A neighbor’s aggressive dog can cause problems for everyone, not just the people who live on your street. Nobody should have to experience the fear and anxiety caused by a dog barking, growling, or otherwise exhibiting behavior bordering on violence. Here are five steps to take that should help you deal with an aggressive dog in the neighborhood.
1. Consider All Possibilities
Your neighbor may not even realize the nuisance that their dog is causing, so consider all possibilities before meeting with them. Are there neighborhood children, possibly your own kids, who are teasing the dog as they walk by? Could other animals – including any pets you have – be antagonizing it? There are any number of reasons that a dog displays aggressive behavior, and they don’t all point to a bad dog owner. Take an honest appraisal of the situation and try to eliminate any external factors.
2. Talk To Your Neighbor
Although talking to your neighbor might seem like the most obvious answer, many people are wary of any sort of confrontation, especially when an aggressive dog is involved. However, it is important to keep an open mind and be diplomatic when you approach your neighbor about their animal. Don’t leave nasty notes or shoot them dirty looks when you cross each other’s paths. Deal with it directly and honestly. If you go into the encounter expecting an argument, that’s likely what you will get.
In a non-confrontational manner, ask your neighbor if you can sit down and talk about their beloved pet. Explain the situation and the effect their dog’s contentious behavior is having on you or anyone else in your household, including any pets of your own. Hopefully, you will be dealing with a caring and responsible dog owner who will take your complaints to heart and do what is best for their canine companion. You may discover that your neighbor is already planning to take steps to curb the problem, which would be the best resolution possible.
3. Document The Behavior
Once you have spoken to your neighbor, give them some time to correct their dog’s behavior. Dog behavior cannot easily be reprogrammed overnight, so it will take a while. If you don’t see any signs of improvement, or your neighbor was less than receptive to your concerns, you should document the dog’s aggressive behavior in case you need to contact the authorities. Next time you leave the house and the neighbor’s dog scares the life out of you, pull out your phone and record the dog’s threatening actions to provide proof in the event your neighbor disputes your claims. If you suffer any physical stress, consult a Charleston Injury Attorney.
4. Neighborhood Meeting
It may be useful to discuss the problem with some of your other neighbors to find out their experiences with the animal. Chances are you’re not the only one who dreads going outside to get the paper in the morning or jogging past a growling beast. It could be a pre-existing issue that began before you moved into the neighborhood. You and your neighbors might also want to keep a journal of specific incidents that you observe to present the evidence that authorities might need in order to do something about the dog.
5. Contact The Authorities
When all else fails, you must contact the animal control service in your area. There are state laws and local ordinances that cover dogs and their disruptive, aggressive behavior. After animal control decides your complaint has merit, they will likely issue a citation requiring your neighbor to pay a fine. If this fails to resolve the dispute, you may have to file a nuisance lawsuit and take your neighbor to court. Not only will you be giving yourself peace of mind, you will be doing everyone a favor by preventing any tragic incidents from occurring in the future.