How to cope with a bad pet neighbor

If you live in a city, chances are you have, or will have, one or more problems with your neighbors. Sometimes these problems involve their pets. Perhaps it is a barking dog, a roaming cat, or even a noisy parrot, whatever the problem, knowing how to fix it is important.

The first thing you should do is talk to your neighbor. Do not just storm over there and demand they shut their dog up. Start a friendly conversation and mention the problem with the dog. You know the saying, “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer”, well the same applies for neighbors. If you befriend them, they are more likely to work with you rather than against you.

If it is simply a matter of not having a fence between your properties, perhaps now is the time to get one. Generally both property owners pay half the price of the fence, but if it is worth it to you, you can pay the full price. Good fences make good neighbors.

If the problem continues, you may want to talk to them again, write a letter to them, or go to the next step.

Find out the laws in your area regarding pets and pet care. If the situation is a case of cruelty, immediately call your local animal shelter. If you are not sure of whom to call, contacting an area veterinarian will get you the information you need. Often the laws require pets to have food, shelter and water at all times. If the case is of roaming, or annoying pets, then this is dealt with through your local city hall, police, or by-law department.

Most cities have laws against dogs barking for prolonged periods of time, or during certain hours. Many areas have laws against allowing cats to roam off the owners property. Make sure you fully understand what is and what isn’t allowed in your area.

NEVER take the matter into your own hands and harm the pet. It is not the dogs fault it is left alone outside all day. It is not the cats fault its owner does keep it indoors. Neither pet is doing anything intentionally against you, but if you harm the pet, you might be doing a criminal (and moral) action against that pet. Even taking a cat and dumping it in another area is considered animal abandonment and is illegal in most areas. Poisoning a pet is a crime too. Remember your issue is with the owner, NOT the pet.

File a complaint. Sometimes owners are given a warning, or a fine. In the case of a roaming pet, you generally are allowed to catch it while it is in your yard, and take it to the local pound or animal shelter. Its owner would have to pay to get it back, and might face a fine for allowing it to roam. Most shelters keep your information private. Sometimes they will come and pick up a problem animal.

On the whole, remember, maybe the person does not know the pet is bothering you. It is better to be friends with your neighbor than enemies. Do not cause a war, unless you want one.

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