KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Northland neighborhood has found itself at war with beavers, but that battle has uncovered a host of other legal issues involving the Wildwood West subdivision - which would seem to not have any legal owner.
The Missouri Department of Conservation says that the best way to solve the beaver solution is to trap and euthanize the animals, which wildlife officials say are so territorial that it’s almost impossible to relocate them.
But the department says that they can't do that because the land that the beavers have flooded with their dam is private property - and the question of who actually owns the land is causing as much of a problem as the beavers.
The beavers have managed to knock down every tree in the Wildwood West subdivision's large storm drainage basin, creating a dam that has blocked the water from draining and creating a small, dirty pond. Neighbors say that they want the problem fixed, but officials with the Department of Conservation and the city say that they have their hands tied.
"With private property, if there codes violations on there that are violations of the city's nuisance codes, you know the city holds the owner of the property or the occupant of the property responsible for making those corrections," said David Park of the Kansas City Missouri Neighborhood and Community Services Department.
But after hours of research, there still is no way to tell who actually owns the property. FOX 4 was unable to locate a working phone number for the original developer of the property, and a property search lists it as managed by a homeowners association - an HOA that residents in the subdivision say that they knew nothing about.
Adding to the mystery is that the HOA is listed under a company whose president plead guilty in February to embezzling $750,000 from dozens of other HOA's.
"It's sickening and amazing that he could get away with something like that," said homeowner Shannon White. "We had heard stories that somebody took the money and ran from our HOA, but we didn't have an HOA, so I'm just kinda confused about it all. But its very amazing, that's a lot of money."
The Wildwood West subdivision was not named in documents provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the indictment of HOA embezzler Dale Palmer. The city says that they are looking into the issue, and it's possible that the basin could be declared abandoned property - which would allow wildlife officials to come in and remove the beavers.