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Fences make great neighbors

13 Oct

We moved into our house two years ago this month. This is an older neighborhood and we had a new house built here. Despite doing everything we could to not make a ripple in the neighborhood (which included our building redoing a portion of the road that the neighbors swear was destroyed by heavy equipment and which we know was not), for some reason many of the neighbors do not like us. We don’t have parties, we don’t play loud music, we built our house away from the road and partially secluded from sight. We keep our property clean, we take care of our house and yard and dogs and cars. Several neighbors have rusted out old cars parked in their yards, we do not. Several have overgrown foliage, we do not. We don’t leave trash out by the curb, we don’t litter, we don’t trespass. I can’t say the same for others in the neighborhood. Most of the houses are original to the neighborhood (50+ years), ours clearly is not. We nod and are polite to people we see on the street. On the occasion that we walk the dogs, we always smile to people we pass, and we always wave to cars that go around us (there are no sidewalks). And hey, I helped a neighbor (little girl) catch her dog at 8:30 in the morning when it ran out of her house after her parents had left for work. I ran out of my house when I saw the dog running loose down the street and I tracked it down and I corralled it with another neighbor who came out to help me while the little girl stood in the street and cried. I walked her and her dog home and made sure they were both securely locked in their house while she waited for her father to come home. (And by the way never got a thank you from the family…never even got acknowledged for jumping out of bed and tossing on clothes and chasing someone else’s dog down the street and through two neighbor’s yards…ignoring even that it left me in acute pain because of my knees and back and shoulder.)

Okay, so last fall we moved in. A month after we moved in, we adopted Le Moo. Within a month we had a fence put in so Le Moo could have space to run and play outside (which actually turned out to be “Le Moo can have a spay to go lay in the yard and stare a birds in the sky”). Le Moo isn’t a barker, and at the time it was too cold to walk her with any regularity, so her activity was relegated to the backyard, which is not visible to the street we live on. Shortly after moving in we had one or two people stop while we were near the street to greet us (telling us that they lived at the far end of the neighborhood), but most everyone in the immediate area ignored us. Winter rolled through and we kept to ourselves. We found that a neighbor across the street has four little dogs who spent their life in the front yard on a leash, yapping their fool heads off. And their owner spent her life screaming at her dogs. Like, repeatedly, loudly. We found it to be really annoying, but it really isn’t our business (she didn’t actually hit her dogs…that would take effort), so we stayed away from her.

Winter rolled out and spring rolled in. We hadn’t gotten a lawn mower that could handle our new lawn yet, so the grass started growing faster than we anticipated. We kept up with our old mower as best we could, but there was an area in the front that was right up against the street that we couldn’t mow because of the terrain. So we let it be. A few weeks into the spring we got a visit from the county. A neighbor had “called to complain” about our lawn, saying it was overgrown. Truth? It was overgrown, but it wasn’t any worse than other lawns on the street. But the complaint was lodged so the county had to follow up. So I stood on the front stoop and talked to the woman from the county. And I asked her if there was a county code that indicated how tall our grass could get. She admitted that there was no such code. So I asked her what code they were using to complain about us, and the inspector said that if there was nuisance wildlife living in the tall grass, we could be fined for that. To which I said, did you inspect and look for nuisance wildlife (such as rats and snakes), and she said she did indeed inspect before coming up to the house. So I asked if she found anything and she admitted she did not. And said she was only giving us a warning to try to maintain the area better so that it didn’t harbor any nuisance wildlife. So I thanked her for stopping by and told her to let me know if anything changed. And in the meantime we would do what we could to maintain our property in an appropriate manner. We were well aware that one of the neighbors was just annoyed with us and reported us. And as it turns out, the area of complaint? Technically belonged to the county, and when we realized that we called the county and told them they needed to make sure the area was maintained so as not to harbor nuisance wildlife.

And as the months went on, we repeatedly saw said neighbor–owner of barky-barky-barky-barky–cross the street to throw trash in our yard. We also saw her walking her little yippy yippies on her neighbor’s property. She had a fence put up in her backyard but always walked her dogs (all at once) in her front yard where she could scream at them for everyone to see and hear. She never once returned any greeting of ours and every moment she was outside, she was yelling at those poor dogs. So we ignored her.

Storm season rolled in. We have a treed area behind our house, beyond where our fence is. During a storm, a tree came down into a neighbor’s yard that borders our property. We had no idea this even happened, and no way to know if the tree came down from our property or theirs. But what we got was a handwritten note in our mailbox saying that one of our trees had come down in their yard and they would appreciate us paying to have it taken care of. So, yeah, that isn’t how it works. If a tree comes down on your property, your insurance covers it, no matter where the tree lived when it was alive. Same for branches. We’ve been on the receiving side of this issue in the past, we know the law. So the person who left a note in our mailbox (instead of stopping by to chat in an amiable way?) was hoping we would pay for their issue…and the note was so rude it wasn’t even funny. So our decision was to ignore the note, and that’s what we did.

