At some point, most people will have a problem with their neighbors’ pets such as dogs roaming in the yard, pooping all over the place, peeing on the shrubs, and messing up the place.
Imagine this, you got a well-managed garden, everything clean and neat, and the next day you see a dog there ruining everything. It happens all the time. Actually, a survey done in the US found out that pet dogs are the top complaint that homeowners have for their neighbors.
In this guide, we will show various legal ways and doable methods on how to keep your neighbor’s dogs out of your yard or property.
Is it legal for the neighbor’s dog to poop in my yard or property?
We’ve seen a lot of people asking online “Is the neighbor’s dog in my yard trespassing?”, “Is it legal for my neighbor’s dog to poop on my lawn?” Or even “Am I allowed to shoot a dog on my property”? The concerns are valid.
Let’s start by saying that you should not shoot your neighbor’s dog simply because he is roaming in your yard. You can shoot him if the dog is attacking you and your life is at risk. Otherwise, no. You may end up in a lot of trouble.
For the question of whether it’s legal or not for a dog to hang out in your yard, that varies among states, regions, or counties.
For example, states such as Virginia or Maryland have very strict animal control regulations and force pet owners to keep their pets leashed and constrained all the time when in public areas.
In most of the states, the pet owner is responsible for cleaning the dog’s poop including other people’s yards. People who leave their dogs trespassing and pooping on others’ lawns or yards may face heavy fines that vary based on the jurisdiction.
So, if you’re wondering about the legality, or the law background regarding this issue, then it’s best to check your local regulations and law about dog poop on your property.
Then you can deal directly with the neighbor. For legal advice consult your local governing body, local attorney, or even the local police.
What you should not do when the neighbor’s dog poops in your yard?
Everyone wants that sweet revenge, especially when poop or pee is involved, but we’d suggest NOT to try the following action:
- Shoot or poison the dog
- Harm the dog to teach him a lesson
- Mail the dog poop back to the neighbors
- Throw the poop in their yard/lawn
- Get physical with the dog owner
If you do any of these actions, you’ll escalate the situation and get in more legal trouble. Moreover, dogs are just pets, they don’t know anything about private property. After all, it’s all their owners’ fault.
If you harm the dog, you may face severe charges such as animal cruelty, negligent discharge of a firearm, etc. So, absolutely don’t deal with the pet itself.
How to keep the neighbor’s dog out of your yard and property?
Here are the best methods on how to deal with a neighbor’s dog that poops or pees in your yard, lawn, or property.
Method 1. Place warning signs
This is the first thing you should do, set up warning signs to remind people about the law and rules. You can place noticeable big signs such as “No Trespassing”, “Clean after your dog”, “Leash your Dog”, “Yard monitored by surveillance cameras”, etc.
This method is quite effective because you let people know that you don’t like them littering your lawn and it forces them to be cautious when they walk the dog.
Method 2. Talk with the neighbors that cause problems with their pets
If you see poop in your yard, and you know that it’s your neighbor’s dog, then just go talk with them and express your concerns. You can tell them that the cameras recorded the moment when the neighbor did not clean after the dog and ask them to be more careful next time.
Most people are reasonable and they don’t want any conflicts, so just by talking with them you may place them in the spotlight and they’ll keep the dogs out of your property. To make the conversation more efficient, the next tips may help.
Find the right time to talk. For example, don’t talk with them during the weekdays, especially after work when everyone is exhausted. Instead, reach them on weekends, they have free time and people tend to be more peaceful.
Tell them how you really feel. You can say that it’s not fair for anyone to find poop in the yard, and for the lawn to smell terrible. Let them know that you take good care of the yard and would like to keep it clean and neatly.
Try to be gentle, play along without aggravating the situation. It’s always better to try the friendly way. Obviously, it’s frustrating to have poop on your lawn, but still, say that you’d appreciate it if that thing never happens again.
Method 3. Install security camera system to catch the dogs in the act
Many neighbors will deny that their dog defecated in your yard, that’s why you need a security camera to catch them red-handed. A camera system will not just give you the evidence but can serve as deterrence as well.
You can either install large cameras to scare them away or small and hidden ones to catch them in the act. If they don’t admit that their dogs pooped or peed in your lawn, just show them the evidence.
Moreover, the video evidence can come in handy if you decide to escalate things and complain to the local authorities. You can show them the video, and they can give a ticket to your neighbor or take other steps.
