Pissed off: How to respond to neighbor asking my dog to not pee?
July 1, 2013 6:11 PM   Subscribe

My neighbor is hassling me about my dog very occasionally peeing/sniffing/rolling on the grass between the sidewalk and the street. This is totally legal, but what can I do to get her to piss off? Yellow snow inside.

I own my home in the city. A family who is renting moved in across the street in September last year. I walk my dog by their house 4-6 times a day, every day (and have for the last eleven years.) Last October, the lady of the house asked that my dog "not urine" on their yard. I have since obliged by loitering along my yard until nature calls to my dog and then walking her across the street along the sidewalk that goes in front of the neighbor's yard.

Just to be clear, the neighbor doesn't own this property, and neither does her landlord. The little strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street is owned by the city. I know because I pay a ridiculous amount in property taxes, and we had considerable (not optional) assessments when they ripped up the whole kit and caboodle a few years ago to redo the sewers, which I will be paying off for the next 30 years.

This morning, my dog did pee on that little strip. I am guessing it's the second or third time in nine months since unfriendly neighbor asked me to oblige her. My dog did this piece of business on our way out, and when we returned 40 minutes later, the neighbor lady sent her teenage daughter out to confront me. I told her I was doing my best to accommodate her, but then the mother appeared and started yelling at me, and daughter and mother accused me, saying my dog peed on their yard yesterday, which she did not. What my dog was doing is sniffing and kind of rolling her face on the grass, and just generally being a dog. (Although I do try to just stay away altogether, I certainly remember what she did and didn't do, knowing that they seem to think my dog is somehow contaminating their grass.)

I am extremely angry about this. I checked the city dog ordinance and we're completely in accordance. I'll do what I can, but I pay a lot to live here, and a main reason why I chose to move here is so I can walk the dog. I could purposefully avoid that 5' stretch of sidewalk in front of her house, but I don't see why I should have to. My dog isn't hurting anything, we are obeying the law, and it's her crazy.

She said the reason she doesn't want my dog to pee is because she is out there working with her bare hands. My neighborhood has a bajillion dogs, a bunch of outdoor cats and bunnies that poop like there's no tomorrow, squirrels, raccoons, field mice, birds, and who knows what else. Even if my dog is taken out of the equation, she'd still likely want to wash her hands after working in the yard. And/or she could wear gloves.

When the landlord bought the property last summer, he pointedly told me and a few other neighbors to call him if there was any trouble with the renters. I normally would not think of involving him (I rented for a long time) but now I'm wondering if I should. I am really incensed and don't want to be hounded (no pun intended) and harassed when I walk my dog by, which I do every day.

If it makes any difference, probably 95% of people in this neighborhood have dogs. I walk mine more than many because I don't have a fenced in yard. However, I have never heard of someone taking issue with a dog peeing on a walk.

Should I confront her? Should I call the city? Should I slip a copy of the dog ordinance under her door? Should I call her landlord? Or should I just ignore it?

I am a little worried that she could retaliate against me or my dog. I am pretty doubtful that would happen, but if anything happened to my dog I don't know what I would do. What should I do?
posted by loveyallaround to Pets & Animals (48 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This seems like a situation where avoiding the property is easy and doesn't cause you any negative consequences. Just avoid The Crazy. It's better for your blood pressure (and probably your dog's stress levels, too).
posted by jaguar at 6:17 PM on July 1, 2013 [38 favorites]

You should not confront her. You should ignore her, and continue to avoid her as much as possible.
posted by wrok at 6:18 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

"This is not your yard, this is public property and I'm breaking no laws. Stop harassing me." And then ignore her. If she continues, contact the landlord and let him know the tenant is harassing neighbours for using public property outside his house.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:18 PM on July 1, 2013 [19 favorites]

What a pill. Personally, I would ignore her and do your thing with your dog. Next time she comes out to wag her finger at you, tell her you've tried to accommodate her out of neighborliness even though you're not violating any city rules, but you in fact are doing nothing illegal.

If she tries to suggest you drag your dog past her yard or cross to the other side of the street or whatever, fall back on the Miss Manners approach and say "That won't be possible".

