Tresspass? What would you have done?

Not only would I do the same, I have done the same. A few months before she died, my dotty 15-year-old dog was especially energetic one day and tore off into the woods, ultimately ending up in the neighbors’ also unfenced yard. No only did the neighbors not mind that my brother and I were in the yard, their two preteen children helped corral her.

What an ordeal!

I’m convinced an elderly neighbor stole my cat Desmo, a beautiful silver long haired male with captivating green eyes. I met the neighbor who followed my cat home one afternoon and he was gushing over him. Turns out he had a female cat that was almost the twin of Desmo.

Wish I had kept him indoors forever.

I posted signs knocked on doors when the cat went missing. Went looking for roadkill too, I had to know what happened to my little shy guy. But Mr. elderly neighbor never responded and within a week we were moving out of the short term rental we were in and all I can hope is Desmo was happy in his new home.

Tell the neighbors that it’s probably the only time they’ll get to literally “forgive those who trespass against us.”

(In church, I always add, sotto voce, “Yeah, I’m cool with people cutting through my yard, Lord.”)

I find it hard to believe that such signs are relevant to a fenced yard attached to a residential home. If I don’t put up such a sign, can someone come in and have a barbeque in my back yard when I’m not home? If I do put up such a sign, does that override situations when normal social convention dictates that entry is allowed - could I (say) have a Jehovah’s Witness arrested for trespass if they came into my yard and knocked on my front door?

A section of my FIL’s fence fell down during a recent wind storm. The only way to fix it was to go into his neighbor’s yard. My FIL told me to just go, there was a gate next to his driveway. I went over, got the fence back up and securely nailed. A while later the neighbor came over and thanked me for fixing the fence. She said she heard me but wasn’t worried, she doubted a thief would be in her yard fixing the fence.

I believe the law has provisions for people coming to your front door if otherwise unimpeded but if a fenced backyard is posted with No Trespassing signs you can use force to remove a person there without permission and you can sue them as well. You would have a difficult time getting authorities to charge them with a crime if they caused no damage and there was no evidence of criminal intent.

Trespassing is real, your property is not open for use by others based on social conventions, you can take reasonable steps to protect it even from harmless activities.

The road to our home is private, not maintained by the town. There are three homes and we share the cost of maintenance.

We have a “PRIVATE ROAD NO TRESPASSING” sign at the beginning of the road. I’ve called the police when salesmen attempt to cold-call and they respond and ticket them both for trespass as well as not having a permit (town requires a permit for door-to-door that nobody bothers to get).

We have on average <1 unexpected visitor a year.

I fully understand the purpose of these signs on tracts of unfenced land, or anywhere that ambiguity exists. But a fence is the usual way that the private property of a residential yard is demarcated.

You mention situations where forcible ejection is justified, and situations where the the police would be unlikely to charge someone. But for a fenced yard, my question is under what circumstance would the additional presence of a No Trespassing sign make the difference? What exactly could a person be doing in my fenced back yard where I could not forcibly eject them in the absence of such a sign, but I could forcibly eject them if a sign were posted? What exactly could a person be doing in my fenced back yard where the police would not charge them in the absence of a sign, but they would charge them if a sign were posted?

Standing in your back yard. That’s all that’s required for forceful removal, signs or not. It’s your property, others may not use it if they have been told not to, and any permission, tacit or explicit to use your property can be removed whenever you feel like it. It is that simple.

I don’t think I could have been any clearer that my question was about circumstances in which posted No Trespassing signs make a difference in the case of a fenced yard. So they make no difference? I’m not trying to be difficult or advocate any position - I genuinely want to know.

Oh how sad! You are probably correct that the elderly neighbor decided to make the cat his, which is really awful, but at least that would be a better situation than the alternative of him meeting his demise by a car or wildlife.

I ended up moving shortly after I got my cat back and I decided she was going to be an indoor-only cat…she balked at first, but didn’t take too long for her to adjust to indoor life, and she lived to be 18 years old.

Unless your neighbor is Putin there’s no practical reason NOT to retrieve a pet in distress.

Even though assuming forgiveness seems a bit presumptuous to me.

There’s some kind of pull out / Putin joke to be made here. Come to think of it, there’s probably a much better setup about wishing that Putin’s father had pulled out. Ok, ok, it’s still lame.

Yes. In the case of the OP where the gate was open (either wide open or not locked) the difference is without signs you have to inform the person they are trespassing and they have to leave. They have to know they are trespassing and refuse to leave before you can force them out. Your lawn is your private property, just like your car or your TV remote. Generally no one should assume they have the right to touch your property without permission but we have allowed land traditionally to be touched unless it’s posted or surrounded by a fence with locked gates. This even though we don’t mostly don’t implement Freedom to Roam laws. But then again, clearly demarcating property lines to be able to reasonably enforce trespassing laws has to put a lot of burden on the property owner. You’d have to go state by state to clarify what difference defines a fence or a locked or closed gate and how that would affect trespassing.

I agree, but I recently heard of a similar case that became complicated. A guy was tracking a package he was awaiting and refreshed his screen to find it “delivered”. UPS driver was walking off his neighbor’s porch.

He ran over and saw it was his package, so he retrieved it.

Two days later his neighbor called the police. He had Ring Door Video of his neighbor taking a package from his porch. The box had already been discarded and things were complicated.

Trespassing should be done cautiously unless your neighbor is a friend.

I think the difference is in whether or not their presence on your property is inherently criminal. Without a sign, it is not a criminal matter until you say “GTFOff of my property!” and they don’t. Put up a sign, you’ve effectively said that right off the bat, and they are violating the law without you having to say it again.

Another reason to get to know your neighbors. If my neighbor had ring video of my taking a package from their stoop, they’d call me, and I’d explain, and that would be the end of it.

In the case of retrieving your lost animal? It’s polite to ask, if that’s possible, but i think it would be pretty weird for your neighbor to object to your trespassing to recapture your pet. And they probably don’t want your pet on their property, either. The cat might poop, scratch up the flower beds or the window screens or otherwise damage the place.