Neighbor's dangerous dogs running wild and menacing workers... what can I do? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I'll try to make this brief. The daughter of the owner of the adjacent property (the man from whom I bought my land) has taken to using his now condemned house there as a kennel for her Rottweiler and Pit Bull. Now I know this is the country where animals can roam free. I also understand these dogs are running around on land where they used to have a right to be. Personally, I like dogs a lot so on the surface this wouldn't appear to be a problem at all.

Unfortunately, the younger dog has an especially unpleasant disposition and has snapped at me more than a couple times. Tonight my electrician told me the same dog went after him. I've said something to the daughter on a couple occasions to no avail. According to my electrician, the daughter's disposition was worse than the dog's. She's got her own set of problems (drug dealing/using with her ex-con boyfriend).

I don't want to create a Hatfield-McCoy situation here but also don't want to get myself or one of my guests/invitees bitten, either. I'm guessing my liability insurance carrier would concur. Any thoughts as to what I can do?

-- Gary in Indiana (, July 18, 2001


Even though it is the country, someone elses dog does not have the right to be on your property. You may want to call your county and see what the regulations are for this, they may also be able to issue a warning to the dog's owner or come out and pick the dog up. We live on 5 acres, if a dog enters our fenced property and is a threat to any livestock we can shoot it. Otherwise, dogs are supposed to be contained within their own property and I would be able to have them picked up if necessary. Although the dog's owner can be held liable for the dog's actions, if the dog is on your property you could be held liable also. Since the dog is being aggressive I would see if an authority or animal control could do something, since talking to the owner has done no good.

-- Leslie Walton (, July 18, 2001.

It's difficult. The property should be fenced - you'd have difficulties on legal grounds if it isn't, and that also in fairness to even Pit Bulls and Rottweilers at least then gives them a clue that they ain't supposed to go there. However, you'd be liable for at least half the cost of fencing - maybe all if that was part of the conditions of sale. Have you talked to the previous owner (if he's in condition to listen and respond)? If not, then you probably need to get ready to pay your share of the fencing, or if it's already there then "sound out" your local authorities as a basis for having a serious talk to the daughter - you know, along the lines of "Look, I'm really sorry, but your dog has attacked people on my land, including me, and if he does that again we'll have no option but to ask the authorities to intervene. Now that's really heavy stuff - do you think you could manage to keep him restrained please? I don't want to have to do that sort of stuff to a dog". Whatever communication you have, diarise it - including the previous ones. If you can't get the dates exact, then say so, but tie them down as close as you can, relating them to other events. This could end up as evidence, and you sure don't want to say something that turns out to be untrue - even just a day out. On the other hand, you want everything you do know settled.

Of course, if she's not right on the spot, then there's always the three S's. That's legally justifiable too, but better if you don't have to explain it.

-- Don Armstrong (, July 18, 2001.

Hi Gary, This comes from a dog lover in the country. If when you say these people are on drugs , if you are referring to crystal meth, then you have reason to be worried. That stuff gives people a wierd look on life. I personnaly would not live in fear of someone elses dog. I'd kill it when on my property. Have you spoken with the owner of the property? I know that's easier said than done. Crytal meth is pretty bad around here as I am sure it is everywhere seems like the crowd leans toward pit bulls , smelled any funny smells coming from the place, Please be very careful and let the sheriff in on this, I have nothing against pits or rots, I'd say the same thing about any animal that was threatening my peace and happiness. Good luck and let us know how your doing. Sherry

-- sherry (, July 18, 2001.

In a similar thread a few months ago, it seems there were two approaches:

1) shoot it, bury it and don't tell.

2) Get a dog that will chase other dogs away.

Another idea was to shoot the dogs with rock salt whenever you see them. The dog lives and gets the idea to not hang around your property.

-- Paul Wheaton (, July 18, 2001.

We have had some dog problems in the past month. Dogs have come in and killed our poultry. We called the county sheriff and found out that there is no leash law in the county. However, the dogs have no right to be on our property. We were told to shoot them.

Needless to say we have two less dogs in our area. I also have lost 12 chickens, 3 turkey and 1 goose. These dogs will not be back.

