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Trempealeau family loses appeal aimed at using noisy cannons to scare birds



Appeals judges in Wisconsin have ruled that an area family does not have a “vested right” to shoot off loud cannons on their property, to scare away birds. 

The 3rd District court of appeals rejects arguments by the Wendell Klein family of Trempealeau that local ordinances limiting the ability to use “scare guns” are directed specifically at them. 

Neighbors have accused the Kleins of using the cannons to harass them, and of other activities to intimidate critics.  The family argues that the noisy, propane-powered cannons have been used to chase birds away from their farm for years.

The Town of Trempealeau passed an ordinance in 2013 to require a permit to use scare guns, and the Kleins challenged that rule in court. The ruling this week came in a court challenge of a second ordinance from 2017, outlawing scare guns in Trempealeau.  

The family argues that their farm business is threatened by birds causing damage to their crops.


A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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