Friday, May 09, 2008

How To Deal With the Careless Dog Owner

The careless dog owner . . . lets her pooch out to prowl freely and dig up your lawn, howl at the moon, sift through your trash…

Skip the blame game, says Stephanie Shain, director of outreach programs for companion animals at the Human Society of the United States, in Washington, D.C. “Your neighbor will probably feel embarrassed and defensive, so be honest,” she says. “Let her know this is uncomfortable for you to bring up, too.” Focus on the animal’s behavior – not the owner’s.

Explain that you’re concerned about the dog’s welfare and that you want a peaceful neighborhood and unsullied gardens. Then try to come to a solution together, as Denise Lovat of Troy, Michigan, did. “Our neighbor’s dog would use one tiny corner of our lawn as the bathroom, turning our grass completely brown,” says the 49-year-old sales manager. “It took some talking and roping off that part of the lawn, but we’re friendly now.”

If you can’t bring yourself to talk in person, write a letter, says Shain. If nothing changes after a reasonable period, contact local law-enforcement officials and your animal-control agency and find out about noise ordinances and leash laws.

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