Love your neighbours but hate their pets?!
Having problems with your neighbours is a really difficult situation to be in. We looked at one aspect of that – noisy neighbours – in our recent article What can you do about noisy neighbours?
But what if it’s not the neighbours that are the problem? What if it’s their pets?
In this article we look at various problems that pets can cause, and suggest ways that you can get things sorted.
We’ll take a look at how to deal with:
- Noisy animals;
- Aggressive animals;
- Animal mess.
The most common problem here is barking dogs, although yowling cats can also be troublesome. In any kind of neighbourhood there has to be give and take, so if it’s an occasional problem – particularly if there are things that trigger the noise – it is probably something you just have to put up with. After all, there may be times when you are making noise that your neighbours can hear. So a reasonable level of noise from time to time is a normal part of living near other people.
But if a dog is barking frequently and is causing disruption, particularly during the night, you need to decide what to do about it.
The first thing is always to try and talk to your neighbour. Be calm and friendly, and consider offering to help if you think this is appropriate. For example, if the dog barks when the family are all out it may be a form of insecurity that could be helped by another neighbour dropping round for a few minutes to keep it company.
But if this doesn’t get you anywhere, and the issue is really getting you down, remember that you can take the actions we described in our noisy neighbours article: contact the council (Environmental Health department) and, as a last resort, take court action. If you suspect that the pet is being neglected, you could also involve the RSPCA.
When dealing with aggressive animals, there is a big difference between whether the aggression is shown to other animals or to humans.
Aggression between animals
A responsible dog owner will be aware of how their dog behaves, and if it tends to attack other dogs it should be kept on a lead and/or muzzled. Most councils have a dog warden that you can report aggressive dogs to. If there are consistent reports about an aggressive dog, the warden will visit the owner and discuss how they need to control their dog in public.
Cat fights can also be a problem in neighbourhoods with lots of cats. Who hasn’t been woken up in the night by the sound of cats wailing at each other in some kind of stand-off! Cats are territorial creatures so will react if other cats invade their space.
If there is a particular problem between your cat and another local cat, you may want to try keeping your cat in for a while to break the cycle, or even agree a schedule with the other cat owner so that you let them out at different times. Also see if there is anything you can do to make your garden more difficult for your cat to get out of – and other cats to get into. Also ensure that you provide lots of foliage and other features in there to keep your own cat interested and less likely to stray.
Aggression to humans
If a dog attacks a person this is much more serious. If it is a one-off incident, and there are circumstances where it could be explained, you may want to be lenient if the neighbour is also a good friend. But if there is any doubt about the incident, or if the dog has a history of aggression, it is really important that you do take action before someone gets seriously injured.
Dog attacks can be reported to the police. You can do this by calling 101 or online at Police UK. Also let your local dog warden know. If the dog has bitten someone, take photos of the injury as they may be needed as evidence. Also make sure that the injury is thoroughly cleansed, and seek medical advice if needed.
However, if you are concerned that the dog is an imminent threat to others, call the police straight away on 999.
Animals can be very messy creatures! But if animal mess of any kind is impacting on your life, you have a right to do something about it.
Animal mess in public areas
Dog owners are legally obliged to clear up dog mess in public places such as parks, playgrounds and pavements. This means bagging the waste and then putting the bag in a bin – not leaving it on the ground or hanging it from a tree.
If they fail to do this, they could be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100 or even get taken to court and fined up to £1,000. The law states that being unaware a dog has fouled or not having a suitable bag do not count as reasonable excuses.
The local council must also keep public areas clear of dog mess, so if someone hasn’t cleaned up after their pet, it is then the responsibility of the council to get rid of it. So if you come across an area that badly needs to be cleared, report it to your local council.
If you see someone not clearing up after their dog, a simple thing to try is to offer them a dog waste bag. If they don’t respond positively, and it’s a recurring issue, then get the dog warden involved.
For more rural areas, away from public footpaths, The Forestry Commission recommends that rather than bagging the waste, dog owners use the “stick and flick” method of brushing or sweeping it into nearby undergrowth, where it will decompose naturally.
Animal mess on your property
Neighbours can also have problems with animals, particularly cats, coming into gardens and either soiling or digging. Even if you talk to your neighbour and they are apologetic, there is not a lot they can do apart from keep their cat inside permanently.
If this is happening, there are various things that you can try:
- Make your garden more difficult to get into, for example adding extra height or an inward sloping topping to your fence.
- Install ultrasonic noise emitters that will deter the cat.
- Use outdoor air fresheners such as citronella, which cats dislike.
- Put a protective layer – for example netting – around any area you particularly don’t want damaging.
- Try to catch the cat in action and deter it by shouting, clapping or spraying it with water.
We hope that the above advice will help you to resolve any issues you are currently having with neighbours’ pets, and that peace will be restored to your community.
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Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Simple Fast Loans.