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    Harassment by Neighbor Over Dogs Barking

    I reside in Los Angeles, CA, and I desperately need some help with an ongoing harassment issue with my neighbor.

    My wife and I have been at our current residence which is located on a fairly quiet neighborhood. For the past 12 years, a neighbor that’s directly adjacent to my house has been complaining that our dogs (two Retrievers) bark excessively. Their original complaint was that they (husband and wife) go to bed between 7-8pm, and they’re unable to sleep because our dogs bark near their bedroom door/window. About four months ago, our neighbor started complaining anytime our dogs make even a slight noise anytime of the day.

    The fact of the matter is that our dogs do not bark excessively. I know this because I work from home, and I can clearly hear if/when the dogs are barking. Furthermore, about 90% of the time our dogs are inside by 6:30pm. Moreover, I have never witnessed our dogs barking without a valid reason, such as strangers approaching the front door, startling noises, etc. On the rare occasion that the dogs bark, the barking only lasts about 30 seconds or so. I have also talked to all of my other neighbors (including our other adjacent neighbor, where my dogs have a full view of their house and backyard) and nobody has a problem with our dogs.

    My wife and I are extremely frustrated and at our wits end. For the past 12 years, it’s as if we’ve been living in a police state governed by our neighbor. Things are now so bad that *we literally panic* if we’re unable to get home before 7pm to ensure that our dogs are inside. We agonize over letting the dogs out for a few minutes to do their business because we’re simply afraid of our neighbor. We even structure our weekends to ensure that we can come home every few hours because we don’t know what our neighbor may do.

    Approximately four months ago, our neighbor filed a complaint with the local Animal Control Department, but never followed up on the complaint that would have resulted in a mandatory joint meeting with Animal Control. I was actually relieved and looking forward to having this meeting so we could address this ongoing issue once and for all.

    Instead, in the past three months, our neighbor has escalated his harassment by throwing debris at my gods, which has caused my dogs to become afraid of them, and sensitive to noises coming from their house. The neighbor also continues to attach complaint notes to my front door almost every week.

    On several occasions, our neighbor has startled us by hiding next to some trees and screaming at us as we approach our front door. What’s even more disconcerting is that our neighbor has setup a video camera on his property, and is recording the activity at my house. He’s able to do this because his property is up a slope which gives him full view of my house and yard. This is not the first time our neighbor has been monitoring our activity.

    In summary, my wife and I do not have any children and our dogs are very important to us. We’ve tried everything possible to appease our neighbor but this has only escalated the problem. I have reason to believe that my neighbor Knows that I’m financially unable to fight this matter in court, so he’s threatening legal action.

    I’d appreciate any guidance you can provide on dealing with this problem without having to go to court.

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    Regards,
    Massis

  2. #2
    thelawprofessor's Avatar
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    What's the problem with going to court? You won't need any serious money to deal with this matter. He's going to complain and will need to provide some proof. In fact, this may help you resolve this dispute once and for all. Remember - he needs to prove the problem. If he doesn't bring in his handy dandy video camera with proof, then combined with his lack of prior enforcement, who do you think a judge is going to believe?
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    I don't really know what type of court hears this type of complaint. Is it small claims? My assumption is that I'll have to hire a lawyer, and that's not a cheap proposition. As a side issue, do you know if is it legal to video tape a neighbor on their property?

    Massis

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    I have a very similar problem

    Do I need a lawyer? or can I handle the court thing myself? If so, how do I initiate the next step?

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    I know non-lawyers who have handled this matter personally. If it's a small claims court matter or similar, it's likely the usual formalities will not apply. An attorney will probably help and the question is whether you feel it's worth the investment and can live with the consequences. An attorney will probably help you build/defend your case but it's not like capable people can't do a great deal for themselves in what should be a relatively small matter (not to say pet matters aren't serious.) The first step is figuring out which court it is in. I don't know your state and county so perhaps calling the county clerk's office will be of assistance.
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    Harassing Neighbors

    We are in a similar situation where our dog stays outside and occasionally barks but not to a nuisance level. Neighbors are taking us to court. I wanted to see if you would share what happened in your situation.

    If you have any time to respond with any info, we would greatly appreciate it. We are desperate!