If you put a surveillance sign such as “This area is under 24/7 monitoring”, your neighbor or any other person walking the dog will be careful around your yard. They don’t want to keep caught, so they’ll clean up after their pets.
Make sure to get a decent security camera system, with enough cameras to cover all your property, high-resolution images, and great nighttime picture quality. Check out these recommendations, you can go with IP surveillance systems or HD over coaxial.
Method 4. Use dog deterrents to stop them from pooping in your yard
You can use dog deterrents techniques to prevent dogs from peeing or pooping in your lawn or yard. Their efficiency depends on many factors, but generally speaking, you can lower the defecating occurrence.
Generally speaking, dogs with excellent senses of hearing and smell are on the alert of any sign of trouble.
You can use “tricks” such as:
- Motion-activated irrigation systems
- Garden water spray (especially in spots where dogs tend to relieve themselves)
- Ultrasonic dog repellent
- Plants that dogs hate (citrus, citronella, etc)
Method 5. Improve the fencing around your property
If the neighbor’s dogs find their way to the yard through broken fences or holes under the fences, then it’s time to upgrade the fence. You can add height to the current fence, close any holes or exposed parts, and fix the broken sections.
We’d recommend walking around your perimeter and inspecting the fence. Fix any spots where it’s easy for dogs to come through. Keep in mind that some dogs are able to jump and get over the fence. So, ensure the fence is at the right height.
Method 6. Complain to the local authorities
Sometimes it may happen that even after you’ve done everything, your neighbor still doesn’t care about his pet messing up your yard. In the next step, you should complain to your local authorities and show them the video evidence.
You can contact the local animal control centers or your local governing body. Usually, most areas have rules regarding pets, and they give tickets to people who don’t clean after their dogs. But, you must have video evidence otherwise they may not admit it.
Simply call them up, send an email, or fill out a complaint to your village/town’s website and let the authorities deal with it. Always try to avoid any physical confrontation. That’s why we pay taxes, to have a third party help us with these conflicts.
Method 7. Ask for legal advice
Can you sue if your neighbor’s dog poops in your yard? You definitely can, especially if these occurrences don’t stop. You can sue or legally escalate the situation if certain damages are caused to the lawn or yard if the neighbor refuses to do anything about the dog (and you have video evidence).
The pet owners should normally be liable for any damages and pay for the repairs. As we said, if you get an attorney, ensure you have good clear video evidence, take photos of the damages, document everything you can.
How to prevent my dog from peeing or pooping on my neighbor’s lawn?
Having a dog gives you satisfaction but they need a lot of attention. As a responsible dog owner, you should prevent your dog from pooping, peeing, or messing up other people’s yards. The tips below may help you to avoid getting into conflicts with your neighbors.
1. Always keep your dogs on leash and attended
It’s recommended to keep your dog always under control when walking outside. Keep him on the leash and be attentive. In some jurisdictions, it’s required for the pet owner to keep his dog on leash all the time. That way they can’t poop or pee on other people’s property.
If you’re not home, then you need to confine the dog in certain areas of your home. Absolutely don’t let your dog roaming free outdoors, that’s a recipe for a lot of problems.
2. Train your dog properly
Actually, this is the most important tip: you need to train your dog to poop and pee in the right places. Actually, dogs use their urine as a way to mark their territory. When a dog poops in your neighbor’s lawn, it’s marking it as his turf.
Training your dog means you can teach them to poop and pee in certain spots of your own yard/house, or in the dog litter which is what most people do.
Bring waste bags with you when you walk your dog
Even if the dogs are trained, they can poop anywhere while you walk them. Dealing with feces is part of being a pet owner. So bring waste bags when you walk your dog, clean up after them and throw the bag in a garbage bin along the way.
Why dog feces are not good for your lawn?
Dog feces can cause potential troubles to your family and the lawn. We’ve listed a few below.
The lawn will look terrible
Imagine a lawn filled with dog feces, it’s not just gonna look terrible but it will smell horrible. You or your children may walk around the yard and step on some dog poop that needs to be washed and cleaned up.
Additionally, unpicked dog poop may cause the grass to grow unevenly, create darker spots and in some cases, even create brown patches.
Feces may introduce pests and bacteria in your yard
Dog waste attracts insects like breeding flies or other pests to your lawn which may transmit diseases.
Health threats for your family members
Children and pets playing on a poop-littered lawn may expose themselves to disease and other health hazards. Without washing their hands, children are prone to diseases that are transmitted from dogs to humans.