You love your pooch. He’s part of your family and possibly gets spoilt even more than your kids. Your neighbor also has dogs, but those pups aren’t as well cared for. And one of the things that completely stresses you out is when your neighbour leaves their dog outside in the rain.
How do you address this issue without souring neighborly relations? Do you have any legal ground to stand on?
Perhaps you’re one of those unlucky ones who lives next to a yapping dog. You know, the type that does doggy calls all through the night. Maybe that pup escapes into your yard, wreaking havoc with your dogs or your carefully manicured garden. What are your rights? Or, how do you respond if someone complains about your dog?
We cover all of that in this article.
Is it Legal to Keep a Dog in the Garage?
Some people treat their pets like royalty, while a few pet owners neglect their pups. Most of us fall in the middle, where you indulge your pet and spoil them, but within bounds. So, the question: is it legal to keep your pup in the garage?
The short answer is, it depends. Some people kit out their garages to resemble a doggy hotel, which is obviously not a problem. Others leave their pets in a cluttered garage with little or no ventilation, and very little to protect the poor pooches from extreme temperatures. This is not okay.
There have been instances in the US where pet owners were legally persecuted for leaving their pets in the garage. These cases usually amount to animal cruelty. You know, the dogs are chained up for days at a time, not exercised, underfed, and not protected against the heat or cold. If your pup stays in the garage only for a few hours at a time, and under reasonable conditions, it’s okay.
Reasonable conditions amount to an environment that is not dangerous or hazardous to your pooch’s health.
What Are The Laws On Leaving Dogs Outside In The US?
Pennsylvania was the first US state to pass a law protecting animals from being left outside in extreme weather. It’s called Libre’s Law, named after the pup who’s living conditions sparked enough outrage to have the law passed.
Several other US states have laws making it illegal to chain a dog outside for long periods or chain them up in such a way that they can’t escape harm. These laws are underpinned by hefty fines and even jail time in severe cases.
Getting back to Libre’s Law: in Pennsylvania, it is illegal to chain up your pooch out for more than half an hour in conditions below 32 ֯F (0 ֯C) or above 90 ֯F (32 ֯C). You also can’t leave them unattended in the car since cars can turn into ovens when they’re out in the sun.
US Federal Law also protects pets from cruelty, so if you see a pup left outside in the cold or heat without enough food, water, and shelter, you can call law enforcement. This pup’s owners can receive a hefty fine or jail time for their cruel neglect since animal neglect is considered a misdemeanor in all US states.
What Are The Laws On Leaving Dogs Outside In The UK?
The UK legally allows dogs to live outside, as long as they have a kennel to live in. If you notice your neighbor’s dog staying outside all the time, they’re not necessarily breaking the law. If this pup is left out in extreme temperatures, tied up inhumanely, or left without adequate food or shelter, it could be seen as a case of animal cruelty. In this case, you could contact law enforcement or your local RSPCA branch to check things out.
These guys are limited by the laws, though, and if they can’t prove neglect, abuse, or cruelty, the pup’s conditions are unlikely to change.
My Neighbour’s Dog Barks All Night. What Are My Rights?
All dogs bark. It’s a fact of life. However, in some cases, this barking is excessive and indicates a problem. Dogs could bark excessively for a variety of reasons, including boredom, loneliness, and distress. If your neighbor’s dog is barking all night, it disturbs the peace and becomes a nuisance.
Legally, you could report this to your local environmental health authorities. They could formally ask the pup’s owner to prevent the dog from making such a racket. If the owner is unsuccessful, they could take the puppy from its owner.
Neighbors Complain About My Dog. How Can I Respond?
Neighborly relations could be tricky at the best of times. When your neighbors complain about your pets, things can get hairy. After all, our pets are family, so that’s equivalent to pointing the finger at your kids – not something any parent wants to deal with. But, what do you do if your neighbors freak out about your dog?
First off, don’t get defensive. That makes everything so much worse and could blow the entire situation out of proportion. Listen patiently to what your neighbor has to say. Perhaps there’s some grain of truth to it – if there is, you need to find it to solve the problem.
Maybe your dog barks often, or perhaps she finds ways into his yard, and he doesn’t want that. Maybe he’s just a bit sour and doesn’t like animals. Either way, you need to figure out what’s going on, unless you plan on moving house.
Once you understand the problem, empathize and apologize for your dog’s behavior. People tend to chill out a bit when they feel heard and understood. This goes a long way to restoring peace, even when you haven’t necessarily fixed the problem yet. Empathizing is not an admission of guilt – you’re not saying that your pup is a problem. You’re just showing that you sincerely understand your neighbor’s frustration. Tell him that you’ll do your best to sort out the issue at hand.
Next, you have to investigate. Ask your neighbor when problematic behavior usually occurs. Do it in a way that won’t make him defensive. You know, like “when is this behavior most annoying?” “Other than me giving up my pooch, what would clear up the situation for you?” if your pup is generally acting up when you’re not around, set up a video camera to record her behavior when you’re away from home. Or, take a day off and watch your home from a distance. Sherlock Holmes style! Ask your other neighbors if they’ve noticed anything. There might be other dogs in the neighborhood that show the same behavior. Perhaps, your neighbor even mistook those dogs for yours, blaming all the annoying things on your innocent little poochy.
Ensure that you’re not violating any local doggy laws. You know, keeping your dog on a leash, cleaning up after her when you go for a walk, preventing her from barking excessively, etc. If you’re in contravention of any of these, your neighbor has a legal right to complain, and it could land you in hot water.
If your dog barks excessively, you might want to keep her indoors at night or contact a behaviorist to help you rectify whatever makes her bark so much. It might be something simple like changing your routine, so she feels like she’s getting more attention, or something more serious.
If your dog charges the fence, your neighbor might feel threatened, or he might fear for his of his kids’ safety. Whether your dog is really a threat or not, is beside the point in this case. In this situation, you should ensure that your fence is robust and sturdy. Maybe you might have to add an inner wall to create a bit more space between his yard and yours. It might also mean that your dog is always on a leash when you’re outside your yard, even if it’s only for two seconds. All of this might seem excessive to you, but you have to protect your pup and neighborly relations.
Neighbours Dog Keeps Escaping Into My Garden. What To Do?
Dogs don’t respect boundaries, and given the opportunity, they’ll run around all over the place. That’s not okay, though, and your garden should be off-limits to your neighbor’s dogs. If your neighbor’s dog keeps getting into your garden, the first course of action would be to have a friendly neighborly chat.
If this doesn’t clear things up, you may need to build a fence if you don’t already have one. Or, perhaps, you should reinforce your wall.
If a dog runs around without its owner, it is considered to be “at large.” In this case, animal welfare could impound it. You could also seize the dog, but that has legal ramifications since the dog is then considered to be in your care and becomes your responsibility. Owners who fail to contain their dogs could be liable to a fine, which would increase with each consecutive offense. Reporting your neighbor to the authorities could give them a wake-up call, but that would definitely sour neighborly relations.
There are many laws protecting pups from cruel treatment and protecting dogs and people from each other. When you see a dog kept under inhumane conditions, contact the local authorities. Have them solve the situation. Doggy-related issues between neighbors can also get hairy. If you have a difference of opinion regarding either of your pets, start out with a friendly chat to clear the air. This is usually the best route, protecting both the neighborly relationship and the pups involved. If this doesn’t bear fruit, you could always opt for legal action, though its effectiveness could be limited.
² Photo by Dave Nakayama
⁵ Photo by Odanieldp