Also send the landlord an email - not to complain about her but she s/he knows about the situation just in case.
posted by arnicae at 6:20 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Just seriously avoid her property. Tug on your dog's leash so there is no pausing what so ever in that area. It doesn't matter if she's right or wrong if your focus is on having friendly/civil neighborly relations. She hates your dog, that's evident. It won't harm your dog to skip over that section of the walk very quickly without stopping to rub his/her face in the grass or pee or ANYTHING. It's just easier. Or you could fight it but honestly, she's not going to change her opinion so why bother? Moving along quicker would just eliminate a source of aggravation for both of you without negatively impacting your dog in any way over that five foot stretch of land.
posted by bquarters at 6:24 PM on July 1, 2013 [8 favorites]

If you absolutely insist on doing something, call the landlord --- confronting her or doing something like sliding a copy of the local ordinances under her door will NOT end well.

But I have to ask: why do you have to keep walking past the house across the street? Is it physically impossible to avoid that sidewalk? Yes, you certainly do have a right to walk there; yes, you're right that isn't part of her property; yes, there are a ton of other animals peeing (AND pooping) there...... but also yes, avoiding walking there 4-6 times a day, every day, will help keep the peace.
posted by easily confused at 6:27 PM on July 1, 2013 [8 favorites]

Personally I'd just avoid her bit of sidewalk because she sounds unhinged and I have a very low unhinged-people-threshold. But if you can't, I think it's fine if you call the landlord and ask him if he could please explain the law to her, because you tried but she didn't seem to understand. (This has the added benefit of letting him know you know she is unhinged.)

But also, lighten up on the "I pay my taxes!!" attitude. Renters pay taxes to live there too; they pay them through their rent. And what you both own doesn't really matter, since the dispute is over land neither of you own.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 6:28 PM on July 1, 2013 [22 favorites]

"I'm sorry, that won't be possible." (The "I'm sorry" part is optional.)
posted by payoto at 6:29 PM on July 1, 2013

I would call the landlord AND avoid the (city's) property and any further interaction with her. She needs a dressing down and you're not in the position to do it effectively.
There's a reason they call those treelawns Devil's Strips in some places.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:29 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just avoid her for a while and call the landlord. It seems like it's taking up too much of your mental energy for it to be worth further confrontation.

If for some reason, you have to pass over that area and she gives you trouble, just laugh really loudly, like she's a good neighbor, and you find everything she says genuinely funny, while walking away.
posted by ignignokt at 6:35 PM on July 1, 2013

You don't own that strip of land in front of your house, but you're responsible for keeping it looking good, at least in my city. So I can see why the person responsible for the maintenance of it would feel possessive of it; with that said, dog pee doesn't particularly kill grass, and while we grumble when people let their dog pee on the azaleas, I find it nuts to stress about dogs peeing on the grass.
posted by ftm at 6:39 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: (Sorry, I realize I did not provide the obligatory photos of the dog. I am too much of a dweeb to know how to add them, but just know we're talking about the sweetest, gentlest 11-year-old golden retriever in the world. Roughly 99.8% of people who meet her love her, including this woman's children.)

I walk by her house every day because it's the way we walk. Not sure why I need to justify that.

I suppose I can kind of see how the "I pay my taxes!" thing could seem obnoxious, but the fact is, I do pay my taxes, and I do have a right to walk down my street by her house, and my dog has a right walk by and to pee there. I'm not disputing or restricting any of her rights as a renter and a taxpayer -- I'm just trying to assert mine.

Okay, I'll not comment again. Thanks for your advices.
posted by loveyallaround at 6:39 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

I agree: you are legally and ethically in the right.

But so what? Your neighbour isn't going to stop being crazy at you just because you logic at her. So you can keep doing what you're doing and ignore her and hope it stops (probably it won't). Or you can just change your route and not walk in front of her house.

