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Issues with the neighbor kid and my dog

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  • Issues with the neighbor kid and my dog

    I'm really frustrated and could use some advice I how to handle this situation!

    My next door neighbors are relatively nice people, but completely ignore their kids and let them do whatever they want. The girl (about kindergarten age) loves my yellow lab and always wants to come into my yard to play with him when I'm outside- and sometimes she comes right over even when I say 'no', not the end of the world when I'm in the yard, but I'm worried she might come over when I'm gone at work (definitively NOT okay). This happens enough that I've actually stopped spending time in my yard because I just can't get any peace and quiet out there.

    My dog has a wonderful, kid friendly temperament, but he gets pestered all the time when he's outside. She stands by the fence hollering his name until he comes over to see her and the second he leaves she starts calling him again. This morning I went out there and she had a rope through the fence wrapped around his collar! I just told her *very* firmly that it wasn't okay to put things around his collar and that it was okay for her to pet him through the fence when I'm in the yard also, but that when I'm not outside she needs to leave him alone.

    I've talked to the parents about this, but they're usually on their way to being drunk or stoned and don't seem to care much. Admittedly, I was too nice and lenient in the beginning because I felt bad for the kid, but my dog and his safety are my first priority. Any ideas on how I can make this stop?
    Last edited by Lone; Aug. 30, 2011, 12:34 AM.
    Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever

  • #2
    You need to tell the kid that she can't come visit your dog and actually mean it.

    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


    • #3
      Call child services. If the parents are that drunk and stoned they aren't responsible enough to care for a child.
      ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
      Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

      "Life is merrier with a terrier!"


      • #4
        That poor little girl. Your very sweet and tolerant lab may be the only pleasant thing in her day. Perhaps she is old enough to learn how to treat him properly?


        • #5
          Can you put up a tall privacy fence along the side of the property that faces them so that the child cannot see/call the dog or put ANYTHING through? If your yard is fenced with something like split rail on the other sides, put woven wire fencing on the inside and get a lock for the gate so there is no way this child can get in when you aren't there. Even run a strand of electric wire along the top if you have to (with plenty of proper signage, of course).

          Why? Because her visits when you aren't there are a danger to her and to your dog. If the dog were to get agitated and bite or nip her, or even bowl her over in play, and she gets hurt, her parents WILL suddenly care, possibly in the form of a lawsuit. Also, because she's a young child and does not live with dogs, she could unknowingly feed him something dangerous that could harm your dog. Don't risk it. Secure your yard so she cannot get to the dog when you are not there.

          If you feel sorry for her, you can still allow her some interaction with your dog. When you are home and you see her outside, perhaps invite her to take a walk around the block with you and the dog (with parent's permission, of course, even if they are out of it) and take that time to teach her things about dogs. And then, be very firm with her that if she is in your yard when you have not invited her, or if you say no and she comes anyway, that she won't be allowed to help you walk the dog any more. That way, she gets some interaction, learns some things about dogs and how to take care of them/keep them safe, and has an ultimatum to consider. And if she does break the agreement, keep your end-no more walks/visits fro a set time the first time and then no more, period.


          • #6
            I second what Henry says. You need to be firm and formal about not letting her be with your dog otherwise WHEN an incident occurs where your dog gets hurt, or your dog hurts her and all kinds of crap lands on your head, you'll be very sorry.

            He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


            • #7
              HenryisBlasin'-is exactly right. The most neglectful parents are the first to sue you into poverty when something happens to their kid. And nothing really needs to happen, since they can claim anything happened when you aren't there to see it. I know you feel sorry for the kid, but you need to protect yourself and your dog. And definitely call CPS on the parents before something awful happens to the poor kid (you can make anonymous reports to them also).

              Maybe you can rig something to the fence to block sight and access also-maybe some tall bamboo curtains that are tall or something. And you need to put a chain and lock on the gate so your dog isn't let out.
              You can't fix stupid-Ron White


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by HenryisBlaisin' View Post
                Why? Because her visits when you aren't there are a danger to her and to your dog. If the dog were to get agitated and bite or nip her, or even bowl her over in play, and she gets hurt, her parents WILL suddenly care, possibly in the form of a lawsuit. Also, because she's a young child and does not live with dogs, she could unknowingly feed him something dangerous that could harm your dog. Don't risk it. Secure your yard so she cannot get to the dog when you are not there.
                That's exactly what I've been worried about! Just because my dog has always been good, doesn't mean he's a saint and I'd hate to have something happen- or for him to get loose because she leaves the gate open.

