Suggestions for Dealing with Neighbors, a Destructive Dog & a Vindictive Mailman?

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Q: We live in a beautiful duplex in a wonderful area and share a backyard and fence with the neighbors who live on our other side, a single mother and her 16-year-old daughter. Both yards have gates, which we used to leave open. The house behind ours has a dog that they allow to roam free, and it is the stereotypical poorly trained, nightmare neighbor dog that barks nonstop. It has often come through our open gate into our yard, where it prowls around and generally makes a nuisance of itself. Until recently, this was not a big problem, not to mention we don’t want to get on the owner’s bad side, since he is our mailman and rather vindictive…

A few weeks ago we came home to find our storm door completely torn apart, with paw prints everywhere. Our cats inside were in a frenzy, so we surmised that the neighbor’s dog had come into the yard, spotted the cats, and tried to get at them through the door. Our landlord, needless to say, was not a happy camper and requested that we keep our gate closed – implication being that the next time the door was torn apart it would considered on us and we would have to replace it. We have since been diligent about closing the gate.

Our neighbor’s daughter uses our side of the yard to walk to the bus in the morning/evening and keeps leaving the gate open. I spoke to her about it, and she ignored me and walked away; I then addressed it with her mother and let them know that our landlord had requested the gate be shut, so please follow that guidance if you are going to use our driveway and yard as a through-way.

Unfortunately, the daughter has completely ignored all of this and is continuing to leave the gate open day after day. If the dog gets back in and wrecks another door, I do not want to be held liable for replacing it when it was our neighbor’s daughter who was negligent. At this point, I do not know how to further address the situation when I have already spoken to both mother and daughter, and I don’t want to seem like a “tattletale” by informing the landlord that if anything happens, it is not our fault. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! -Sent by Kim

Editor: Kim, you had me at “vindictive mailman.” Readers, how can Kim get the neighbors to keep the gate shut? Is tattling called for in this situation? What about doing something about the dog? A dog that would—ALLEGEDLY—destroy a storm window doesn’t seem like the safest dog to have roaming the neighborhood… Any and all advice is welcome!

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