Need License to Spray Lawn - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Need License to Spray Lawn

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If you own a house with a lawn, you may hire someone to take care of it. Mow, maybe spray for bugs or a fungus. But, did you know they may have to be licensed, and if not, they could go to jail. And here is tonight's Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

WSVN -- Many families have traditions. An annual vacation, big holiday meals, relaxing Sunday dinners.

Andre Mills: "My dad was a fanatic for the yard."

Andre's father loved to keep his yard looking great. And a family tradition was everyone helping him.

Andre Mills: "My sister ran the lawn mower. My dad edged, and I would rake."

Years later, Andre's parents have passed away but she still lives in her family home and carries on that tradition of a beautiful lawn.

Andre Mills: "I take a lot of pride because my parents took a lot of pride."

But her pride was wounded a few days ago when a guy she hired to trim her trees said he noticed her grass had a fungus and for $45 he would spray to kill it.

Andre Mills: "He had something like a round gasket with a hose, and I said gosh he moved fast. So I paid him his money."

Two days later, some of that green grass started to disappear.

Andre Mills: "And I said, 'Oh, my God what happened.' The grass suddenly died, just died brown with some green."

Look at the pictures. Lines of brown grass where something was sprayed back and forth on the yard. In other parts, whole sections turned brown, irritating Andre, and in a way hurting her.

Andre Mills: "Every time I went to my backyard, all I could think about was my father."

She called the fellow who sprayed her yard.

Andre Mills: "He said, 'I didn't kill your grass.' I said, 'You had to, nobody else has been in my yard.'"

The sprayer wouldn't tell Andre what chemical he used on her yard, and wouldn't pay to replace it. So she had to spend the money for new grass.

Andre Mills: "He needs to pay me my expenses for ruining my grass. Whatever that was, he needs to pay me my expenses."

Well Howard, you hire someone who says they will kill a fungus in your yard, and instead they kill the grass. Are you out of luck?

Howard Finkelstein: "No, not at all. For a change, the law uses common sense. If the grass was green before he sprayed it and dead afterwards, the law presumes he was negligent and he has to pay to fix what he destroyed."

We spoke to the man who sprayed Andre's yard. He told us he has been doing this since 1982 and knows what he is doing, and that the lines of dead grass means that came from gas leaking from the mower of the man who cuts her grass since his sprayer covers the whole yard. When I checked with the state, they told us he was not licensed to use chemicals in Florida. He told me he worked under the license of a property maintenance company and sprayed Andre's yard in his spare time.

Howard says that's not legal.

Howard Finkelstein: "If you don't have your own license you can work for a company that has a license if you have been trained and have a state ID card. But, you can not moonlight on your own without a license. That's a crime and you can go to jail for 60 days for unlicensed pest control."

Andre Mills: "Over here I had to replace the whole section."

The state's agriculture department has now assigned an investigator to investigate the spraying of Andre's yard. And with the new sod, the yard that Andre's father took such pride in will soon look good again. And not soon enough for Andre.

Andre Mills: "Hopefully in two or three weeks it will be back to normal. I couldn't sleep at night, and I could not come out here when I saw it because I was so upset it really bothered me."

Patrick Fraser: "Can you spray chemicals in your own yard without a license? Absolutely. Can you spray your neighbors yard without a license? Sure, unless you charge them. In other words, if you are working on your own, you have to have a license to spray chemicals on someone's property."

Poor treatment poisoned your outlook. Want to spruce things up? Contact us.

We can mow problems down, till Howard runs out of gas.

Contact Help me Howard:

E-mail: Helpmehoward@wsvn.Com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.Com

Miami-Dade: 305-953-wsvn

Broward: 954-761-wsvn

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