                The fence is about 5' tall and woven wire, the gaps in the wire are big enough she can get her hands through. The latch on the back gate is a 'U' shape that fits down around the metal post. It's up high enough she has to stand on her toes to tip the 'U' up so the gate will open. I just went to town and bought a complicated clip that I'm hoping will make it difficult enough that she can't open the gate. I'm just renting this place, but I'll probably be here for another 9 months or so. I'll look into privacy fencing and how much it would cost.

                That's a good idea about inviting her to go on short walks with us when she follows the rules about leaving him alone in the yard. Whenever I go on walks she always comes (running and shreaking) up to us to pat Boomer. I've tried to explain that she needs to *walk* up to him but so far that has been unsuccessful. Fortunately he doesn't mind, but it would still be a good lesson for her.

                Originally posted by Beau Soleil View Post
                That poor little girl. Your very sweet and tolerant lab may be the only pleasant thing in her day. Perhaps she is old enough to learn how to treat him properly?
                I think visiting him is one of the better parts of her day which is why I've been having such a hard time being firm and strict with her about leaving him alone. We have talked quite a bit about what kinds of things he can and can't have in terms of food. She knows that she's not allowed to feed him anything and I think she understands that. Yesterday she was picking berries off a bush for the wild birds and told me how she'd be careful not to give any to Boomer since he wasn't allowed to have them.

                I've also talked with her parents about what Boomer can't eat and they've listened to that. Every now and then they give him a little piece of burned hot dog (which I told them was okay) but they're good about not giving him anything else.

                I've debated calling CPS or something, but the parents aren't *bad* I don't think, just not attentive. They do drink a fair amount, but I've never seen them drunk to the point of being completely incompetent or passed out (they spend the majority of their time in their backyard- so I'm quite aware of things over there!) and I've never seen or heard any signs of them abusing the kids. The grandma also lives there off and on and I've never seen her drinking, but as long as the kids aren't actively trying to burn the house down she lets them do what they want. Is that kind of environment bad enough I should report them?

                Thanks for all the advice!
                Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
                If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever


                • #9
                  Put up a privacy fence or hedge. If it's a rental, talk to the landlord about the situation and see if he'll work with you on it.

                  Can you keep the dog away from the fenceline? Maybe a mesh fence with t-posts set 5 feet inside the other fence? Keep him indoors when you're not out in the yard with him? I hate to sound paranoid but who knows what bad things might happen. She might decide to give him "doggy treats" made out of random things... and you come home to find your dog poisoned by a bag of Hershey's CHOCOLATE kisses. She doesn't know any better.

                  Call social services for the girl's sake. If they're not watching her, it's only a matter of time before something bad happens - either something tragic will happen to her or she's start getting into trouble. They are bad parents if they're not attentive. There is more to parenting than giving birth and feeding the child.

                  If you do confront them again, do it in writing. Because this kind of situation is how a lawsuit happens. You want to have proof you asked them repeatedly, so if/when the lawsuit happens, you can show you made a good faith effort to protect their child. If you see the child in your yard or otherwise messing with your dog or stuff, take photos. Write down ever date something happens. You need to show a pattern of problems, if things escalate and the police or CPS really gets involve.
                  Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


                  • #10
                    In addition to the advice above, do you have any kind of a lock on your gate? It probably wouldn't hurt anyway - pet theft has really shot up recently. I agree with you completely - going on walks is fine and probably fun for her, but I would be very nervous that she might accidently let the dog out of the fence or, if anything happened (including him knocking her down), there could be liability. I think you are right to restrict her.


                    • #11
                      Set up cameras to record what happens in your backyard. Make sure the field of view includes a good portion of your neighbors' property.

                      The evidence you gather will be invaluable to you in the future.


                      • #12
                        Possibly the easiest kind of fence in a rental situation is step-in post with plastic woven fencing (dont remember what they call it, but it is lightweight and fairly cheap - people often use it around vegetable gardens). Place it by the shared fence a few feet away. It doesnt have to be very tall or sturdy. It should keep dog noses and child hands apart. Definitely need a childproof latch/lock on the gate.

                        As far as CPS, it is tough to tell from your description. You might be able to call CPS and describe the situation to them and they might be able to determine if it needs investigation. Or you might start with the girls school guiance counselor (or social worker if they have one).


                        • Original Poster

                          Thank you very much for all the suggestions!

                          I'd hate to lock my dog inside when I'm gone. He has a really nice doggie door and the whole reason I rented this place was so he'd have a big yard to enjoy during the day when I'm gone! I think public schools start this week or next, so that will significantly decrease the amount of time that the girl is home during the day when I'm gone which will be good.

                          This week I'll definitely look into some of those other fencing options that have been brought up. I don't need anything fancy or permanent, probably just something to get through the next couple months. I suspect this problem will somewhat resolve itself once winter comes and it gets really cold and snowy!

