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Question DetailsAsked on 6/3/2017

what to do about neighbor with dog cage next to our property line. with three dogs, the poop smell is unbearable.

We have confronted the neighbors several times, but they will not move the dogs to the other side of their house (where there is just a large vacant lot). They even suggested we move, or buy candles or buy a large fan They claim to be Christians, and I said you're suppose to love thy neighbor as yourself. I can't entertain outside of my house. The smell is so embarrassing. i have a beautiful home with a beautiful lot. I just can't go outside without becoming sick because of the putrid smell. It smells worse than a dead body. They told me they couldn't smell anything and it was their property and they would do as they pleased. I have reported them and they would try to clean the poop up, but it always comes back and gets even worse, especially when the wind blows our way.

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1 Answer


Depends on how your local government (city or town if in an incorporated area, otherwise county) handles such situations, but from generally simplest to more trouble/time/expense on your part, these are the usual ways to approach this sort of issue (animal smell or barking):

1) contact animal control with WRITTEN (or website form) complaint, not just a call, though this does normally mean the enighbor can find out who filed the complaint). Commonly their action is something like this - on first contact animal control will send a letter saying a complaint has been filed about X situation and to abate it if occurring, second time a site visit by animal control officer to confirm the problem and issue a warning letter/notice, third and maybe fourth time issue a fine, finally (in some areas requires court action) them making the people get rid of the dogs or taking the dogs away from the people.

If you can convince them it constitutes animal neglect (the dogs having to live in a cage full of xxxx for instance) more likely to get a stronger response than just a nuisance complaint. In some areas this sort of animal welfare call can also be anonymous (say from a phone booth) if the neighbors finding out about your complaint risks retribution by them.

Concurrent/contemporaneous complaints from more than one neighbor carry a lot more weight that from just one person/family, because government agencies are aware of and shy away from neighbor-to-neighbor spats which sometimes result in unjustified complaints of this sort by one neighbor using them to harrass the other.

Of course, if they notify you they are going to come inspect try to get them to do it on a day without wind or with breeze blowing it your way, so they can verify the legitimacy of the complaint on your property. Again, signed and dated affidavits from friends or guests who have been at your house and smelled it carry a fair amount of legal weight, as do to probably an even greater extent contemporaneous complaints from other neighbors, if the smell extends to their property.

2) contact your local health department and complain of a public health nuisance - they will commonly take similar steps to above but generally they have more power, but are less used to using it - and ditto about complaints from neighbors and affidavits carrying more weight than just your complaint.

3) see if there is a specific ordinance or law about this and if so pressure the appropriate government agency (animal control, health, or police as applicable) IN WRITING with a formally filed complaint for them to pursue remediation or prosecution

4) if above do not achieve results, go and sign up to testify at weekly city council/board of supervisors meeting and testify (preferably with photos and written statements from friends/neighbors who can testify to the smell issue) regarding this public nuisance to get pressure put on the enforcement people by them. (Initial step in this item might be to contact your area's assemblyman or councilman first to get them to put pressure on the agency responsible for abating this sort of issue).

5) sue the owners for abatement (removal of the problem) under public nuisance laws, or under civil law under legal premises regarding use of your property free of objectionable smells or noises or eyesores from your neighbors

6) start looking for your "forever" retirement home if you arenot already living in it

Note - if it is suggested by the agency that the dog run be moved to the other side of the property, do NOT agree that will solve the problem - just say something like "well, if that solves the smell issue fine, but I am not confident moving it just 40-70 feet is going to solve the problem when the breeze is towards our place". Make your concurrence that the issue has been abated contingent on the nuisance actually going away permanently (and not till it has been gone for some months unless they get rid of the dogs), not just the owners taking some action which might or might not actually work

Good Luck - I have been through the same thing with neighbors with large numbers of dogs, and with constantly barking dogs - can be very time consuming and nervewracking getting it abated, if you are successful at all.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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