Emily (emily_73) wrote in etiquetteworld,

A rather smelly problem

Hi all,

Perhaps you can help with this rather frustrating and gross problem...

I live in a rented house which has a fence but no gate. I have no pets. Every day for the past few days (and spontaneously over the past few months) I have come home to discover a large dog poop on my front lawn. I suspect it is the neighbours dog as I they often let him roam around the street unsupervised when the husband is tinkering with his car.

Once I was gardening and the dog (a Doberman)came straight into my yard and had a sniff around, dispite me yelling "Go home!" he paid me absolutely no attention.

I have only lived in the house 3 months and have had very little contact with the neighbour whose dog it is (I find it hard to believe that a stranger walking past would allow their dog to poop on my lawn everday and then not clean it up.)

My question is...how to approach this politely. I have absolutely no evidence to believe that it's THEIR dog whose new favourite toilet is my lawn...but I suspect it reasonable. Should I drop a note in the mailbox or knock on the door? I feel terribly embarrassed because I imagine they are unaware... and just think the dog is having a sniff around.
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I think that face to face might be better. A note could be perceived as passive aggressive. They really shouldn't let their dog wander around though, especially since a lot of people are afraid of dobermans.
Could you please advise me of how to say it? I've met them once and have no idea how they will take it. Also, if its not their dog they might be offended.
I would start it off with something like, "I don't know if it's your dog or another dog, but I've noticed..." or something like that.
I too would go knock on the door, as heart-pounding that is. It's harder for them to go on the defensive when the person is standing right there.

I'd first ask if they have a doberman (with x color collar if he has one or some other distinguishing feature). Don't imply that you went straight to them; let them think (without directly lying to them) that you've been asking more neighbors than just them. If it is their dog, then tell them what the problem is; that he has created a bad habit of routinely pooping on your lawn, which you've witnessed several times, even once while you were right there gardening, despite your shooing him. Ask if they could be more proactive about cleaning up after him.

Chances are they don't know or they think he goes somewhere maybe city-owned and "okay". If they do go on the defensive, try snapping a photo when you catch him. Next up is to ask them to remedy this behavior so that you don't have to get the city or animal control involved. Make that sound as little like a threat as possible. If he's still pooping, then call. If he does wander around without a collar, bonus points as that would be a big headache--don't tell them that though. When talking with them, don't cuss and don't raise your voice. Keep a record of your contact with them; you may end up tossing it shortly thereafter or it could prove very useful if things (hopefully don't) escalate. ...And don't put his poo in a bag, light it on fire, and put it on their porch. Worst case scenario their house burns down and you really will be in deep doo doo. :)

Good luck!