-- Tom S. (, July 18, 2001.

A few years ago, we had a problem with the neighbor's dog. It would come across the road and harass my dog, which was tied up. I called the man six times about the problem. The seventh time I called the sheriff! Yes, even in the country, there is a leash law (at least in some states) and you are supposed to keep your dog on your property! The man realized that, if the sheriffs department got another complaint, he would get a fine of over $100.00! The dog now stays on his property. If that doesn't work, a bullet and a shovel works. Watch out for the owner though...she probably isn't stable!

-- Ardie from WI (, July 18, 2001.

Hi, Gary. Why not bypass the daughter and go straight to her father? Mention liability to him and you'll probably see something done. Be nice about it so you don't raise any more ire than you can help. The daughter has nothing to lose, while the father does.

Jennifer L.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, July 18, 2001.

Unless you want to start up a no-good relationship with them (which would be terribly easy them not being in their right mind...alas the drugs), I would suggest attempting to control the dog as discreetly as possible. Of course, the police can help you out if things turn ugly, but they can't be there in a flash. YOU have to live next to this drug influnced little lady and her cronies.

Personally, i would cease conveying to the neighbors you have a problem with the dog since you know her attitude (it's highly doubtful she'll change). Let a little time lapse so she'll think you're no longer bothered.

Then, set up a live trap (at night), baited with tasty meat. Catch the buggar and promptly tote him off to the pound *several* counties away.

The shoot, shovel, and shut method is good if no one is around to witness you; and of course if your law states it can be legally done if the dog's on your property.

Personally, i prefer to be discreet so that no one suspects or can prove it was me that took care of the situation and your neighborly relationship can remain civil.

-- Buk Buk (, July 18, 2001.

It's one thing to shoot the animal(s), but if you do, make sure you kill it & not wound it. A wounded animal is more dangerous then not. I also advise you not to use rock salt, BB's, or pellets to give a good sting. Some of these do more then just give a sting, but cause some injury however minor that you might have to pay for later. If you don't want to hurt the dogs but still wish to give a harmless sting, use a paint pellet gun. It's been used to mark cattle in the past & the owner might get the message when the dog cames home covered in paint. (Warn owner first about paint gun.)

You might also consider putting up a portable electric fence around your property (at least around the work areas) to protect the workers. At lease untill you can put up a permenint fence. Once they hit the wire a few times, dogs really respect it.

Good luck

animalfarms (IN)

-- animalfarms (, July 18, 2001.

We had a lady a few towns over who had a similar problem with a neighbor's dogs going after her and her family. One day recently she looked out the window and saw one of the dogs -- a pitbull/rottie mix -- going after her son. She walked outside with a 9 mm, shot the dog once, then walked back in and called the sheriff to come pick up the body. Self defense all the way and the neighbor caught h*** from the police and the media. No more dog problems.

-- Cash (, July 18, 2001.

We had a problem with a neighbor's dogs killing our chickens. When we called the sheriff, we were told to just shoot the dogs, which we ended up doing. It's never pleasant, but sometimes has to be done. I would certainly prefer to shoot someone's dangerous dogs than to worry about a worker getting attacked! Good luck - hope it all works out well for you.

-- Cheryl McCoy (, July 18, 2001.

it'd probably be a real shame if that condemned house burnt down from vandals or something...

-- anonymous (, July 18, 2001.

Why shoot, why shovel, why hastle with people who are only going to put the blame back on you?? (have had it happen, c?) Pen up your own animals and put out a good ol "antifreeze soup". Big chunk of raw hamburger in a dish of antifreeze works wonders. Problem dog has dinner, goes home to owner, passes over, owner can do their own shoveling and wonder about it all. You suddenly develop amnesia and go on farming. :) tang

-- tang (, July 19, 2001.

Thanks to everyone once again. Before I get too far afield, I wondered if anyone else who posted recently failed to receive emails of responses. This si the first time I haven't and I don't believe I did anything differently.

Today I was pleasantly surprised to find our county animal control department does, in fact, have a leash law. While not as strictly enforced in the more rural areas, I was told it could be employed if necessary. I do intend to contemporaneously record any events involving the dogs. Unfortunately, talking to either the daughter (the crack user), or her father is pointless. To her, the dogs are perfect and to him she is. Logic is wasted here because they are each judgment proof and know it.