You don't have the option of continuing to walk in front of her house and having her be okay with this because she's not okay with it. It's not fair, perhaps, but that's what it is.
posted by jeather at 6:48 PM on July 1, 2013 [10 favorites]

If you have to say something, talk to the landlord. And if you do that, wait til you aren't angry.
posted by bleep at 6:48 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

You are 100% in the right. You can choose between: (a) fighting her, getting pissed off when she doesn't listen, getting annoyed when you walk by the place even if she does listen, because you'll remember her not listening in the past, and staying wrapped in righteous indignation every time you take out your sweet, gentle dog, or (b) avoiding her property entirely, letting go of the resentment and fighting because life's too short, perhaps taking pleasure in how delusional the neighbor is to think that your ability to extricate yourself from the situation means that she "won," and paying attention to your sweet, gentle dog.

I think you need to reframe the situation from "Battle about who's right" to "Not getting sucked into the neighbor's hostility and craziness." In the second scenario, you win by not playing.
posted by jaguar at 6:50 PM on July 1, 2013 [21 favorites]

Yes, you have a right to walk your dog, including on that strip of grass. But one of the common complaints owners have about renters moving in is them not taking care of the property. This woman is literally out there beautifying the street with her bare hands. She gets wigged out by dog pee, but seriously, do you want to drive her out of the neighborhood and have someone new move in? Choose your battles, the devil you know, etc.
posted by payoto at 6:52 PM on July 1, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'm in a situation like this right now, and my solution has been to find another route to walk my dog so that we don't pass that particular yard.

I hate this and could write a ten page rant about how stupid it is, but right now it's getting the job done.
posted by Sara C. at 7:04 PM on July 1, 2013 [7 favorites]

I understand your issue and do not want to sound unsympathetic at all but... There are simplifiers and complicators in this world. A complicator is going to complain, confront, leave a note, argue, pee there anyway... a simplifier will just go elsewhere. Which one would you rather be? Which one do you think has a lower stress life?
posted by Cosine at 7:10 PM on July 1, 2013 [7 favorites]

Sorry, I kind of side with her. Not the crazy way she approached you, but she made a fairly reasonable request last October. Sure, you don't legally have to accommodate her, but is that necessarily the point?

She's probably assuming this is happening every time you walk your dog, and if you are walking your dog 4-6 times a day, well, I'd be annoyed to. I would feel like you should use the strip in front of your own yard as the dog's bathroom. Or, at least mix up your route a bit. I know you say it's a rare occurrence, but from her perspective, she just sees you ignore her request.

She has to maintain the strip, and it sounds like she's doing so. She probably doesn't want to have to deal with the smell and generally unpleasantness. Sounds pretty reasonable to me. You legally can, just like you can legally play music all night one decibel below city ordinance.

She does sound crazy, so maybe nothing would satisfy her. But your refusal to change anything about the way you do your walks sounds antagonistic. Of course you can change up your route. Of course you can avoid her yard.
posted by spaltavian at 7:12 PM on July 1, 2013 [32 favorites]

The pee will also change the pH of the soil.

If you want to make peace, be a good guy, and respect her efforts, give her this pet repellant spray and three bags of this topsoil with big bows on them.

Urine can "burn" plants and grass. I tried to find some kind of product that would neutralize the urine in the soil (Googled [soil neutralize urine]. Unfortunately, it seems to act a lot like "too much fertilizer", and I didn't see a good way to neutralize it. Hence the second item - some replacement/enrichment soil.

(Note - Do not buy the cheap kind of topsoil that looks super-black; this is sometimes made with mine tailings or something else like that, which makes it dark and heavy, but with little useful organic content.)

Please be considerate of her - She doesn't own that spot, but neither do you. Is there some grass in front of your place your dog can use?
posted by amtho at 7:14 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Until I moved last year, a sweet elderly lady on my block made the same request of me when she saw my beagle pee on her "tree lawn," as that strip is called in NE Ohio. I was offended too at having been publicly scolded, but I also knew she was slipping a bit mentally and had some other odd peeves, so I didn't take it too personally. Thereafter when my dog started to slow down while I was in front of her property, I just gave the leash an extra twitch or two to keep him moving. 95% percent of the time that was enough. The other 5% of the time when he could not be dissuaded, I just shrugged it off; I was not about to violently yank my dog off of her property. The second time she leaned out her front door to ask me not to let the dog do that, I answered that I was sorry but I did not have complete control over where my dog chose to urinate. She ducked back inside and never said anything about it again.

