Monday, October 22, 2007

M writes:

I live in a house that I bought 9 years ago. My husband, step-son, and 3 year old daughter have a quiet lifestyle. I have a beautiful black lab that is 8 years old, and up until recently, has never caused me any problems. I used to be able to leave him for 3-4 days at a time. He has a self-feeder, self-waterer, pet door, and a fully fenced, doubled locked on each side yard to play in. Life was good.

Almost 2 years ago, my fantastic next-door-neighbors moved to another town, and sold their house to a young nurse. Nurse seems like a pretty nice gal except for her dogs. Nurse works nights. Nurse started out with one dog, now has two, and sometimes has her mother's bassett hound staying over for a few days at a time. These dogs all bark and never stop! Well that is they never stop when she isn't home; if she is home, then all is quiet. The problem is that she isn't home much.

My dog has begun exhibiting all sorts of anxiety related behavior that begins when the incessent barking starts. He shakes; he trys to paw at doors and hide in rooms; he eats huge holes that go all the way through bedroom doors when we are at work; he eats fence boards on the side of the house opposite the dogs; I even have him on prozac to try to deal with the anxiety.

The dogs bark all night. They wake up my dog, which causes absolute chaos from his anxiety over the barking. They wake up my toddler. They wake up my husband. They wake up me. Even my stepson on the opposite end of the house is unable to sleep.

There have been a couple of occasions when I have run in to her as she is pulling out of her driveway. She seems embarassed as the dogs are barking as she leaves the driveway. I actually told her that I had my dog on prozac and it seems to help for separation anxiety (hint, hint).

About a month ago, I finally said to hell with it and start calling the police on a regular basis. My husband is in law enforcement, and I'm an attorney/former prosecutor. We are all too familiar with the system. I had great expectations that one visit from the police would resolve the issue.

The first visit from Police Officer #1 should have done the trick. He went to the hospital where she works. Came back by the house, and told me that he warned her she would be getting a noise citation if she didn't take care of it. We were so optimistic!

The second, third and fourth visits were from Police Officer #2. He managed to hunt down someone at the house, who told him that he was only dog watching for her, that he bartended nights, and that he didn't think he should have to make sure they didn't bark at night. Police Officer #2 told him the dogs better stop or he'd be getting a noise citation. Officer #2 even stopped by last weekend to see how things were going and if the situation had improved. I wish we had better news to report.

There was another call to dispatch, but there weren't any officers available to help that night.

The icing on the cake was this morning. At about 4:00 AM, the insane barking began, waking up the whole house. It kept going until I left at 7:00 AM. Police Officer #3 came out and was appalled at the loudness of the barking. He told me he would cite her if it didn't stop. Only problem is that she is never home when the barking happens.

I got home tonight around 6:00 PM. The barking continued until 9:30 PM. Police Officer #4 wasn't so helpful. Was concerned about the crazy barking at first, but then returned to my house after hunting Nurse down, and reported that he knew her, she was a really nice person, and that she would be home soon to stop the barking.

He tried to persuade me that the dogs were barking because of other dogs in heat, my response was, "For 2 years?" Actually suggested that I should talk to her about the other dogs but that only one he heard was her mother's basset hound and that she promised it would be gone in the morning. I smiled, and let him know that she isn't home to talk to when the dogs bark and that I would be relying on law enforcement to take care of this issue for me. And by then I let him know who my husband is, and then he made the connection that I am an attorney. I don't usually play that trump card but at this point, things are really desparate.

So practically speaking, I am at a loss as to what to do. My pet is miserable and destroying our home, my husband is miserable, my toddler can't sleep, and I am at my wit's end. I bought a bark-stop device and mounted it the side of my house; it didn't work. I bought dog repellant and put it on my fence; it didn't work. She has these dogs corraled in a 10' long by 5' wide strip that runs along my fence directly across from my bedroom and living room windows, and two sets of sliding doors. Nurse won't move them to the other side of her yard because a) they would ruin it; and b) they would be by her bedrooms.

I assume the noise citations will start soon--at $500 a pop maybe that will take care of it but what if it doesn't? We used to be so happy in our peaceful little house and now we can't even sleep. I'm just about ready to move!

Thanks for letting me vent.

Ca1v1n replies: You may have already tried this but perhaps contacting the local Humane Society will get you some more immediate action then the Police. Especially if the animals have any evidence at all of abuse.

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Sara said...

In San Francisco and other cities in the Bay Area, if you get 3 noise complaints because of your pet, they can legally come and take the animal and have it destroyed. I swear to God. Me and all my pet-loving friends live in anxious awareness of this at all times. I can't believe your neighbor is so lackadaisical about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but it's just not okay to leave a dog alone for days at a time. That is just cruel. No wonder your dog is bummed out. I agree your neighbor sucks, but a black lab needs to be around people many hours a day and needs to be walked, not just let to run in a yard.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm a non-barking dog owner, and can sympathize, but wait a minute hinted your dog was on Prozac? but you never even talked to her? You didn't go over and say, "Honey, your dogs are driving me insane. Either get the barking to stop or get rid of them. Otherwise, we go to court". I mean, for god's sake, you're an attorney!!!! Is this how you go to court? Come on, have a conversation with the women before you start nuking the neighbors!