A public nuisance is an act or process that interferes with a community’s enjoyment of a land, area, or region. It may include anything that disturbs the health and safety of a community of people. It can also include things that are not particularly unsafe or unhealthy, but annoy the general public and keep people from being comfortable in a community.
Nuisances can be divided into two categories. One is a public nuisance and the other is a private nuisance. A private nuisance may interfere with the health or comfort of just one person or several people. A public one, on the other hand, affects everyone in a community or most of the people who live, work, or do business there.
There are many different types of behavior, acts, and processes that can be considered public nuisances. For example, a person may decide to take his clothes off and bathe in a public creek within sight of his neighbors, causing a public nuisance. Another person may own a large, aggressive dog and allow him to exit the house unleashed. If he intimidates neighbors and other dogs, biting them or even just growling and acting as if he will bite, this is another example of this type of act. Sometimes a person may be accused of being a public nuisance not because of his behavior but because of the manner in which he cares for his property, allowing trash and junk items to build up on or around it.
In some cases, a business may be accused of being a nuisance. For example, if a business moves into a quiet residential area and causes hours of noise, this may be considered a nuisance. The same goes for a business that exhausts noxious fumes into the air or brings entertainment many people consider unsavory to an area. A new strip club, for example, may be called a public nuisance if its neighbors believe it makes the area unsafe or interferes with the community's general comfort.
Things that illegally block free passage in an area or community count as public nuisances as well. For example, if a person places objects on a road, making it impossible for others to pass through, this act may be considered a public nuisance. A company that pollutes a river or any other body of water, making its water unsafe for humans and animals, fits this definition as well.