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a bone to pick

So, I have this neighbor who had two pet dalmatians. The dalmatians had five puppies, and then the puppies were sold to all of our neighbors. The dog population in my neighborhood has increased dramatically. The dogs are siblings and related and friendly and all, but the problem is the dogs are ruining my front lawn. It’s gross, and I’m really not thrilled about gardening in the mess they’ve left behind. Additionally, two of the new dog neighbors on either side of me put their dogs out at night, to bark through my children’s bedtime hour, which has our whole routine out of whack.

Now, I have three cats. They’re indoor cats, at that. My question is, do you think It’s ok for me to scoop my cats’ litter box and then deposit the clumps on my dog-owning neighbors’ lawns? Just reciprocating their gifts is the way I’m looking at it.

Pooped Out

City Neighbor says: Experience tells me that you are engaged in a losing battle. My neighbor’s airedale has been tied in the back yard where is has barked incessantly for the past five or six years. The dog is left outside alone to bark and bark and bark, day and night, summer and winter, whether the neighbor is home or not. The animal got loose once and did not seem to know its own name when the owner called it. When they can’t control him, they just hit him. Countless calls from the adjacent neighbors to law enforcement, animal protection, etc. etc. have been fruitless. Every so often the neighbor accuses me of sicking the police on them—which I haven’t, but I’m just too exhausted by the issue to engage the topic. The owner has been ticketed and warned, all to no avail. It is a beautiful animal, and its treatment is truly sad. It may sound horrible, but we are simply waiting for the dog to pass on of natural causes. If it were to reproduce, as your neighboring dalmatian has, I would honestly consider moving. To answer your precise question, no, wanton vandalism is not justified. You need to speak, as politely as you can, to your ignorant and disrespectful neighbors, and I wish you more luck than I have had. If that fails, I do think you could collect the offending poop and deposit it back in the yard to which it belongs. Unwanted gifts should be returned, not reciprocated.

Dining Out says: My Dearest Cruella: Fortunately for you, your children, and your cats, your neighbors aren’t breeding Dobermans or Rottweilers (Hint: It could be a lot worse). You will only exacerbate the situation by dumping kitty fertilizer on your neighbors’ lawns or releasing your cats into their homes at night while they’re sound asleep so they can claw your neighbors’ furniture to pieces! If you want to play your cards right, turn up the charm. Purchase an economy size bag of dog treats, take the treats with you on a neighborhood stroll, and knock on each dalmatian-owners door. Introduce yourself, distribute the treats, and tell each dog owner how beautiful their spotted dogs look. Next, explain that your lawn/garden produce products you & your family consume and mention that your children need to roam freely on your lawn without worrying about what they may step on (or put in their mouths). Emphasize the fact that your children are getting groggy & cranky from constantly being awoken by a symphony of barking. Ask if their dogs can have a nighttime curfew just as your children will have when they’re teenagers. If the situation doesn’t change in a week’s time, call Animal Control and ask to speak with a representative.

Classified Info says: I wouldn’t go gift-giving with little tokens of appreciation from the litter box just yet. You do have to live near these folks, and their dogs. Perhaps I can help with a little story...

One autumn day I was raking leaves in my front yard. I had just collected all of the leaves into a large pile, when suddenly a boxer came bounding in front of me, squatted, and took a big dump on the leaf pile! His owner was about 50 yards or so down the street, and by the time he approached my yard, I had a plastic bag in hand (he conveniently left his bags at home). I haven’t had a problem with this dog (or more appropriately his owner) since that incident.

It may require a little patience and tact, but next time you are outside and one of the dogs pees or poops in your yard, say to your neighbor, “Hey, could you get that for me?” Keep the garden hose and some bags handy, and let them clean up after their dogs. I’m pretty confident that they will get the hint right quick!

The Sales Guy says: Dear 101 Problems:Apparently the overpowering cuteness of a dalmatian litter has dimmed considerably especially when they stay in the neighborhood, grow to size and poop large...obviously on the confines of your unfortunately over-fertilized lawn . I have to ask this question. Are you absolutely certain the dalmatians are the culprits?If yes, and the owners are known to you and are of close proximity to you, why don’t you scoop up exhibit no.2, walk to the neighbor’s door and explain the leash and poop laws of our fair city? It’s just bad manners and pretty disgusting to boot. In my opinion close neighbors allowing dogs to do this without grabbing a bag before a walk and assuming the responsibility is more than strange. There are agencies that handle this quasi-criminal behavior. Call them. If that doesn’t work use the ammo they provided for a little neighborly redecorating.

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