Many of you have asked me for an update on the lawsuits involving a local homeschooling family and their neighbors. (To catch up with the long version of what’s going on, read here.)
Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of what’s going on:
The Counts Family built a playhouse in their back yard which was approved by the city’s code enforcement and the HOA board. Their neighbors (The Wards) complained about having to hear the noise of the children playing on it during the day (to the HOA), but never to the Counts family. The neighbors decided to stop the children’s play time by blasting vulgar rap music (in excess of 80 decibels) when the children went into the back yard, not just when they used the playhouse, if the kids were outside the speakers blasting.
The Counts tried to talk to their neighbors, then called the police, and had their neighbors served with a Cease and Desist – none of which stopped the music. Finally, they filed suit against their neighbors for their harassing behavior. The neighbors retaliated with a lawsuit of their own insisting that the playhouse be moved (there is literally nowhere else in the yard to put it) and that the sound of playing children seriously reduces their quality of life.
Now you’re all caught up with everyone else.
Two weeks ago, the two neighbors went to court for a hearing to throw out the Ward’s case for procedural, as well as other, problems with their filing.
In court, the Wards complained about the harassment they had received from the media, co-workers, and people in their neighborhood. They complained about the microphones which had been shoved in their faces, and the envelopes full of glitter which had been sent to their home. (I’d like to meet the kind of people who respond to problems with glitter.) With the media outside, and Nancy Grace calling on the phone (really), the judge declined to throw it out, and ordered it to mediation instead.
That’s where it was until a few days ago when the whole thing took a grotesque turn. This past Wednesday morning, Mrs Counts opened her front door to the sight of a mutilated rat on her doormat. With the entrails and heart separated from the body, and the body cut into five pieces and arranged in the shape of an upside down star, it was clear that this was not the work of a stray cat. Someone cut up the animal elsewhere (there was no blood on the porch) and placed it there for the Counts family to find. While there is nothing definitive to link the neighbors to the dead rat, as the Wards’ attorney said about the glitter in court “it stretches the imagination to think that it’s not somehow related to the dispute.”
They have since had their house blessed, and put up security cameras on their property. The people who saw the poor animal say that it looks like an attempt at Black Magic or a curse on the family. As Mrs Counts said, it doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in that sort of thing, and whether or not it’s real. The fact is that it takes a very disturbed person to do this kind of thing to an animal, and that’s frightening all on its own.
Please pray for the safety of the Counts family and their dog, Bradley, and for the swift and just resolution to this case.