So now it’s the fall again and we went through the summer months watching barky x4 screaming at her poor dogs and using her neighbor’s yard for a potty. And watching her throw stuff in our yard. And watching her daughter sit on our property and then try to set up a yard sale on our property without our permission (which we stopped)…and we’re pretty sure she got pissed and tried to report us to the county again. Since we adopted Butthead, we did try to walk the dogs a bunch of times so we could work on leash training. We keep our dogs maintained and under control, we walk them in an appropriate manner as best as possible without sidewalks to walk on, and we always always always clean up if they poop. Well, technically, when Le Moo poops. Because Butthead doesn’t know how to poop or pee on a leash. Le Moo has no such qualms and will pee wherever she wants and poop when she has to. But I never forget to scoop poop. And the one time I didn’t have a bag? I walked home and retrieved one while Hub finished the walk with Le Moo…and I went back and picked up the poop. I am even pretty obsessive about picking up poop in our yard, stalking our dogs when they poop so I can clean up right away. I like being able to walk around our yard (and let the dogs play freely) without having to worry that someone (BUTTHEAD) is going to step in poop. Okay, sorry, tangent, but you’ll understand why.

I go to collect the mail and I find a letter from the county’s Animal Control Division. And the letter tells us that they’ve received an anonymous report that we failed to scoop poop. Hmm, let’s look at this. We haven’t walked our dogs on the street since before Labor Day (when Hub hurt his ankle)…and even then we might have walked them once or twice one evening. And prior to that it had been weeks because of the hot weather. So now, in October, we’re getting a letter that we didn’t scoop poop (which as I stated would NEVER HAPPEN). And no commentary on when and no proof of anything. So we contact the County the next morning and the investigator says we shouldn’t worry about it because they really can’t do anything with an anonymous phone call except send out a letter saying an anonymous report was made. Do we know for sure it was the annoying neighbor across the street? No, we don’t. But we suspect. Because less than a week before this letter arrives we stopped her daughter from putting up a yard sale in our yard. Her GROWN-ASS daughter who should have known better than to squat on someone else’s private property.

I can’t explain how angry I am at this whole situation. We’ve done nothing to the people of this neighborhood…and have in fact been good, quiet, responsible neighbors. And this is the the treatment we get from these people. Nice, right?

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3 Comments

Posted by on October 13, 2013 in angry, anxiety, Butthead, dogs, Le Moo, stress

 

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3 responses to “Fences make great neighbors

  1. joeyfullystated

    October 15, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Ugh. I can relate to so much of that, having lived on a military installation. I know it sounds awful, but if you want things to change, you may need to be more proactive, ie: assertive, confrontational and accusatory.
    Like, call to make your own reports. Stop and chat to the other neighbors, develop a rapport with those you can tolerate. When the moment is ripe, gossip and complain about how you’ve been treated. Plant the seeds.
    Of course, I have done those things, but most often, I chose to kill my neighbors with kindness. Smile especially bright at the neighbor across the way, take her a baked dish, and should you have a moment, comment on how you can’t hear a word Barky-Bark says, because your ears ring of dog barking.
    This is a crap situation, but expected. People don’t like “other,” and building a new house in an old neighborhood makes you “other.”
    Why that woman didn’t ask you if she could post a sign, why anyone didn’t feel it would be polite to discuss a tree falling, or grass — these are signs of cowardice and immaturity. Decidedly not how adults handle conflicts.
    You have my sy/empathy.

     
    • meANXIETYme

      October 18, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Yeah, we’ve tried talking to her while she’s out with her dogs (“good morning!” and “lovely day!”) but she literally turns her back and walks her dogs to another part of her yard. Talk about immature! It’s not like we’re talking about a teenager or a young adult…this woman is her in 60s at least. We would report her to the county but we have no proof and without proof they do nothing. Unlike her, *I* do not want to make a nuisance of myself to the county. It’s bad enough they are overburdened, I’m not going to add to that with frivolous calls.
      It just stinks because we haven’t done anything to anyone, and yet we feel like they’re all picking on us about whatever they can find. We try to wave at everyone when we walk the dogs, and we stop and chat when they seem amenable. And of course, rushing out to help a neighbor’s child catch and save their dog… 🙂

       
      • joeyfullystated

        October 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm

        You really are in a pickle. I feel badly for you!

         

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