The Reckoner!

Note: The OP contacted us to let us know that they don't have a dog themselves -- just the neighbors, which may influence your input. Thanks!

Neighbor Issue: Who's responsible?

Please help settle this battle between my wife and me.

We have wonderful next door neighbors who own a really nice dog who plays with our little girls and helps protect our home from unwanted solicitors. The problem is the dog, when on our property, always likes to do his business. I find this a problem since when mowing the lawn or playing outside with my children, I often step in it, and I have to admit, it infuriates me. Who wouldn't get upset with dog-dirt constantly on your shoes???

I feel that my neighbors should be more responsible and pick up their dog's mess when it is on our lawn. Even if they don't watch their dog that closely, at least check and clean up periodically knowing that their dog is constantly in our yard.  I feel that this is their responsibility as good neighbors.

My wife on the other hand, does not want to cause a problem or create hard feelings with our neighbors and feels that we should just deal with it and not make a big deal out of it. She feels it is not worth risking the relationship. They are great neighbors and do a lot for us.

What say you Reckonauts?  Should I just grin and bear it or confront our neighbors and ask them please clean up your dog's mess?

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Talk to Your Neighbors
Deal with it yourself
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Reckoning Comments!

I think you can talk to your neighbors about it without napalming the bridges.  I think just a polite chat about scooping any poop that their dog leaves behind is absolutely reasonable -- if they're the mensches they seem to be otherwise, I'm sure they'll be fine with it.  

I think the key is to play it like some sort of charming accident, that somehow, without them being at all aware of it, their dog ninja-ed its way onto your yard and pooped there.  That relieves them of the burden of judgment or accusation, which makes them less likely to get defensive about it.

You don't mention if you have a dog yourself, which can make things a little more complicated, since it means that dog poop in your yard might not necessarily be their dog's responsibility.  In either case, I think a polite chat is fine, but I wouldn't ask them to scan your yard for poop if it's possible that your dog has also pooped there.

Or you can spray the dog with a garden hose everytime you catch it "dropping a deuce" on your lawn.

I'm a little gun shy about asking neighbors to clean up after their pets because I remember as a child my neighbor asking me to clean up after my dog who he claimed had messed in their yard (the difference being that, at that time, there were many dogs running free in our neighborhood).

When my father, a hot headed Italian who resembled someone from the Sopranos, heard about my neighbor's request, he went storming to that neighbor with a few choice words telling him basically to go screw himself and NEVER ask his daughter (me) to clean up dog crap. His arguement being it might not have been our dog. Needless to say, they never spoke to each other again! This made for a very awkward situation since I was friends with the neighbor's daughters!

I think a more important concern is that the neighbor's dog is running free and can get on your lawn.  Even the best-behaved dog should be contained by a fence or on a tie-out or leash.  Let 'em run free in the country, not in-town.

The Reckoner!