In the book Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, one of the main conflicts is that Mullet Fingers (whose real name is Napoleon Leep) is trying to stop construction on a Mother Paula's restaurant. He is trying to protect the burrowing owls that live on the property. His methods for stopping construction include vandalism. When Officer Delinko is called to investigate, he becomes a victim of the vandalism when Mullet Fingers spray paints the windows of his cruiser black.
Roy becomes intensely curious about Mullet Fingers, the boy he sees running barefoot in chapter one. His curiosity attracts the attention of Beatrice the Bear (Beatrice Leep) who is Mullet Fingers' step-sister. She demands to know why Roy is interested in Mullet Fingers. She decides she can trust Roy with the truth. Her step-brother is a runaway.
When Roy finds out about the owls on the construction site, he wants to help Mullet Fingers stop construction. However, he doesn't agree with Mullet Fingers' methods of vandalism. Mullet Fingers pulls up the survey stakes, places alligators in the portable toilets, and collects snakes to scare away the guard dogs on the property in an effort to stop construction. Roy wants to find a legal way to help the owls.
With the help of his father, Roy learns that all construction sites are required to keep copies of environmental impact reports on the site. This report is missing from the Mother Paula's site. Both Curly and his supervisor Chuck Muckle deny the existence of the report. Roy finds a copy of the report at the courthouse. This document is what enables Officer Delinko to arrest Chuck Muckle. Roy explains the situation at the groundbreaking ceremony and wins the support of the townspeople and mayor. Construction of the restaurant on that site is stopped.