The dogs are only out while she's there so any type of stealth wet work is out of the question. That's not exactly "me" anyhow. I will, however, mention to any workers that there is a danger there. So advised, if they choose to arm and defend themselves, so be it. (Can't you just hear that conversation? "Yes, Thursday will be fine, Mr. Excavator. By the way, do you own a handgun?")

As to the last suggestion, I have thought it a shame the house no longer has live electric running through it. ;o)

-- Gary in Indiana (, July 19, 2001.

Gary, when you posted your response didn't you see the little notice that said there was a problem and there would be no e-mail notification?? It has been that way for a few days. Perhaps when they were down last night it was fixed??

-- diane (, July 19, 2001.

I *really* like the antifreeze idea.

-- Paul Wheaton (, July 19, 2001.

Had the same problem with the neighbor across the street. He had 3 dogs running loose and decided to take up residence in my barn. When I would go to do chores they would growl at me. After 3 attempts to talk with him I started calling the dog control officer[we have leash laws]. The officer came out 3 times and warned him. He still did nothing. I started taking pictures of the dogs on my property, going after my horses, in the barn, etc. The 4th time animal control came out he was cited and had to go to the distric justice. He calls me and says " I hope your happy I just got a $500 fine and am taking the dogs to the pound to be put to sleep" My response was " well, with that $500 you could have built yourself a real nice kennel!" We dont talk at all but that is ok with me I dont have to deal with him or his weird family.

-- tracy (, July 19, 2001.

Geez Louise! And to think I felt terrible that some of my free range birds had made their way into my neighbors garden and now keep them penned!! Why can't the animal control officer take the animals away rather than do all these useless warnings? I don't know where some of these wing nuts come from (bad neighbors) but I sure do wish the Mothership would come and cart them home. Gary, my sympathies on your problems.

-- Alison in N.S. (, July 19, 2001.

Actually, in Australia we have baiting programs for feral foxes. Are you allowed to do anything like that there? Restrain your animals, and lay poison baits. We have to put up signs on the gates and perimeter fences saying we're doing it, and you should warn your neighbours as well so that if they have dogs running loose they can restrain them. And you need to keep track of every individual bait - so you know either that it's been taken, or that you've retrieved it so it won't poison anything inadvertently later. If all that was permissable, the baits themselves might not even be necessary - at least you could find out whether they were.

-- Don Armstrong (from Australia) (, July 19, 2001.

Gary Don't wait to do something......both those breeds have a history of "going over the edge"......and then somebody is in a BIG hurt! lots of good ideas of the best>>s..s..s..

-- Jim in mi (, July 19, 2001.

Hi, Had a similar problem here, lots of stray dogs harassing my cattle. The neighbors thought the dogs were wonderful and would not part with them. Bought myself a small donkey and my dog problems have ceased. The donkey hates dogs, I saw him kick several shortly after we bought him. The dogs have learned to keep away from our place and new strays learn quick. Our jacks perked up ears point directly to anything out of place in our pasture. He is a great pasture gaurd for cattle even calves. I think he might be a bit rough for small animals like lambs but for us he works. Not one confrontation with the neighbors.

-- Bob (, July 20, 2001.

Never have I heard such disgusting nonsense! Anti Freeze causes renal failure! The dogs don't just lay down and die, they suffer!! Possibly for days, and through no fault of their own. And to label 2 breeds as 'going over the edge' is no better than racisim. Get real! The problem is with the owners, not the dogs. Either have the local authorities remove the animals or present them to a humane society yourself. They will likely be euthanized there, but in a humane fashion, not by poison or gunfire. Worse even still is the intimation of burning them to death, it turns my stomach.

-- Dianne (, July 20, 2001.

I guess I don't make a judgement on others actions until I've walked a mile in their shoes!

-- Ardie from WI (, July 20, 2001.

I can't believe anyone would be stupid enough to try shooting a rottie or a pitbull, that is growling/snarling, with a paintgun. What are you going to do if you piss the dog off and, instead of running away, it attacks you?

