Ask the Mayor: Is it Legal for a Pet Grooming Van to Leave its Engine Running?

April 13, 2015, 7:04 AM HST · Updated April 19, 1:52 PM
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Buckley, the Dog of the Week at the Maui Humane Society. He's also known as "#27," which makes me sad, but I already have a dog: arguably one dog too many. Courtesy photo.

Is it legal for a mobile pet grooming service to leave their engine running for two hours, parked on the street in a residential neighborhood? MHS courtesy photo.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Mr. Mayor:

Q: Is it legal for a mobile pet grooming service to leave their engine running for two hours, parked on the street in a residential neighborhood? The noise and stink of exhaust fumes from the van’s motor were choking out the neighborhood on a Sunday morning, and the van wasn’t even parked on their client’s driveway but on the roadway. It wouldn’t be so bad if, like mobile carpet cleaning operations, they came once in a blue moon, but this mobile pet grooming service comes to the same house every couple weeks for about two hours each time. Besides being a huge nuisance for the neighbors, is this even legal? Thanks for looking into this.

A: This is a rather complex situation. While the pet grooming van (or other mobile service vehicles, for that matter) may be providing a useful service for your neighbor, according to Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes section 264-101, it is not allowed to cause a hazardous condition or public nuisance.

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The vehicle’s exhaust and noise could be viewed as a public nuisance, but the term is rather broad in its scope. It is defined by the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court as “that which unlawfully annoys or does damage to another, anything that works hurt, inconvenience, or damage, anything which annoys or disturbs one in the free use, possession or enjoyment of his property or which renders its ordinary use or physical occupation uncomfortable and anything wrongfully done or permitted which injures or annoys another in the enjoyment of his legal rights.”

Additionally, a public nuisance “must occur in a public place, or where the public frequently congregates, or where members of the public are likely to come within the range of its influence.”

If after reading all that you still feel the van is a “public nuisance,” it would probably be a good idea to talk with your neighbor first before calling the police or filing a complaint with the county.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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