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Situation with neglected neighbor dogs

 
gardener
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I'm really at a loss here and hoping someone has a solution or at least some helpful perspective. Our neighbors are not responsible to or for their animals. Their two dogs, who are very active by nature, are kept penned up in a small kennel 24/7. They don't walk them or let them out. They bark endlessly at passers by on the public foot path next to the house. I don't mind the noise, more the reminder that these poor dogs are being neglected and unable to exercise and play like they need to. Naturally, the dogs escape every chance they get, which is increasingly often, multiple times a week. We have caught and returned their dogs more times than I can count, often at times and in situations that were very inconvenient for us. Other neighbors have done the same. One of the dog's has been injured from her hijinks. Their people seem not to care or make any real effort to give the dogs what they need to stop escaping. Frankly, I feel like I'm betraying the dogs by taking them back when I catch them in my yard, but don't know what else to do.

I am becoming concerned too because these dogs have a serious drive to chase things and I fear they will start harassing our chickens. The birds are in a cattle panel high tunnel, covered with hardware cloth. So it's unlikely the dogs could actually get to them, but I fear they're wound up enough to try and either way, it would certainly stress the chickens. We would like to eventually have a fenced area the chickens could go into while we are outside with them, but with these dogs (and their cats, too) loose, I fear we will never be able to do that safely.

I really don't know what to do. Talking to these people seems useless and possibly dangerous. We tried that with their cats that constantly wander over here and immensely stress out our cat and kill wild birds. I worry about them hurting the chickens too. They started yelling at us and said that if I asked them to control their animals anymore or called animal control, they would retaliate in some fashion. I really don't know how to deal with that kind of behavior. But I know I don't like just letting them cross all my boundaries either.

These are sweet dogs and they deserve so much better. I realize that if animal control becomes involved, there is a strong likelihood of the dogs being killed, since our shelters here are beyond full. I absolutely do not want that. It isn't the dogs' fault and they shouldn't be punished.

We don't have the ability to build a fence around the whole property right now, as we have many projects we need to be working on. Even if we could, I don't know that it would help,  as these dogs are pro fence jumpers and diggers. It would have to be six feet or more to even stand a chance, and that height is not permitted on the side facing the road, which is right across from the dogs' house. Not much point making a fence if they can jump the most accessible portion.

We have to find a way to keep our chickens safe and be able to give them the extra space they deserve. Some way to help these dogs have a better life too would be ideal. If anyone has suggestions about how to handle this, I would be most appreciative.
 
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Yikes, Heather. That sounds like a pretty tough spot to be in. If there are other neighbors also struggling with their irresponsibility, maybe a peaceful gathering with those other neighbors, to assess the situation could help. There would, of course need to be great care, to not let it turn into a 'mob', but to stay focused on conflict resolution. If you could, as a group, find a way to approach these folks, it would be far more difficult for them to exact "retaliation", and might help solve the issue.
 
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I would talk to the people again, and just tell them that the next time the dogs are in your yard you will call the Sheriff's Department. I wouldn't call Animal control right off, and the Sheriff is the elected county arbiter of conflict. Just mentioning the Sheriff may make them pay attention, but if it doesn't a report on file helps the next time.

A few years ago the neighbor across the road from me shot their own dog, I heard it making a horrible noise. But to be honest I thought that they had shot something that was after their pets. But a couple days later I was at the end of our road and found their dog limping around with a bullet in her hip, the dog wouldn't let me catch her so I just went over to the neighbors and confronted him. I was very aggressive, I am not a small man and I build houses for a living (strong enough). The guy started babbling about his wife shooting the dog because it wouldn't quit getting the the trash or something. I told him that is one thing to kill an animal but an entirely different thing to wound a dog and leave it to wander around in pain.

Long story short, they went and picked up the dog and had a vet patch her up. I guess they kept it, they moved shortly after that, and we never heard anything else from them. In hindsight, maybe I should have called the Sheriff.

I tend to deal with situations head on. It may be a fault.
 
pollinator
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This probably isn’t the answer for most people, but with most loose dogs that get onto my farm, I simply capture them and either take them to the shelter or give them away to a new home someplace else.  I won’t rehome a neighbors dog that just happened to get loose, but if the dog is constantly loose because the owner won’t keep it confined, then it’s fair game. Then I play dumb just in case it was a neighbor’s.