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    Massis OMG my husband and I have been going through the same exact issue you are dealing with, now I don't feel alone, I have been under so much stress over my neighbor tormenting our pitbull puppies, they are now 18 months old and almost full grown. They are loving dogs, however this neighbor where we have lived for 6 1/2 yrs was coming over and tormenting the dogs and getting them to bark at him, also he lives across the street. I caught him but couldn't prove it , yelling at them to get them to bark then turned his video recorder on. Of course the dogs are going to bark , he put fear into them. He went through the neighborhood bad mouthing us to people we never even met before and had them sign that the dogs bothered them as well. However there is like 25 dogs throughout the whole street and most of the dogs bark. He doesn't complain about them. His bedroom window is over 100 ft from where my dogs are and he was working the graveyard shift. And he stated that he had seen the dogs running loose which was a lie because there is no way they could get out.
    Being that they are pitbulls we lost the case and have to refrain them into the house from the hours of 7pm till 7am, and also get them bark collars. What about the other dogs in the neighborhood ?? They still bark .
    Anyhow the whole issue with him harrassing us is because he has a vendetta with my son. However he was constantly calling the police everytime a male was not around the house and he would wait till I would leave then torment the dogs to get them barking and call the police. A neighbor witnessed him doing this on several occasions and wrote a letter for us to take to a hearing we had. It didn't matter they won because of the breed of dog we have. Our dogs sleep inside the house, they sit at the table practically...lol jk. But you know what I mean.
    I have been so stressed that I can't go nowhere because he did come out one day and threaten he was going to kill the dogs. He came to my door on several occasions banging and banging on my front livingroom window and yelling into my security door.
    I told him to get off my property or I will call the police and he left. Another occasion was when I just decided to walk out front and he was darting across the street probably after videoing the dogs , at the time I thought he had given them posion so I ran out the back to check to see if they were eating anything. I am miserable over this, my husband wants to find an attorney to help us, as with his 73 video tapings that he has we haven't been able to prove him doing this only seen by us. We installed video cameras and also installed a barking device that goes off on our fence where the dogs go. They don't do nothing but go and sit and watch people go by.
    Since we did this he sits in his house and finds reasons to complain and now that he won the hearing he feels he can control what we do. We are constantly on surveilence as this by federal is harrassment . But the police say that it is allowed they can video all they want. So we just go about our business as usual , him being in jail for domestic violence he seems to target me being that my husband drives over the road and he feels that he has the right to do this. I am done with it and i was willing to foreclose on the house as we can't take it anymore. We thought about getting rid of the dogs but we are not going to give him that satisfaction, we will move. I would love to hear the response to your letter as if I don't do something I feel that I am going to have a nervous breakdown or a stroke over it. If you find a good attorney for animal rights please let me know thankyou
    L Jensen

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    pbrians; My neighbor took this to a hearing which of course went in the neighbors that tormented my pitbulls then videoed them, it went in their favor as they had over 73 times of videoing...he put fear into these puppies, they were considered a nusience . They hardly bark at all ! He just doesn't like the breed and his wife had put down that everyone on the block was
    afraid of them, they are very loving dogs. With their lies they won of course with a unknown hearing officer in Riverside County that stated that he didn't even work for the county...so I said well who are you then ? Maybe a friend of theirs, it lead me to beleive this as the hearing was in a little cubicle inside of a building..not a formal hearing room.
    The man that did the hearing was very rude and didn't even acknowledge a neighbor that witnessed him tormenting the dogs.
    well since then we put up surveilence on our home, he knows that so he is keeping off my property. He would come over and bang on my windows and doors and yell into my house. I warned him to get off the property, I caught him up at the gate again on my property tormenting the dogs but of course I didn't have this videoed. So the justice to this idiot is that he put the fear into these animals and because of their breed they are restricted to being outside in the hours of 7am till 8pm but with bark collars on. Since I put them on there have been lesions that have developed on the puppies neck and side of face on one of them. The instructions say to only put them on when they are barking. They haven't been out barking at anything in weeks.
    I feel this is inhumane yet they beleive these collars are not harmful...they cause problems further on through their lives.
    Sorry for the over pour of info but I am ready to put collars on these stupid people that don't have a life ! btw I was ordered to do this and the neighbors are surveiling my house at all times to catch them without the collars on. They are animal abusers themselves as their large dogs are enclosed into a tiny section of their yard . He allows them to run free unleashed around the street and of course my dogs would bark at them. I am so done with all of this !!! They think they own the street.

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    4mydogs,



    Please note that this thread is 3 1/2 years old. Chances are good that the original poster is no longer monitoring the boards.
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    Renting Apartment w/ harrassing neighbor

    Hi, I'm having exactly the same problem. I live in a triplex and the woman above is goading my dogs which are two pitbulls. The neighbors on the adjacent wall to where the dogs stay say the dogs cause them no problems. The woman and her boyfriend who live above have even gone so far as to remove screens off my window and closing the window where the dogs are kept. She claims they 'aggressively bark' when her or her boyfriend pass our double locked security gates and that she is in fear of her life, yet she has no problem putting her hand in the window where my 'killer dogs' are kept. The year before she complained about the 'hum' of a ceiling fan being left on. What are my rights, especially about her taking the screens off and closing the window? I too am extremely anxious about leaving the house for work or anywhere!!! This is making me physically sick. The landlord feels like he's in the middle and is afraid of being sued by her for not protecting her against my "vicious". The dogs are sweet and have never displayed aggressive behavior. They play with the kids next door all the time and only bark at the postman or if someone they don't know approaches the house. I'm at my wits end.

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