Social Graces: Talking to neighbor about trespassing pet

December 7, 2015

Q: Your neighbor’s dog keeps coming into your yard. How should you address this with the neighbor?

"The resident should approach the owner of the dog, but not when something has just happened or when he or she is angry about the situation. The conversation should take place privately — a one-on-one, low-key expression of concern.

"Be prepared to explain why this is a problem. Is the dog defecating or urinating on the lawn? Is the animal a perceived threat? Is it just getting in the way of family activities? Or is it just the principle that the dog should not be on a neighbor’s property? Whatever the reason, ask the neighbors if they can try to keep the animal on their own property.

"(Also) recognize and acknowledge that many dog owners consider their pet a member of the family."

— Frank Rathbun, vice president of communications and marketing for the Community Associations Institute, a membership organization of homeowner groups

"You can confront the situation without having a tense confrontation. Obviously this is a case of the neighbors not keeping a close enough eye on their dog’s whereabouts. I would wait for a casual opportunity to address the issue with your neighbor, such as in passing on the way in or out of your house. Give them a heads up that their dog has been getting into your yard as of late, and though it’s not a big deal now, you just want to make them aware of what’s going on. I would hate to feel responsible if something happened to the dog while on my property because I wasn’t aware of it."

— Jami Ippolito, owner of pet foods store Paw Naturals



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