So, I suggest you put a bit of effort into minimizing the problem, and otherwise shrug it all off, including her reaction. I would express some minor regret that I can't make her world perfect (without the sarcasm, of course) but that's as much as I would do.
posted by jon1270 at 7:14 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you can easily accommodate a neighbour's request to reduce the amount of waste deposited in her space, why not do so? It's only 5' as you said. Are there not hundreds of feet of space nearby where dog pee is not found objectionable? I think her yelling is over the top. But I also think that not acceding to what seems like a perfectly reasonable request is also over the top. Part of living in a city is making accommodations for each other's wishes even if the letter of the law says you don't have to. Building the social fabric and all that.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:25 PM on July 1, 2013 [11 favorites]

While I completely agree with you that you shouldn't have to accommodate your cray-cray neighbor, I'm worried about the possibility that if this escalates she might harm your dog. As noted in another doggie Askme on a completely different subject, just remember that your main responsibility here is to keep your dog safe. Always the first consideration. So if you need some incentive to let this slide (and oh Lordy, I sure would need to give myself a good talking to) just make a quick mental reminder every time you leave the house.

"I will do whatever it takes to keep doggie safe today."

And then turn the other way down the street.
posted by raisingsand at 7:26 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Sorry, but you do not have a god-given right to leave dog urine anywhere you like in public.

In most jurisdictions, even if the curb strip is public, the adjacent property owner is responsible for its maintenance. This neighbor does not want you leaving your dog urine in front of her house. Don't be a jerk.
posted by JackFlash at 7:27 PM on July 1, 2013 [33 favorites]

It is best to think of this in terms of retaliation. She might start skirting the edge of local laws just to be as annoying and disrespectful to you as (she thinks) you are being to her. And that could include a lot of psychological warfare that no one will protect you from.
posted by Young Kullervo at 7:38 PM on July 1, 2013

You don't have to change where you walk. You just need to curb your dog. It's 5 feet of devilstrip, just keep the leash short for those 5 feet. I don't understand why this is a problem.
posted by headnsouth at 7:46 PM on July 1, 2013 [17 favorites]

I guess I don't understand why you won't stay on the opposite side of the road until you've passed her property, and then cross. Or else, yank her on when she stops at that particular 5-foot patch. It's not hard (I've done it often), and it doesn't hurt the dog.

Sorry, but I think you're being petty. Forget owners vs renters and who owns the strip, etc. Fact is, it's in front of her house and she gardens there. Be polite.
posted by Salamander at 7:49 PM on July 1, 2013 [17 favorites]

I think she's not picking her battles very well and also being a pill about it, but I can also see her point. Urine isn't as bad as leaving dog poop behind, but it still stinks, burns the plants, and encourages other dogs to add their pee.

It doesn't really matter that the city owns that little strip of grass, she's the one who has to look at it when she walks out her door. If another of your neighbors let their dog nibble on the grass in front of your house and then barf it up right there, would you want to walk out and look at that every day?

Just avoid the front of her property. It's the better deal for you. Your big reward for walking in front of her house is...taking a few steps on an unremarkable piece of sidewalk with a side dish of getting screamed at by a crazy lady occasionally. How valuable is that, when instead you can just make the problem *poof* go away.
posted by desuetude at 7:50 PM on July 1, 2013 [8 favorites]

You have a very good case here. Your neighbor also has a very good case here. The positive outcome is one where you both get what you want.

It seems very unlikely that you will change her mind, and some of the actions discussed above will likely entrench you both and make it harder to resolve the situation.

What do you think about negotiating? What might she have to offer in exchange?

Your neighbor is doing what neighbors do sometimes – them's the breaks. You can't control her, but you can control yourself and how you choose to work with her.
posted by suprenant at 7:56 PM on July 1, 2013

Mod note: Everybody, please remember that AskMe is not the place for an argument or debate. OP, you have asked people if you should "just ignore it" and some people have said yes. You are free to take only the helpful advice and disregard the advice you don't find helpful. Flagging is also an option. Answerers, if you are annoyed with the OP from the question, you are free to move along without answering. People have different views on this question and that is fine, but let's keep AskMe helpful. Thanks all.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:10 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Mod note: Several comments deleted. I repeat: answerers and OP alike, keep it constructive and helpful.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:21 PM on July 1, 2013

If you think the majority here think her request is reasonable, you're not reading this thread very carefully. The vast majority of the answers in the thread have been some variation on 'Sure, she's a bit weird, but it's never worth contributing to the drama when it can so easily be avoided.' It may feel overwhelming because so few people are flat out agreeing with you that you should get to do something about this situation, but really, there are very few answerers here who think the woman is being entirely reasonable.

