We’ve got a problem in our neighborhood. Although there has been a leash law for almost two decades, some people are allowing their dogs to roam loose. At first it was just the two that belong to a new family, but then a couple of other families started following suit, and now it’s a rare day when I don’t see at least one dog walk walking through my yard.
Needless to day, no one is following along to clean up after these dogs, who are also free to dig in gardens, bark, knock over trash barrels, and cause other assorted nuisances. I know one of the owners and I’ve spoken with her about it, and all I got was a semi-apologetic but unrepentent “It’s just too much trouble to have to walk Sherm all the time. Besides, he’s an old dog and mostly stays in our yard, and he won’t cause problems any way.” Well. It’s true that Sherm – a bassett so fat his belly almost touches the ground when he’s standing – is a very sweet-natured dog, and I don’t think he’d bite anyone. But any dog will burrow after prey or want to investigate intriguing odors, and all dogs poop.
Yes, we have tried complaining to the ‘authorities,’ but the police simply say to report it to the Animal Control office, and due to several budget cuts the ‘Animal Control’ is a single person, working part-time. In essence, if we catch an offending dog and call in, and it happens to be the right day, the officer will collect the dog and go speak with the owner. Otherwise…zip. Some of the roaming dogs are large, most of them are unknown to me. I’m simply not interested in risking being bit.
Yesterday another neighbor and I were talking and this subject came up. She’s not a pet owner, btw, and really rabid about having beautifully manicured lawn and gardens. I have pets, but only cats who never go outside, and I’m not all that ‘yard proud’, but still I’m annoyed at having to clean up dog poop or having some hound barking right under my windows any time of day or night. The neighbor says she’s thinking of trying this plan. First, she’d deliver a letter to all the houses in the neighborhood saying something like:
“We are having great trouble with rodents and other vermin damaging our property, so we have hired a company to get rid of them. Besides spraying repellents, the company will use poison baits. These will be wired into trees and hedges and hidden below bushes. Please warn your children not to play in our yard. Also, if you are a dog owner, be sure you don’t let your dog ‘explore’ on our property while you are walking him. We’d hate for any one to be made ill.”
Then she’d post a sign in her yard, at both sides near the sidewalk, that reads “Warning! Poison Baits in Yard! Do not allow dogs or childrens to enter unless carefully supervised!”
Finally, she will put some of the baits deliberately NOT very well hidden close enough to the sidewalk to be easily spotted.
The thing is, it would all be a fake. The baits wouldn’t be poison at all, just something she’d dummy up to look like actual baits.
Her idea is, the letter and sign and visible ‘presence’ of the poison will be enough to make people stop letting their dogs run loose, and since there isn’t actually any poison, she’s not risking real harm to any children or pets.
I’m not sure she’s right about it working (people might be skeptical, or lazy enough to let their dogs ‘risk’ it rather than have to walk them) but I’m wondering if she can get in any trouble for doing this? Could a ‘warning’ about a fake danger count as some sort of threat? I know threatening to shoot someone would still get you arrested even if the gun was fake.
OTOH, people put up “Beware of vicious dog” signs all the time, regardless of their dog being a harmless little chihuahua or even non-existant.