Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dog Dammit!!

I'm surrounded.

I had no choice but to run barking down the driveway, confirming to any doubting neighbor that I am really quite mad.

Not once, but twice today.

Really...barking, growling, baring my teeth and generally behaving like a raving...well...bitch.

On the upside, I don't think I'll have many people knocking on my door asking for donations to their cause.

Permit me to explain.

Two of my neighbors on the cul-de-sac have dogs. One (I'll call him Z) is allegedly a Jack Russel, but I think it's also part horse - the thing's as tall as the Evil Genius! The other (I'll call him B) looks to be predominantly Boxer, but probably also has a horse somewhere in its lineage.

Both neighbors let their dogs run loose, unsupervised, for most of the day. The dogs run, tumble, fight, and act like dogs do. Unfortunately, the dogs like MY yard for their playground.

Z is a pretty good dog - still a puppy, he wants to run and jump and play and doesn't understand that the Evil Genius is afraid of dogs jumping on him. Z jumps up when he's excited. He also runs away and hopes we'll chase him, and we will occasionally oblige him.

B, on the other hand, likes to plow right into the Evil Genius, doesn't even try to play. He likes to get up on the front porch of Casa de Crazy and eat the cat food there, and menace the outdoor kitties. He has torn landscape timbers out and chewed them up, leaving chunks (with and without nails) all over the place. He's pulled out garden stakes, too, and shat in my iris bed. I've tried being gentle with him and disciplining him, but I can't buck his human's inattentiveness.

This morning, I heard excited barking on the front porch. I knew who was out there, and my patience was thin, so I ran down the stairs, threw open the door, and began barking and growling as I ran the dogs off the porch. They had one of the cats cornered, and I don't doubt that B, at least, would probably have loved to chew her up if he could only catch her.

So I chased them down the stairs and up the driveway, wearing house clothes (jeans, loose top, bare feet, hair undoubtedly looking like something nested in it last night) barking and growling and showing them my teeth - acting like a dog protecting its territory, which seems to be the only thing they understand. Z lives closest and is the smarter of the two, and he ran home, sat in his yard, cocked his head, and said something along the lines of "I believe I am living among mad people."

B ran into the cul-de-sac, where he likes to lurk anyway, and barked - "I ain't skeered of you..."...then tried to come at me. I barked, growled, showed my teeth, and radiated angry dog attitude, and he decided that there was something more interesting at home.

I hoped that would be the end of it...but no. No, apparently seeing me go after their dogs meant nothing to the neighbors (or, more likely, they had no idea it happened), because the dogs were at it again later in the afternoon. This time, I was barking before I opened the door, and the dogs scattered...they knew I meant business. Perhaps they've seen The World According to Garp and have concerns.

I don't hate dogs - on the contrary, I am rather fond of them. As with children, I don't care to be subjected to ill-behaved ones, and blame the humans responsible for the beasts. I am sure Z and B are perfectly nice dogs, and I don't doubt their humans mean well (it must seem kinder to let them run and play than to lock them up)...but they're scaring my son, frightening the cats, eating the cat food, have gotten into my garage and chewed things up, torn open my trash and scattered it, taken a beloved crockery bowl from the porch and shattered it, and B, at least, is often out at night. He's dark brown and likes to run at vehicles coming into the cul-de-sac. I've nearly hit him. My roommate has almost hit him. Several others have almost hit him.

I've spoken to Z's humans...but it looks like I'll have to do it again. They said they would keep him in their fenced back yard...which would be fine, if they could manage to keep the gate closed! I have tried to make B's human understand that his dog scares the crap out of my kid...but he protests that B is just a big baby and really very sweet, and lets him run.

I don't think it's right that I can't go outside without wondering if I'll have to deal with not-my-dogs. I shouldn't have to fear going barefoot in my own yard, and my kid shouldn't have to run back into the house in a fright because some dog has knocked him down and damn near bitten him. I shouldn't have to simply hope the dogs won't dig up the garden and ruin our crops, and I shouldn't have to buy twice as much cat food because the dogs are eating it, too.

I now have the onerous task of taking this to the neighbors and asking them - again - to please keep their dogs according to the law - in a fenced enclosure or chain well within their property lines unless they are leashed with a human attendant...and leave unspoken, for now, the threat that I will call animal control if I must, because I will not be denied the ability to enjoy my own home or have my son refuse to go outdoors because of careless pet owners.

Ugh...I loathe confrontation...

What would you do?


Anonymous said...

Shoot the dogs in the ass with a BB gun. It won't penetrate, but it should hurt enough to help them associate your property with a shooting range and perhaps steer clear. If the humans object, tough. They need to face the consequences of their actions - namely, leash 'em or yard 'em, or they will get hurt one way or the other. (I would suggest a shovel in a controlled bash on the bridge of their nose, but some people find instant discipline cruel for some bizarre reason.)

Anonymous said...

That's, "leash the dogs or yard 'em," not the people. You decide if the people or the dogs need a shovel to the bridge of the nose.

RachelW said...

What would I do? I would call Bylaw. Let the owners bail the dogs out of the pound, and the pound will tell them to keep the dogs in their yards.

In the moment, if the dogs are fighting or giving the cats or kids any trouble? A good shot with the garden hose usually does the trick. Nothing breaks up a dog fight faster than the Power Wash setting.

Wendy said...

I would call the law... and I have! It really pissed the neighbors off, but after having to pay the fine (more than once!) they finally got the message. And when I say "they", I do mean more than one neighbor.
...And then we got new neighbors behind us who have THREE *huge* dogs that they let roam the neighborhood (and freak my dog out and shit in my backyard, etc), and despite *numerous* calls, pound "jailings" and fines, they *still* didn't "take the hint", so then I finally got my wish of a fenced-in backyard. Win-win.

Wendy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kyddryn said...

Blue, sugar, I had given thought to a pellet gun...but first I'm going to talk to the neighbors and see if we can come to an accord.

Mizz Rachel, that's a thought...if I hadn't turned off the hose for the winter!

Mizz Wendy, I'd be OK with that if the neighbors were willing to pay for the fencing - I shouldn't have to, since it's not MY dogs running about.

Susan said...

Anything that has shat in my iris bed deserves my full wrath. And that ain't pretty.

Anonymous said...

If the dogs make a deposit in your garden, then smile and thank the neighbors for the free fertilizer (one of those "circle of life" things). Also remind them that doo-doo can spread worms and other diseases which is why the counties have (or should have) leash and fence laws in the first place.

If they still don't get it, and/or their dog drops by to drop a load, then follow the SWAT example when they need to persuade the guard dogs to step away from the door at drug stash houses - get 'em dead center with a fire extinguisher.

When all else fails - anti-personnel land mines work wonders for establishing psychological barriers. $3 per mine, and they are the size of a large hockey puck, so they'll blend right in.

Gypsy Guru said...

I have no reasonable solution to your dilemma... I just love the mental picture of you barking at dogs... 'cause I love you.