We really don't and can't know what her major malfunction is, but it's clear she feels more strongly about dog urine than most people, since unlike everyone else in your neighborhood, she's not a dog owner and she's making an issue of it. Maybe she's OCD. Maybe she's super sensitive to smell. Maybe she's afraid of dogs and doesn't like how dog urine attracts more dogs to stop and hang out in front of her yard. Maybe she's just batshit unreasonable.

The question is -- do you want to poke the crazy and make an issue out of something that could be readily accommodated by crossing your street on an angle so you arrive at the sidewalk to one side of her property or the other?

You obviously don't really need to worry about your 'what if everyone did it?' because as you said, 95% of your neighbours own dogs, so they'd never make that request.

I get feeling pissed off and angry and GRAR about stuff like this, I really do. I can get all HULK SMASH about these things, too -- usually I just engage in loud railing monologues when I next converse with my mother. Plus, posting about it on the internet can be super cathartic. Hopefully this thread will have helped you dump some of the negative energy over this, so you can move on in a less fraught manner.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:26 PM on July 1, 2013 [5 favorites]

I think most people are like me, they never give one second of thought to who is peeing in front of their house. Quite frankly given my neighborhood, I'm just happy when grown men aren't peeing out there. Dogs of my neighborhood: knock yourselves out. However, when I walk my dog, I avoid the grass strips of people who are clearly gardening out there or who appear to be Lawn People. I figure that they are invested in the way the grass looks and since it takes practically zero effort on my part to prevent my dog from peeing on their carefully cultivated plant life, it makes no sense to me not to do so.
posted by crankylex at 8:27 PM on July 1, 2013 [7 favorites]

Where I live, the resident has full responsibility for that patch of grass, whether they own it or not. The city council is quite within their rights to fine you if the strip is not well kept. YMMV in your locality.

If I was digging in there, I wouldn't want to put my hands in old dog pee either. Yes, she's a nut, and yes, she doesn't own this patch of ground, but she is responsible for it. You are not responsible for any other animals but your own. You need to respect her wishes and toilet your dog elsewhere. Do you really want to start a fight with crazy neighbour lady over an such a trivial issue?
posted by humpy at 8:42 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Should I confront her? Should I call the city? Should I slip a copy of the dog ordinance under her door? Should I call her landlord? Or should I just ignore it?

I think you should respect her wishes. Regardless of what the law may be, it's just simple courtesy to not let your dog use someone's yard as its toilet. I would be mad if a human peed in front of my house, and it's not like dog pee is somehow cleaner or more pure. It's pee. Keep it in your own yard or in a dog park.

Better yet, fence your yard.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:04 PM on July 1, 2013 [6 favorites]

Urine can "burn" plants and grass. I tried to find some kind of product that would neutralize the urine in the soil (Googled [soil neutralize urine]. Unfortunately, it seems to act a lot like "too much fertilizer", and I didn't see a good way to neutralize it.

Don't try to "neutralize" it. Convert "too much fertilizer" to "hey, cool! Fertilizer!" by diluting it with water. A couple of litres of water poured onto the average piss burn will have stuff growing back thick and healthy over it.

As for the annoying neighbor righteous fury: let it go, dude.
posted by flabdablet at 10:25 PM on July 1, 2013

Come on, be an accommodating neighbor. That's not the only place your dog can pee, is it? It's safer and more pleasant to live near people that don't despise you. This is a very little thing that apparently means something more to them than it does you. Acknowledge it and make very small changes accordingly.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:40 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Should I confront her? Should I call the city? Should I slip a copy of the dog ordinance under her door? Should I call her landlord? Or should I just ignore it?

