Thursday, March 17, 2011


So, we've got a dilemma. Go figure.

There's this dog. Not our dog...though that's also a dilemma. This dog belongs (we think) to some neighbors. He has a collar but no tags, and we see him on their porch, so we assume he belongs there. This dog is a roamer. He is in our yard by 7am every morning, where he does his morning business and then pseudo-buries it like a cat in a litter box. So, not only is this dog crapping in our yard, he's then digging in our yard. He frolics across our lawn multiple times a day. Multiple times a day it torments Otis. Understandably. He also tends to lurk when S and I are outside playing, which, frankly, frightens me. I have no reason to suspect that the dog is anything but friendly, but that doesn't mean that I want a strange dog anywhere near my family. You don't hear stories about attack dogs mauling small children. You hear stories about dogs whose owners swear they're harmless mauling small children.

Here's the dilemma.

M wants to just call animal control. Let them come out and issue a warning or whatever it is that animal control does if you're found blatantly not in compliance with the law. I worry that will be bad. I tend to think we should go meet these people and explain the issue (you know...poop, digging, fear for my daughter's lovely face). I like to assume that they'd be reasonable. But maybe not. Maybe we'd be subjected to flaming bags of dog sh!+ on our front porch. Maybe these people are mafia.

Anyway, here's today's big question: would you try to contact the neighbors on your own, or would you refer it to the proper authorities?

We're at a loss for how to handle the situation, so I've decided to open it up for debate. Your participation in the debate is appreciated.

For the record, this dog has apparently been roaming the 'hood for a good long while. Either he only craps in ours, or no one else cares.


Just Another Idealist said...

I would definitely TRY to contact the neighbors on your own FIRST. In our neighborhood there are no fences, and ALL the dogs roam around in everyone else's yard & do their business anywhere they want. Everyone seems ok with it.
I would hope that if a neighbor wasn't ok with it, they would come talk to me (and the other dogowners) first. Because if they did, I would stop letting my dog wander.
Additionally, you OWN this house. The last thing you want is a hostile relationship with a neighbor. Calling without at least giving them the chance to remedy the situation first may result in bad blood. If they're jerks who don't care, they're jerks who don't care & you'll end up calling animal control anyway. But if they're reasonable people, I don't see the need to get the law involved.

Leslie said...

Yup, what JAI said. Try to take the high road and be neighborly. If that doesn't work, appeal to an authority.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I second what Just Another Idealist said.

Angie said...

I'm a little bit scarred from the time I tried to talk to a neighbor about her kids throwing trash in our yard and she totally denied it. I guess it was just the trash fairy. Anyway, I think going that route (talking to them first) makes the most sense, but it's not that much fun. Good luck - I hope you find nice, normal (clueless) people when you knock at their door! If not, it will be a good story at least.

feather nester said...

Yup, I stand by my initial feeling...that you should talk to them first. But, it occurs to me, the first introduction with them doesn't have to be about this. Your Southern. Go do your southern thing and introduce yourself as the newish neighbors and just feel them out. If they're creepy weird and you get a bad vibe, just call animal control. But if you feel like, "Aw, these are generally NICE people," maybe you'll feel like you really do want to give them a chance to make it right before involving the Law.

Paper Bird and Little Fairy said...

I guess you should ask them and feel them out, but I tend to agree with M on this one.


die Frau said...

I agree with JAI and Feather Nester--go the friendly route first, feel them out, and make your move. Either way, it could be dangerous for the dog to roam, too. They have to be responsible for him.

Va said...

Random comment first: love the banner picture. I normally read your blog on my iPhone so don't often see that....GREAT GLASS!

Second and to the post, although possibly late to the table:
I believe in community and talking with your neighbors. That said, just be prepared that you may not meet with someone who shares your views about responsibility.
Treat the world with kindness. (Which you always do anyway.) Know that you've done your best and then if that doesn't work you can go through "official" means.