Monday, February 27, 2012

Mighty neighborly of ya!

Before you read the details I am about to provide, please hop over to my wife's blog and get the high level summary.  My post won't make any sense until you do that.

Ready?  OK!

When the 14 year old cop showed up and was very short with us, I gave him some lip back.  I'm not ordinarily like this with authority figures, but this guy was being a bit of a douchebag, pardon my language.
Isn't it past your bedtime?
He informed us he had been in the neighborhood for 10 or 15 minutes and that he hadn't heard the dogs much.  That was, until he parked in front of our house and came up to the door.  Then they were loud.  I politely explained the reason they were barking is because a stranger was coming to our door.  Isn't that what dogs do???

He had no answer for that, so I pushed on. 

I asked who called the police?  He wouldn't tell me.  Not couldn't tell me, but wouldn't.  I informed him, politely, that in case he missed the day in school where they talked about the Bill of Rights (or perhaps hadn't made it that far in school yet),  I have the right to face my accuser.  He said he wouldn't tell me who it was.  I asked again, since it is my right. He informed me that he would not be telling me who it was, but if I wanted to go to the police department next week I was free to do that.

After I was ignored when I asked again why he wouldn't tell me the name since it was my right, he proceeded to threaten me.  I was told if he received one more call tonight he would send us a ticket for an excessive dog barking violation. 

I could see this would not go anywhere with him, so I shut the door and brought the dogs into the garage, where they had to stay in their cages houses for a few hours.  Just for giggles, I checked the law.  It is possible to get a ticket for excessive barking, based on a nuisance clause.  There is not a definition of what qualifies for a nuisance, so I can only assume that if one person calls the police twice in a night that is enough.  It doesn't seem to matter that you've lived somewhere for five years, always had dogs, and never received so much as a complaint.  It also doesn't matter that no other neighbor has a problem with our dogs.  This was 7 PM - not 2 AM.

As we left for dinner, I stopped in at the neighbor that I thought was responsible.  They had not called the cops.  She hadn't even heard the dogs, and went a step farther in saying that even if they had been barking it would have been because her cat runs free and constantly antagonizes the dogs.  Also, she had seen the police next door, so I marched on over.

The lady answered the door on my third knock, and here is the conversation - pretty much word for word:

Me:  Hi, I'm Brad, I live behind you and you just called the cops on me because you said my dogs were barking too much.  I am sorry they bothered you, but going forward, if you ever have an issue with them I would appreciate it if you would just come to my door and let me know.  I'll take care of it without having to call the cops away from other more pressing duties.

I was polite.  I was apologetic.  I thought it was done.  I was wrong.

Her:  Your dogs have been outside for two hours and it's too cold out.

Me (a little stunned):  So the barking wasn't the issue?  Why wouldn't you have just come to me and said something?  My dogs love being outside and I can assure you if there was the slightest chance they were too cold I would have brought them in.

Her:  You have them tied to a tree, in this cold weather.  I just didn't want to see any more graves in your backyard.

At this point her husband joined her at the door.

Me:  My dogs are on a 30 foot dog run with a ten foot lead.  That gives them plenty of room to run around and exercise.  As for the graves, what are you talking about?

Her:  I can see those little white crosses in your backyard.  I'd never let my dogs out when it's this cold.
While it might have made me feel better, it wouldn't have helped.
Me (trying not to laugh in her face):  First off, those crosses aren't in my backyard - they are on my neighbor's property.  Second, those little crosses have the words "tomatoes", "cucumbers", and "peppers" written on them - I don't name my dogs after fruits and vegetables.  They are in a raised garden which is full of vegetables.  Finally, I appreciate your concern for my dogs, but since you don't know anything about them, what you would or would not do is not relevant. 

I don't think she knows the meaning of relevant and I probably should have used smaller words for her, but oh well.

Her, to her husband:  Don't you think it's too cold for dogs to be outside.

Her husband shrugs.

I introduce myself to him again, shake his hand, and ask him to please call me before calling the cops next time they have an issue with me.  I wanted to say "next time you think you know more about running my affairs than I do", but I'm pretty sure he had no idea she called the cops as he was not defending her or even supporting her, so I chose not to escalate this.

I can't wait for their dog to get out of their fenced-in yard again this summer as he is prone to do.  We'll still put it on our dog run, give it water on a 100 degree day, and return it to them when they get home as we've done in the past.  As much as I'd like to call animal control just to throw it in her face, I won't.  That would neither be the neighborly nor the Christian thing to do. 

I think I might still inform her that it is too hot for a dog to be running loose and that I'd never do that to my dogs - I guess we'll see. 

Maybe I'll put a gravestone in their front yard some night.


jen@ living a full life said...

Having difficult neighbors can be...challenging . Sorry for your trouble, but I agree taking the high road is the best way to handle this situation. I saw a picture of your dogs over at your wife's blog, they are so cute! I have cats and they love the cold and snow too!

I'm sure glad she doesn't live by me,I actually have about 6 pet graves in my yard, oh boy would she have a field day with me!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I was glad to hear from Julia that she laughed hysterically about this...I probably would have had a hard time getting my blood pressure back in check, to be honest. ;)

At some point, I think you should gift these neighbors a nice tomato plant or something, with a mini headstone (er, marker) with "tomatoes" written on it.

Perhaps they have a dietary imbalance that causes them to behave so oddly.

championm2000 said...

I have an idea...your neighbor should move to same frozen tundra or deserted island that I want to send my nosy neighbors to. They could call the cops and send HOA letters to each other.

Helene said...

I just read Julia's post and couldn't stop laughing about "the graves".

You are pretty brave to go confront her...esp since she seems like a nosy, busy-body who has nothing but free time on her hands to complain about the neighbors.

Our next door neighbor takes in foster dogs and he's always concerned that their barking bothers us. I just tell him, "Hey, if my kids screaming and crying all day long doesn't bother you, then I think we're pretty much even."

Emmy said...

Okay I read your wife's post and then yours-- too too funny. And good for you for saying something. Wow- that lady. And there dog has gotten out and you have taken care of it??? How in the world could she say anything then? That is just wrong