When we moved into this area several years ago, we noticed that the house to the east was nice, but junk everywhere in the backyard, including a lot of parked cars/lawn mowers/campers. Now, I'm not one to judge another's yard or lifestyle and hey, maybe they are into the three R's. (that'd be reduce, REUSE, recycle).
For the last 3+ years, we've done our best to be neighborly. We wave, we visit and we do our part to keep the neighborhood up. These neighbors don't wave back and in general, piss a lot of people off. I'm of the "live and let live" mindset, so I don't get my panties too twisted if they drive on the corner of my lawn repeatedly or they have inoperable cars on their driveway. As the HOA President, I field these type of complaints about them weekly, again, I assure people that life is too short to get high blood pressure over the bad apple of the neighborhood.
All of my laid back niceness has now been chucked out the window.
Their dog, a black lab, is an escape artist. She jumps the fence, walks thru open gates & sections of fence that were taken down. We have taken her back home numerous times. She barks, incessantly at nothing. I, too, have labs. They only bark if someone approaches our fence or if they see a dog on the road (lots of dog walkers here.)
I've put up with the escaping. Even have put her in our yard several times until they got home (didn't even get so much as a 'thanks for helping us out'). I've put up with the barking, even though it's outside my bedroom window day and night.
I love labradors. It's my favorite breed. A breed I understand and can deal with. The dog is bored. She isn't worked with. She isn't handled. She is smart and neglected.
Last Monday night, when she dug under the dividing fence and killed 3 of my free range chickens before we could stop her, that's when I got mad. Enough is enough. I held onto her collar until my husband could go and get the neighbor. All neighbor said was that he'd be out later to fix the fence. He didn't. Never offered to clean up the carnage. Never offered to pay for the replacement hens. No apologies. Nothing. He could hear my daughters and youngest son shrieking hysterically in the house. Never said a word.
A week has passed. Jerry decides to go over and talk to them again about the dog - barking, digging under the fence and the cost of the hens.
Mrs. Neighbor is the one who he spoke to. She is not a nice person. (I'm choosing my words carefully here.)
She said she doesn't like us having chickens (we have 10, totally within the legal limits and we don't have roosters. Hens are quiet, unless they are laying - then they tell the world. Our hen house is at the very back of our property. You have to be in the yard to even hear them as we all have 1 acre lots.) Her point is that people who have chickens are bad, poor and red neck. (Sorry, but when is poor or redneck a problem? Last time I checked, 21% of the world's population lives on less than $1.25 a day - that's poor.)
She said her dog is a lab, and labs attack birds, so too bad for us. I have labs too. 1 was a farm rescue (that caught his own food for months) and even he didn't attack them. The puppies are being trained, so far, so good. Our contention is that had our chickens flown into THEIR yard, yep, it was bound to happen and sucks to be us. But, her dog dug into OUR yard and that's where the problem lies.
She said it's ridiculous for anyone to pay to reimburse for the chickens and that $20 was asinine to pay. Uh, no, these were 6 month old, laying hens that were killed. 2 were leghorns (nearly daily layers) and the other was a Plymouth Rock. What if it had been a $1500 pure bred dog? Or doctor bills for an attacked child? Yeah, you're still responsible. You're the owner and what your animal does, has consequences.
He asked that they do something. There are options. Get rid of the dog. Train the dog. Install an electric fence or an underground fence so she stays away from our yard. Install a privacy fence she can't see thru - right now, it's chain link. Move. (yeah, I voted for that one.) Pay for us to move. (now we're into crazy-talk-territory.) Oh, and do something about the freakin non-stop barking. She said no to everything. Said her husband was sick and when he felt better, he may want to talk to us.
Jerry feels a fight is brewing. We've gotten a lot of advice - that we should've shot the dog (can't legally discharge a firearm inside city limits) and various ways of getting rid of their dog. Uh, NO, I'm an animal lover. It's not the dog's fault that it's doing this out of boredom and lack of interaction from it's owners.
I've reported it to the city - didn't get anywhere. Nobody showed up. Today, dog is indoors, but for how long?
Yesterday, it was nice - temps near 70 degrees. I let the chickens out to free range (what they're used to doing) only I had to stay outside with them the entire time as the dog was barking and digging like mad. Okay, I had some yard work and garden prep to do, but still, I can't be out there all the time. Because we raised them to be free rangers, they are used to it. They hang out in our backyard - it's almost half an acre. Plenty of room to run, scratch and do their chicken thing. Now, they can't free range without supervision. Correction, I don't supervise them, I'm supervising the dog. I tossed it's tennis ball multiple times and I talked to her. I petted her and worked on trying to get her to sit - kind of tough with a fence between us, but I do feel sorry for her. She doesn't deserve a life like that.
I guess there's no point to the post other than I'm frustrated. It's not the only thing going badly right now, but dammit, it's my yard and I ought to be able to enjoy it without fearing the neighbors domesticated "pet".
As a side note - if/when TSHTF, how much ya wanna bet they'll be lining up to buy my eggs?! Sheeple who buy into the "if it's not store bought, it's inferior" are never going to realize the incredible damage they do to themselves with all those store bought chemicals they ingest. I keep reading about how antibiotics are becoming less and less effective while virus are gaining strength. Did you know that 70% of the antibiotics despensed in this country are for animals?! That is shocking! I could go on and on about this as I'm very passionate about being mindful of what we consume and knowing what's in your food stream.
Enough for now. I've gotta go catch a wayward hen and put her back in the chicken run. Sorry sister, no free ranging for now. :(