These dogs are tough and have high pain tolerances/thresholds.

I can't believe that anyone would suggest to someone else that they shoot a growling/snarling rottie or pitbull with a paintgun.

I suggest that anyone shooting a growling/snarling pitbull or rotty with a paintgun better have a real gun as backup.

-- Fred Walter (, July 20, 2001.

Now now, no name calling, Fred! Let's keep this civil. God bless!

-- Ardie from you-know-where (, July 20, 2001.

I have to agree with Dianne about nixing the antifreeze idea. Antifreeze is not a fast or painless way to go. It typically takes 12 to 36 hours for an animal to die from antifreeze poisoning. First the animal suffers from dizziness, then disorientation followed by listlessness, nausea & seizures. Eventually kidney failure occurs and after a great deal of misery the animal slips into a coma & dies. I hate to see animals suffer due to owner negligence. If you are not getting any assistance from the local authorities & feel you have no other options (and if you are a good shot) go ahead & shoot them. But please, please, please make it fast & as pain-free as possible. The dogs are just being dogs.

-- Mary S. (, July 20, 2001.

Everyone check your local laws before shooting a dog. An Amish friend less than a mile from us shot the neighbors dog when it came into his home and attacked his child. He got in enough trouble over it he had to hire a lawyer to defend him. I know because I had to help him decipher the legal mumbo jumbo when the sheriff served papers on him. CorVee

-- Cora-Vee Caswell (, July 21, 2001.

Hi Gary.

I responded to a post several weeks ago along the same lines. Your situation is more complicated though.

Based on personal experience with 'druggie' animal owners while a Humane Society staff member, my best advice is to call Your county sheriff. Everytime the dogs cross Your property line. Everytime. 4...5...6 times a day; doesn't matter. You're in an extremely dangerous situation and have a right to deal with it appropriately.

There will be two results: The deputys will be at the neighbor's so often that 1) the dogs will disappear and 2) so will the neighbors if indeed they are 'druggies'. The deputys won't reveal Your identity as the complaintant either, if You request. At least that's how we handled similiar situations back home.

You'll be doing the entire community a HUGE favor!

Good Luck!!


-- Randle Gay (, July 23, 2001.

We also, lived in the country, but in a small housing development. We always put our little dog on a leash, even to go to the bathroom. Our neighbor across the street would let her Boxer run loose in the evening, and it attacked one neighbors Dauchsend, putting it in the hospital, bit another neighbors daughter on the ankle. NO ONE would complain to the authorities, because they didn't want "trouble." One day the dog came into my yard and had me backed against my car, snarling and I thought he would bite me for sure. I yelled at the woman to get her dog, as she was standing in her yard watching the whole thing. She turned around and went in her house and closed the door. Finally, my husband came out and ran it off with a baseball bat. After talking with the authorities, they said it has to actually bite someone before they can step in, so we put our house up for sale and moved into the city. The people who bought the house had big bucks and fenced the entire yard in. (over an acre.) So, even though I think the idea to shoot and bury it is by far the best idea, they would just continue to get more dogs. Probably best to fence the place in to keep yourself safe. Good luck.

-- Deborah Carmichael (, November 14, 2001.

I have never heard of people being liable for the actions of others' animals. It has always been my understanding that you control your own animals, and that means leashing or fencing (and not necessarily sharing the cost with a neighbor). If both parties have animals, sharing costs is reasonable. If only one does, then the one with the potential problem needs to eat the cost.

I cannot see how your insurance carrier can possibly hold you responsible for someone else's (or their animal's) criminal acts unless they were in your employ, which in this case they are not. Even if they tried, all you should have to show is that you called the Sheriff on several occasions, and that should be more than enough for them.

We pay taxes for law enforcement and things like animal control. Even rural areas have leash laws, or at least dangerous animal laws. The first "snap" would have been the last for me. Call the Sheriff, call animal control, that's why they're there. If you need evidence, video each time the dog gets out, not to mention all the visitors at the neighbors at all hours. This is no time to worry about hurt feelings of the neighbors--they're the ones causing the problem.

-- GT (, November 14, 2001.

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