                          I don't have an actual padlock on the gate, just a latch that I'm hoping is childproof. I have a garage in the backyard that my landlord works out of (he builds cabinets and things) so he needs easy access to get back there. I suppose I could get a combo lock of some kind though...
                          Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
                          If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever


                          • #14
                            Oh, your signature is so sad. Pretty mare.


                            • #15
                              My first thought was privacy fence, but that seems kind of extreme to cut the little girl off entirely. Probably a good lock on the fence so he cannot be let out.

                              As for child services, not a snowball's chance they would even be remotely interested. In my experience home situations have to be extreme in order for social services to investigate. That seems to be backed up by the number of dead or seriously ill or injured kids we hear about where social services had thought everything was okay.
                              "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp


                              • #16
                                Definitely padlock the gate. Maybe do invisible fencing on that side of the yard, so the dog will stay away from the fence?


                                • #17
                                  Sadly - this is a lawsuit just itching to happen. First, lock everything. PUT UP A SECOND INTERIOR FENCE so that there's space in between fences. Expensive but it can add to your landscaping if you put shrubs/small trees/ exotic grasses/low-maintenance evergreen type items in between (friend did this with her two beardies, looks wonderful, keeps them and bad neighbors apart only in this case the bad neighbors were two aggressive Dobies). Third, write duplicate originals of a letter send one regular mail one certified/return receipt (which the stoners will likely "refuse" but regular mail is presumed delivered if it isn't returned) in which you state that they and their child are welcome only when you are home and only when they knock on the door first. The unfortunate thing is that when a child comes to a neighbor and there isn't a parent of said child along with, the possibility of accusations of child abuse from such as stoners and drunks is a real one. It isn't just a lawsuit for an imagined (or real) nip from the dog. It can get very very ugly, very very fast. When you write this letter show as cc's and actually send the cc's to whatever passes in your area for child protective services (County or State agency of whatever title) AND to the local precinct of your police and finally show a copy to your attorney by name if you have one and if you don't show "cc: Attorney".

                                  I would agree with the above poster who said stoners and drunks and assorted neglectful parents are THE first to sue for true or imagined "situations." Usually it is a money thing. Check your homeowners insurance policy for any breed-specific exclusions, some homeowners insurance underwriters are excluding coverage for certain breeds and unfortunately labs and goldens are on the list - and pit bull alarmist media notwithstanding, there are statistically less pit bull bites than there are lab, golden, and I think the other was Chesapeake retriever bites. If there is an exclusion for your breed try to get either a separate liability policy or a rider on your policy to cover this.

                                  This is a very dangerous situation and you need to be immediately and strongly pro-active about protecting yourself and your dog. In the least, you need to protect the dog from unwitting kid behavior such as trying to drag the dog through a fence knothole or space with a chokechain or feeding the dog something truly dreadful and perhaps even fatal. Guaranteed, an injury like this to your beloved dog is going to cost you more at the emergency vet than ramping up your fence situation and your homeowners insurance!
                                  Surrealism: once an art form. Now indistinguishable from daily life. (Forgot who said that.)


                                  • #18
                                    PS PTOWNEVT thank you for what you have in your signature block from Dr. Friedlander. I looked it up. This quote is now an effective part of my "ammo" when trying to show the pro-slaughter types the error of their ways.
                                    Surrealism: once an art form. Now indistinguishable from daily life. (Forgot who said that.)


                                    • #19
                                      The small gate latches (I'm thinking about the black metal ones that have a latch with a straight piece that fits inside of them) are not child or anyone else proof (my gas meter reader pried mine open once-I caught him and asked him what the bleep he was doing, since I had moved the fence behind the stupid meter-he wasn't bright). You can get latches at the hardware strore that screw into the gate, fold over the screws, and can be locked with a padlock (I like the brass outdoor ones that you can change the combination with a key, it's easy and you don't have to worry about lost keys). And who says the kid will go to school? Many really bad parents claim they home school, and only if the local school board catches up to them.

                                      You need to block fence and gate access before something happens, and you and the dog are in legal and financial trouble.
                                      You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Lone View Post
                                        I'd hate to lock my dog inside when I'm gone. He has a really nice doggie door and the whole reason I rented this place was so he'd have a big yard to enjoy during the day when I'm gone!
                                        You can't really have it both ways. An outdoor dog (even a fenced-in one) is vulnerable to whoever comes by when you aren't around. It could be a well meaning little girl feeding him leftover KFC bones, a thief or a real abuser. The only way to keep your dog safe from others is to keep him out of reach. This also considerably reduces your chance of lawsuit.

                                        I would lock the doggy door when you aren't home to monitor things. Chances are, there is more going on now than you are even aware of. Why risk it if you are already concerned?