Any laws in place other than municipal code for my city?

I don’t live in a gated community or any other “sub-community” that’s governed by its own rules in addition to the city’s municipal code. I just live in the city, and it has a municipal code.

The municipal code for my city says that I may not allow my dog to defecate on any public or private property unless I clean up the feces and dispose of it in a sanitary manner.

A neighbor recently told me that it’s illegal for me to allow my dog to pee or poop on another person’s lawn.

Unless there’s some other law, besides the municipal code, of which I’m unaware, this guy seems to be misinformed, and I’d love to know the truth so that we can clear this up. As far as I know, a fence or a “private property: keep off” sign is the way a person lets me know my dog may not defecate on his lawn. Otherwise, it’s a community, we clean up after our dogs, and everybody’s happy, because that’s the law. No?

If this isn’t a clear issue, who exactly can I ask within the city’s ranks if there’s some other law I should be looking up? There are about a millon phone numbers on my city web site…

Keep in mind that the term “illegal” is not a precise term of art. It can mean: the action violates a specific law or regulation. It can also mean: the action would result in a successful lawsuit against you by some person for damages.

Although the city requires that you pick up after your dog, there would still be the more general question of whether or not allowing your dog to defectate or urinate on another’s property would be actionable trespassing. As to this, I’m not an expert; I am certain someone who likes to poke around in the ins and outs of the law of trespass will be happy to offer an opinion.

As for the morality of the situation, you shouldn’t let your dog poop and pee on other people’s property, in my humble opinion, at all. There are probably sufficient public areas where you can accomplish your goal, and obviously the city you are in simply asks that you pick up after in such cases. If you know a particular property owner doesn’t mind your animal relieving itself on his/her property, then fine. We’ve debated this on this board before, and you won’t find agreement on the issue from a morality standpoint, but that’s MY opinion, for what it is worth. :slight_smile:

When dogs poop, they generally pee as well. Dog urine damages lawns. I spend a lot of time and effort on my lawn, and would not wish it to be damaged by your dog. I would be unhappy if I saw you regularly letting your dog use my lawn as a place to relieve itself.

I’d probably let it go once or twice, especially if you picked up the poop. If you made a habit of it, I’d request that you stop. If you refused, I’d consider taking legal action against you.

There’s got to be some sort of general trespassing violation you and your dog are guilty of as well. I shouldn’t need to post signs to keep you off my property if you have no legitimate reason to be there (such as delivering a package, etc.).

Oh, and before I forget:

[grumpy old man]
[/grumpy old man]


Yeah, I guess I’m not really looking for a morality discussion. We all have to get along, and the law helps us do that. So I’d love to be certain on the law. Then, of course, common sense comes into play, which hopefully we all use as well.

Please throw us a bone and tell us where you live. :wink:

Seriously. It is impossible to answer the question meaningfully without knowing the jurisdiction in question.

Redondo Beach, CA

It may be a stretch, but state laws covering the fencing of livestock may be applicable. There are “fence in” states, where the owner of animals is responsible for keeping them confined on their property; the owner of livestock is held liable for any damages to person or property done by his livestock straying onto the property of another. In “open range” or “fence out” states, where a property owner is responsible for fencing their property to keep animals owned by others out; the livestock owner is not responsible for damage inflicted by their animals unless they entered land enclosed by a legal fence.

Of course, IANAL.

Couple things.

  1. Yes, of course there are other laws in place. There are County, State, and Federal laws. But I take it your question is about laws governing your dog peeing on your neighbor’s lawn.

  2. I didn’t find any relevant county ordinances. But I did find this state statute, which might apply, depending on some facts that we don’t have.

Also, as others have suggested, entering someone else’s property without their permission is civil trespass, for which the property owner can sue; under some circumstances, the property owner can get nominal damages (an award of damages even where no actual damages have been shown). A property owner is also generally permitted to use reasonable force to remove a trespasser, at least under some circumstances. So even if you don’t get a ticket, you could get sued or wind up in a scuffle with an angry neighbor.

I’m sure common law applies as well, and if a person tells you not to bring your dog onto their private property you can’t bring your dog onto their private property unless *explicitly allowed to do so by another law. *

Why isn’t there a law that says dogs can’t pee/poop on other people’s lawns? I’m surprised that since this is such a contentious subject that there’s not a law in place that makes it very clear where walking dogs is concerned. I don’t get it…

I don’t want to have to worry that if my dog can’t wait and has to pee/poop, that I don’t know whether I’m welcome to allow him to do it if there’s nothing but houses/yards as far as the eye can see between my house and the public stretch of pee-able/poop-able grass.

Maybe because it is such common sense? I own a dog. She is trained to urinate/defecate in the woods that I own behind my house. I have a neighbor who allows her dog to defecate in my yard. I don’t think a law is necessary to deal with this, but if she ever needs anything from me, I’ll explain why my answer is no.

I’ve always thought that dog shit on my lawn should not be an “opt out” type of deal. :smiley:

It sounds to me like you are trying to say that your dog can crap on your neighbor’s yard, and as long as you clean it up, there is nothing he can do about it.

There is where common trespass laws come into play. If you are trespassing on someone’s property, that is a civil violation which he can take to civil court and try to get monetary damages, possibly the damage to his yard.

He can also serve you with a trespass notice. The most common way is to have a police officer explain to you that the neighbor does not want you on his property, and the notice is filed. Then if you continue it becomes criminal trespass.

I hope my original assumption is wrong, and that you would be a good neighbor and keep your dogs in your own yard…