of the canine variety. But that doesn't mean your dog's molehill of feces can't turn into a mountain of legal issues.

Many condominiums and home owners associations (HOAs) have gotten wise to the poop tactics of many dog owners, who may accidentally or intentionally leave their dogs' poop on a neighbor's lawn. But these poopetrators should know that DNA technology exists to track the dookie to its source. Neighbors may use this evidence in order to file trespassing charges or enforce disciplinary measures laid out by a condo or HOA.

Then again, if an innocent poop on a neighbor's lawn turns into a smelly habit, you may end up with an irate neighbor who comes over to your house. And those altercations tend to go poorly.

For Poo Pranks, Criminal Charges Are Possible

Mayor Kneier claims his dog doo caper was "a mistake," but the victim believes it was retaliation for the "no poop zone" signs in his yard -- and his opposition to the mayor's dog park proposal, reports KNBC.

Retaliatory or not, any type of prank involving fecal matter would likely fall under your state's vandalism statute.

In most states, if you leave a flaming bag of poo on your neighbor's doorstep, you're only likely to be charged with a misdemeanor. A judge may not recommend jail or fines; you may only be required to clean up your dirty deeds.

Although you may not be facing major jail time for your poop-related pranks, the "stain" on your record may have other consequences. According to The Associated Press, Mayor Kneier announced his resignation shortly after the poop-throwing scandal.

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