An answer that won’t work for you but it did for me…..I got a donkey who hated loose dogs. She has killed several over the years. . They are always hunting dogs going after my sheep. The donkey runs them down and kills them. Sounds brutal, but pre-donkey I had dozens of sheep maimed and killed by hunting dogs.  Plus two horses killed by those dogs too.

Over the years I have caught a few stray dogs that were apparently abandoned on my dead-end road. I re-homed them. If I were you, I’d quietly rehome them.
 
pollinator
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Rehoming is 100% the way to go. No particular reason that anyone needs to know who did it.

Around here, enough people will shoot a loose dog that there are never loose dogs. When a perpetually chained and neglected dog escaped, it got lucky and went right to the shelter..

It is the owners responsibility to contain their dogs, or lose them. They have blown off many warnings, so..

If shelters are overfull, are there other states with a dog deficit? I see dogs for adoption near me that have come from all over, but I don't know the mechanisms..


Cats are different.. I would have laughed at someone if they had asked me to fence in my cat, and taken horrible disproportionate vengeance if they hurt or catnapped him... Containing a cat outdoors in a way that allows them to do their job (rodent control) is impossible, imo. Anything a cat can hurt, a mink or coon can kill quicker.. so protection is required anyhow..

My neighbours cat was a bully, but he didn't come into the core area to hassle my cat after I repeatedly chased him with a cordless skillsaw... I made sure my neighbours knew that I was scaring him off but wouldn't harm him, but my neighbours are not like yours..

Good luck!
 
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Maybe the two neighbours dogs are more guard dogs, since they are barkers and nearby is the pedestrian path.
If that is the case then it might mean the owners are fearful of people or strangers, or are doing activities that they are not meant to be doing etc and the dogs keep them vigilant.

If the dogs want out, then see if they can be adopted, e.g you dont return them next time they get out.

Or/and you might want to get to know you neighbours, the people who lock their dogs up.
They may be naive about now to care for dogs, and may benefit from some tips.
They may have a mental illness or other challenges that distract them from following through on daily functionality with walking or caring, so it may not be their intention to be harmful, or neglectful.




 
pollinator
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Another vote for rehoming. The shelters here can't keep up with the demand for dogs, so you might just have to look a little farther afield if your area's shelters are all full.
 
D Nikolls
pollinator
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Joyce Harris wrote:
Or/and you might want to get to know you neighbours, the people who lock their dogs up.
They may be naive about now to care for dogs, and may benefit from some tips.
They may have a mental illness or other challenges that distract them from following through on daily functionality with walking or caring, so it may not be their intention to be harmful, or neglectful.


This is a very generous way to see it, and probably says nice things about you, Joyce. But... I really don't think it is advisable for someone to get to know people that have threatened them in any way. Not worth the risk in my opinion.

Whether mentally ill, criminals, or just clueless jerks, they have communicated that they are people to distrust and avoid, and I tend to believe people who communicate that to me.
 
pollinator
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Whether cat, dog or rhinoceros, it is, in my opinion (and in many places the actual LAW) that you "control" your animals, period.

It is also ones responsibility, in my opinion, to safely contain and protect your resident pets and stock from wildlife and nature.

The question is how to do this both ethically and in a manner that is effective and affordable.

Naturally: what occurs where one resides that is a prolific grower, easy to acquire, and is dense and/or prickly? Here I found "salting" the fence line with the invasive but very prevalent Himalayan blackberry (that is an ongoing removal project on our property) - the vine clippings will root and grow to 6+ feet in less than a year with minimal support.

Alternatively, slat wood (on wire) or willow/alder branch type barrier fencing.

Electric (solar powered?) fencing and netting.

Fencing with wire, mesh or discarded metal roofing panels.

One avenue worth pursuing is determining if the residents are the legal owners or tenants. A decent landlord will NOT be happy if renters are ruining their name by being a problem to the area.

In cases such as yours Heather, I would 100% engage in catch and rehome - cats AND dogs! In my experience, people like that will NEVER change - regardless of what legal interventions (Sheriff/animal Control) are attempted. It will only lead to elevating animosity that could make remaining on your property unpleasant, to down right dangerous.
 
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