Neighbor's dog is a bark machine. What do?
October 18, 2014 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Our new neighbors Boxer pup has been chained to a tree all day and he sounds like he's having a crisis, not to mention greatly exciting our Beagle pup and keeping the entire house awake. Hive mind, what's the best course of action here?

Quick question: It seems our new neighbors are out of town and they've had their Boxer pup chained to a tree in the back yard all day. Normally, I've noticed they let him run free in their fenced yard but for some reason, he's been restricted for the past twelve hours or so today. HE HAS BARKED NON-STOP. I mean, shrill, angry, very distressed, sad barking. Again, NON-STOP.

We keep our year old Beagle, Mr. Frisco on a long run in our own, unfenced backyard every day for about 8 hours and normally, he's a happy little dude outdoors. He sleeps, he plays, he's chill. But today, with the barking going on, he's been a mess. He paced all day, barked back, and looked freaked out. I finally brought him in about 6 hours ago but he did the same thing in the house (our houses are fairly close and it's not at all hard to hear neighbor puppy, even with windows closed). Its bedtime so he's in his kennel now but still pretty distraught.

My questions: Neighbors don't seem to be home so I can't go over and address this. Should I call someone, like the cops? Is that awful? We've got boys here for a sleepover tonight and they're unable to sleep, as is our pup.

Barring a noise complaint or something of that nature, what's the best way to address this with our new neighbors? For all I know they could have had an emergency and this won't be the norm for their dog so I don't want to be an ass, but seriously, if our dog gets out of hand outdoors we address it immediately and have even checked with all our other neighbors more than once to make sure that he's not too loud while we're out because we don't want to be a nuisance. We haven't even met them yet but obviously, if this is going to be the norm, something needs to be said.

Any help / advice would be great!
posted by youandiandaflame to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is an interesting question.

Is it night time now? Does he dog have food and water?

You could call the non-emergency number and explain that there is an animal in crisis, see what they say.

If the dog is barking for help, call authorities. If the dog is just barking, address it with the neighbors tomorrow.

I wouldn't leave my dog out all day like that, but you're right, there could be some emergency preventing the owners from coming home.

Take your family's feelings out of it for the time being. It is distressing enough to hear a pet in crisis for 8+ hours. Focus on the dog's wellbeing.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 6:58 PM on October 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Under similar circumstances recently, we called the local SPCA. Turned out our neighbor was ill and the dogs did need help.
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:00 PM on October 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

Are you friendly with the neighbors? This is probably extreme but depending on your relationship with them and the comfort level you feel with the puppy, I might consider bringing him inside if you have a basement or somewhere you could keep him and it wouldn't further upset your own pet. And leave a note for the neighbors on the front door, of course.
ETA: ugh, I obviously missed the part where you said you haven't even met them yet. Sorry!
posted by bahama mama at 7:03 PM on October 18, 2014

In some locations, like where I live, it is now illegal to leave a dog chained. I had the same exact problem, even went to court trying to solve it, but when chaining was made illegal, the problem neighbors moved.
It seemed they weren't bothered in the least by leaving this poor animal chained up to bark about 75% of the time.
You might check with the local animal control folks and find out what the rules are there.
posted by rudd135 at 7:21 PM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

as jbenben said ... the REALLY important question is whether the dog has water. also important is whether it has food but WATER is crucial.

if the dog has no water, please take it some and call the police. (do not listen to people who say this isn't a matter for the police.) be careful when you take it water ... bring chained can make dogs territorial and aggressive.

I'm sorry you're going through this. decent, responsible people NEVER chain dogs up outside of their immediate presence. your neighbors are probably not good people and this incident does not bode well, to me.
posted by jayder at 7:22 PM on October 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm horrible: I didn't even think to check for food and water! It's full on dark outside now but I peered over the fence with a flashlight, and lo and behold, the poor guy / gal has neither.

Further question: The neighbors have a full, tall fence that is locked. Is it "okay" for me to jump it to feed and water the puppy?

Another question: We live in a small rural area, outside of city police jurisdiction. I could call the county police but at this hour, all I can find on local websites is to utilize 911. Should I still call now or feed and water the dog first and see if that helps?
posted by youandiandaflame at 7:28 PM on October 18, 2014

Call 911, and let them know.

