I have known people to sell up and move elsewhere because they just can't take their neighbours one more minute. And if that's not drastic enough, I also know of several cases where poison has been used to settle the score, not to mention a well-placed bullet resulting in a life wasted in jail. And the reason for such animosity? You guessed, the family pets!
Nothing is more annoying than a pet owner in denial. Incessant barking, fouling, cruelty or digging up next door's rare Aspidistras are but a few things that can sour a relationship. And cats too can be the cause of making deadly enemies, especially if they are killing the neighbour's beloved wild birds, or beating up their kitty cat and eating its food. All these little annoyances have a habit of erupting into World War 3.
So if you are a tormented neighbour, no matter on which side of the fence you reside, please, before resorting to heavy artillery, negotiate a fair deal. If you don't settle amicably, you are sure to finish up either in hospital or in another town as well as penniless and petless. Remember, if your animal is causing a reason for complaint, it is your responsibility to solve the problem and keep your neighbours happy.
Question. We live in an up-market area but my neighbour, diagonally across from me, has five German Shepherd dogs which bark incessantly and never shut up. Recently I have run out of patience, so I've rigged up a siren on a tree in my property, as close as I can get to their bedroom window. Now, every time their dogs bark, I set off my siren so they can get a taste of their own medicine.
I just wish he would get rid of the dogs because my sleep is being sorely interrupted and I'm perpetually in a bad mood. Can you suggest something more?
Answer. Isn't that interesting! My neighbour opposite me has five German Shepherds who guard our neighbourhood and alert all our dogs to potential danger. I sleep well at night knowing the security crew are on duty protecting our interests.
However, some twit keeps activating a siren in protest of our awesome canine crime busters which probably stems from ignorance and immaturity. Having studied dog communication for many years, I can honestly say I have never heard the neighbourhood watch across the road bark incessantly, nor have I ever heard them bark for no apparent reason either, hence our crime-free area.
Coincidently, I noticed a "For Sale" board recently on the same property belonging to the siren king. So if that's your sign, I'd like to take this opportunity of wishing you happy landings, hopefully on another planet where sirens rule.
Question. My wife and I are both doctors and because we are hardly ever home we purchased a male Boerboel for protection.
Our religion does not permit us to have the dog indoors, and because he gets out of our property if we let him loose, we have enclosed a narrow, concreted space between the house and a high boundary wall where he now lives. The only problem is our neighbour, who can see our dog from her bedroom window, has been telling us itís cruel to keep a big dog under these conditions and has even asked to purchase the dog from us.
We don't want to sell him because he is our protection, and apart from that, it's none of her business what we do. He gets fed every day and our helper keeps his place very clean.
Three days ago he went missing. He couldn't have gotten free unless someone stole him and I suspect it was my neighbour as there has been bad blood between us since the Boerboel was a pup.
When I asked her, she denied all knowledge of the dog's whereabouts, but we believe she's lying. I reported the matter to the police and the SPCA, but they both say there is nothing they can do. We have now approached an attorney and will not rest until we locate this dog. Is there anything you may be able to suggest to help get him back?
Answer. No, nothing. Firstly your dog was not much good to you penned up in a small area. That is cruel and not a good life for a large animal that has a right to company, respect and stimulation.
I hope your attorney sends you a very large bill which may just wake you up to the fact that dogs are not remote-controlled machines, but rather highly intelligent, emotional creatures with dreams, hopes and expectations just like us.
And as for your neighbour, theft is not to be condoned, so do not get another dog and treat it in the same manner as she will still be watching you from her bedroom window.
Till next time, love 'em, spoil 'em and have lots of fun.
- Glynne Anderson is a pet behaviour consultant and professional dog handler who has appeared on radio and TV to talk about animals and their problems. She can be contacted at email@example.com or by phoning 031 765 1958.