The barking of her neighbor's dogs was so bad that she began collecting evidence on tape. And when the dogs kept Seymour awake at night, she took the owners - and her tape - to livability court.
What is it? Charleston's new livability court is one of the unique courts in America, where neighbors can get Judge Michael Molony to moderate their disputes. Peter Van Sant reports.
'This is a big deal to y'all, and I'm going to give it my best effort to get it resolved," Molony tells Seymour and her neighbors. He suggests a muzzle to keep them quiet.
"A lot of the cases are 'Mickey Mouse,' if you will," the judge tells 48 Hours. "But they're only 'Mickey Mouse' to the people that are observing or may hear about them. They're not 'Mickey Mouse' when you're the person who lives next door to the barking dog."
For example, Suzanne Burbage's roaming labrador, Luke, likes to cruise the neighborhood by himself.
"He goes running around the neighborhood," Burbage says. "He likes to go swimming in the ponds, on the golf course. He he wouldn't hurt anybody."
Burbage's neighbors complained and she ended up in livability court for the second time in three months.
"This is a serious thing," the judge tells her. "How would you feel if the animal got loose and attacked a child across the street?"
So Burbage had her pet neutered because the vet said that would help keep him at home.
Isaac Greene had a different problem. His neighbors have taken him to court over what he calls a "little yard sale on Saturdays to help me out."
The judge thinks his means of making ends meet is too much for his neighbors.
"We're not out here to punish people," the judge tells Greene. "We're trying to clean up the problem. We're gonna get the city to help you remove all this stuff. All I ask is that you cooperate. Will you do that for me?"
Corporal Dan Riccio is livability court's enforcer. He investigates complaints and makes sure the judges orders are carried out. As for Greene's neighbors, Riccio says they "just want to live in a place where they don't have to worry about a bunch of trash everywhere."
He looks at the junk Greene has to clean up and then visits Seymour's neighbors with an order for muzzles for the barking dogs.
Judge Molony expects his livability court to catch on in other cities. "We are literally creating a better city," he says. "and doing it in a way that's professionally satisfying to me. I think it's going to be the wave of the future."
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