I tried like hell to find a non-emergency number for our town's police, abut 911 worked fine and no one yelled at me.

But do go give the poor thing water and food.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:31 PM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yep. Call 911.

Explain that the dog has been barking for 8+ hours, and you finally peeked over the fence and see it is chained without water or food.

Good luck.

Update, please!
posted by jbenben at 7:36 PM on October 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

Just to be clear, do not enter the property. Call 911.

Sure, have a bowl of water ready, but please wait for the police.

posted by jbenben at 7:38 PM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

In some places, it is very illegal to chain a dog in a yard all day. Look up your local laws or call your local ASPCA if you're in doubt. Take whatever action you feel is necessary.

If I were in your place, I'd have jumped the fence, cut the chain, and taken the dog in by now, but then, I'm a total asshole when it comes to stuff like this.
posted by erst at 7:46 PM on October 18, 2014 [7 favorites]

Definitely call 911, they will know how to transfer you to animal control. I had to do this recently for a dog problem (not as bad as what you are dealing with) and I was stressed about calling 911 when it wasn't a life-threatening emergency. But the 911 operator was totally professional about it and said they were the right number to call because they handle dispatch.
posted by medusa at 8:01 PM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Please update!
posted by DarlingBri at 8:45 PM on October 18, 2014 [13 favorites]

If you need to get him some water and don't want to go over the fence, maybe you could gently shoot a stream of water from a hose that he could lap from?
posted by Vaike at 9:16 PM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think if you called 911 for this in my area, you'd be in trouble. Call the non-emergency number. Nobody's life is at risk.
posted by klanawa at 10:00 PM on October 18, 2014

I think if you called 911 for this in my area, you'd be in trouble.

You are in Canada, the OP is in the midwestern US.

Since the only information that the OP can find online is to call 911, I agree with jbenben, medusa, etc. on calling them.
posted by invisible ink at 12:02 AM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Where I've lived (east coast and west coast of the US), it's appropriate to call 911 for noise disturbance, e.g., if your neighbors are having a crazy-loud party. A dog barking non-stop next door sure seems like a noise disturbance to me, even before you get into the animal welfare issues.
posted by serelliya at 12:11 AM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would bring the dog water, fence or no.
posted by zippy at 1:34 AM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't call 911, find your police office's non-emergency number. Ask them to send an officer out to feed and water the dog, because if you do it, it would be trespassing. If the dog has been tied up all day and is usually not tied up, it may be tangled around the tree and trapped as well.
posted by myselfasme at 6:24 AM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't care if it is trespassing. I'd help the animal.

And calling 911 is not a bfd, in fact after-hours, our non-emergency number rings at the 911 center.

Do update, I've been worried about the wee beastie.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:03 AM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

-I think if you called 911 for this in my area, you'd be in trouble.

-You are in Canada, the OP is in the midwestern US.

Just FYI, I'm in Canada and have been told by the police in more than one city that it's appropriate to call 911, not the non-emergency line, for situations like this.

Yes, please phone 911, OP and please do update. Poor dog! Thank you for looking out for him.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:41 AM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Update! I jumped the fence, fed and watered the dog, and then called 911. It was the only number available. They sent over a cop to check the situation out -- the dog had adequate shelter and food at the time so there was nothing they could do.

They asked if I wanted to pursue a noise complaint but I just asked that they come back today and talk to the owners.

I walked over this evening and told the new neighbors what I'd done and they thanked me profusely. Turns out they had an emergency and were worried their eager pup would jump the fence so they chained the dog. They assured me this was not the norm and were very kind.

Thanks, mefi, for all your help!
posted by youandiandaflame at 4:25 PM on October 19, 2014 [46 favorites]

Well that is the absolute best possible outcome! Well done; go you!!
posted by DarlingBri at 5:30 PM on October 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

Hopefully this was truly a one-off event, and good on you for taking care of the poor dog in the moment! If you got a good feeling from the neighbors, could you swap numbers in case such a need ever arose again?
posted by rawralphadawg at 6:14 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

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