I'd go for option 6: don't let your dog piss repeatedly in front of her house where she does the gardening.

I believe I speak for many non-dog people of this world when I say that continually letting your dog do this (as opposed to it happening as a one-off) is rude, gross, offensive, un-neighbourly and totally unreasonable.

The fact that it may be technically legal is neither here nor there. It's also legal to tell people in hospital they're going to die and go to hell, but that doesn't mean you ought to do it just because you pay taxes.
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:29 AM on July 2, 2013 [9 favorites]

This is the part to concentrate on: "roughly 99.8% of people who meet her love her." Same here! We cannot walk anywhere without people stopping to ooh-and-ah about our dog, pet her, tell us about their own dog. We cannot sit at an outdoor cafe without people offering her delicious treats from their plates, and again, striking up jovial conversations about our dog, their dog, etc. It's great! And I'm so happy that most people in our neighborhood are copacetic about dogs, or dog owners themselves ... and the fact that we always bag the poop makes us heroes, and the fact that just about everyone knows her name, while far fewer know ours. It's lovely. But this is why I also go out of my way to explicitly accommodate people who don't like dogs (or just don't like dogs near their property), or are afraid of dogs or whatever: it's such a small percentage overall that I feel lucky and grateful, and I don't want to contribute to anyone disliking dogs more. I don't let her do any business on lawns / gardened / cultivated areas, I cross the street if I see someone who is obviously nervous about passing by us, I don't let her go unleashed in public areas. I get us well out of the way of baby strollers, because I wouldn't want a strange dog at face-level with my kid.

I think you are perfectly within your legal rights, but in your position, I'd not walk my dog on that short stretch, or else short-leash and quick-walk her by the problem area. Aside from aspects of neighborly relations and just being flexible and tolerant or considerate about their concerns, to me it's just a wise policy all around, because it's an investment in someone, anyone, not hating your dog, or dogs in general.

When my dog ran away from another charging dog in the park and I was freaking out because I couldn't find her, she ended up at our friendly neighborhood mom and pop grocery where they kept her and went out looking for me to let me know they had her. They told the neighbors up and down the street to let me know, if they saw me. I am so grateful for that, and so grateful that there were no people out there that had any sort of grudge against her. People who feel like they are a war with a dog, a dog owner, or dogs in general might do terrible things (or even just fail to act, when they can save or help return the dog), so my go-to is always extreme, overt, cheerful diplomacy. But as you noted in your case, too, it's such a small percentage of folks, that it's not onerous at all. She makes most people feel happy – yay! – so for the very few that do have issues, I want her to seem as invisible and nonthreatening or disgusting (to them) as possible.
posted by taz at 2:30 AM on July 2, 2013 [8 favorites]

I could purposefully avoid that 5' stretch of sidewalk in front of her house, but I don't see why I should have to.

Because it's a hell of a lot easier on everyone then stewing about it and having a confrontation?

You have the satisfaction of knowing you are legally in the right, but it's not really a big deal to move the dog along, really. If I can make someone's day a bit better by making not a big deal of something, I try to do so when I can. Makes them happier, makes me happier and feel like a better person. When I dig in, it's just stressful all round.
posted by smoke at 5:20 AM on July 2, 2013 [6 favorites]

Given some recent interactions with an unreasonable/histrionic neighbor, ignore her, remove yourself from confrontation (do not fall into the mental trap that then "she wins"), and take solace in the fact that you will outlast her.

There is no "winning" against unreasonable people. If you don't walk by her house, you'll never have to gird yourself against an upcoming possible confrontation, which is probably half the reason it's unpleasant to walk by there.

When she's gone, go back to doing whatever you did before.
posted by bookdragoness at 5:53 AM on July 2, 2013

I'm of the gather up all my dogs poops and sneak out at night and dump them on the grass strip school of thought, but I am not always a nice person and a bit of a dick and actually love confrontation with crazies because I usually out crazy them.

As I see it you have 2 choices, you can ignore her and take the occasional crazy outburst from her, I suspect in time if you just go for your walk and let happen what happens asserting you pay your taxes and it's not illegal (which is true) and maybe she will eventually give up. Trouble is crazy can escalate.

Second choice you walk down your street 20 feet and cross the road in front of someone else house and your dog can pee anywhere it damn well likes and no one goes all crazy pants.

Yes I know you can legally cross where you like and your dog can pee where it likes, but the crazy woman is depending on her crazy to make you do what she wants, I guess it's up to you to decide which option is your preferred one.
posted by wwax at 9:41 AM on July 2, 2013

I'm a dog-owner, dog-lover, and I would be upset if you brought your dog across the street to pee on my grass repeatedly. I have the courtesy to make sure my dog doesn't frequent the same neighbor's yards, and if I had a neighbor complain, I'd make sure Dex did his business somewhere else.

Aside from her anger, she's not being unreasonable in her request. Why are you so intent on having your dog pee there?
ftm: dog pee doesn't particularly kill grass,
Patently false. There are dead spots from dog pee in the lawn of a dog owner next to me, whose little pug won't spread it out.

They come back, but there's definitely a die-off period.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:47 AM on July 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

probably 95% of people in this neighborhood have dogs

Which means probably 95% of the people in this neighborhood won't mind if your dog pees on their lawn (or the strip of lawn they don't technically own but are responsible for even though your taxes also support its maintenance).

I mean, yes, it's annoying to be scolded and it's unpleasant to have someone yell at you over something as minor as your dog peeing on (what they consider) their lawn. It sounds like this lady has either a cultural/language barrier, or poor social skills, or both, and doesn't like dogs. But I think you should imagine what you'd do if she'd been more polite--"Hey, I know this part of the lawn is public property, but I'm technically supposed to take care of it as the resident on this property. I've noticed that dog urine leaves the grass all patchy. Can you guide your dog to another area to pee?"

If she'd asked nicely, would you really be opposed to walking your dog briskly past her house? Don't you have certain places--yards edged with nice flower gardens, for instance--where you pick up the pace and don't let your dog stop and pee? This is an easy opportunity to foster good neighbor relations without giving up anything important. Don't let her bad manners distract you from that.
posted by Meg_Murry at 11:58 AM on July 2, 2013

You can be within your rights but still just decide to be generous about it.

Walking my dog in my New York City neighborhood, my incredibly sweet dog, who everyone loved and fawned over, peed on the grassy part of a traffic island in the middle of a large avenue. Someone had planted flowers behind a low metalwork fence in the traffic island and she thought a drop of dog urine might have splashed through the metalwork into the flower area. She watched from the curb and got upset with me when I returned from my walk. I thought it was a non-issue but I apologized (a bit excessively for my own pleasure) but didn't have my dog pee near her flowers again. Of course she did not own the traffic island but she had invested her labor into gardening it. Afterwards I rolled my eyes because I thought she was over the top about a possible drop of pee getting through the fence onto "her" flowers, but in my actions I respected her wishes because I understood that my dog could just as easily pee a few yards down and not disturb this lady's sense of her gardenwork.

Another time: a neighbor came out of the shadows and surprised my dog. My dog barked protectively like a jerk and scared the neighbor. The dog did not bite the neighbor and nothing illegal happened. The neighbor expressed her sense of fear and shock. I could understand why my dog had barked out of being surprised, and could have just defended my dog, but I felt bad that the woman had been frightened and so I brought her a pie the next day. We remained friendly neighbors.

In essence, it's the farmers and the cowman from the musical Oklahoma. ANd hey, territory folks should stick together, territory folks should all be pals.
posted by third rail at 11:59 AM on July 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Let it go. Just don't walk by there. You're 100% right, but you don't always have to win, and in this case you're not going to.
posted by cnc at 1:41 PM on July 2, 2013

Am I reading this wrong, or are you crossing the street to walk past her house?
posted by sarcasticah at 3:28 PM on July 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think you should ignore it. I don't think you are 100% right, and I don't think she is 100% right. She made what I think is a reasonable request, and while you did try to accommodate her, you also sound hell-bent on denying whether it's reasonable in the first place. Does it matter? I think it's a lot easier to keep your dog from peeing in that area than it is to keep having these confrontations and fears about your neighbor.
posted by sm1tten at 4:10 PM on July 3, 2013

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