27 November, 2006

I Need Some Advice, Please.

Seriously. I have no idea for the proper ettiquette for this business and am hoping some of you out there can pony up a suggestion OR just tell me I'm being too much of a fussypants and to let it go.

The Scenario

We live in a house. The house has a fenced-in backyard, and has done for 7.25 of the 7.5 years we've lived here.

We just got new people next door, whom I have not yet met. When they first moved in they contacted us about building their own fence. They wanted to abut our fence on one side to save them money. Which makes sense. Judging by the cost of ours, it probably saved them at least $500 to use one side of our fence instead of replicating that wall. It also gives them (by default) about 6 inches of our property, as we built our fence within our property line.

They have at least one dog. We have two.

Their house is slighly uphill from ours, so from their yard you can see over our fence into our yard, but from ours you can see nothing in theirs.

The Problem

Their dog sees our dog and pees on the mutual section of fence to mark it. This fence has "belonged" to my dog for his entire life. He can't see the other dog, but he can smell it so he barks at the fence whenever he goes out there. it's been nice over the weekend and he's been out there a lot. I don't want to tick off the entire neighbourhood with my dog's barking but I also don't want to punish him for guarding his own property against a perceived intruder.

The Advice

Do I keep my dog inside so he doesn't bark?
Do I say something to the neighbors and ask them to let their dog meet my dogs to remove some of the mystery?
Shouldn't our new neighbours have at least offered us a gift certificate or SOMETHING as a thank you for saving them hundreds of dollars? Should we have asked for money?

Anyway, whatever thoughts you have, let me know.

18 Comments:

At 3:31 PM, November 27, 2006, Blogger dolphin said...

I'd let the dogs meet and get to know eachother and see what happens from there. That's also a good way for you to get to know your new (human) neighbors.

As for the money, it might be nice if they had done something for you for allowing them to use your fence, but I think it would be rude for you to ask for money (at this point, though it probably would have been appropriate when you first made the agreement).

Anyways, that's my two cents for what it's worth.

 
At 3:31 PM, November 27, 2006, Blogger Amy said...

mmm, it would have been nice and neighborly of them to offer you a gift, but to my mind it doesn't really seem necessary. I do think the "dog meet up" sounds like a good option :)

 
At 3:35 PM, November 27, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

but I think it would be rude for you to ask for money (at this point, though it probably would have been appropriate when you first made the agreement).

I think you're right about that, but then again, I also felt wrong about asking for money at the outset. It kinda seemed like "Hi, we're your new neighbours and we'll let you use our fence for $50" was a rude first encounter.

It's not that we NEED the money. It's just that I think it would be nice if they offered. Does that even make sense?

 
At 3:58 PM, November 27, 2006, Blogger Mr. Mack said...

If I understood you, their new fence would be 6 inches over on your property. Is there any concern that after time, it becomes the "legal" property line? We have this issue all of the time out here in the rural counties. Fencing costs are usually shared by neighbors, but I would NEVER allow someone to build a fixture of any kind on my property.

 
At 4:19 PM, November 27, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

f I understood you, their new fence would be 6 inches over on your property.

Yes. Well, approximately. I can't recall off the top of my head how far inside the property line we built. I know it's a matter of inches as opposed to feet.

Is there any concern that after time, it becomes the "legal" property line?

I checked with an attorney prior to granting permission, and he didn't seem to think it was a problem. I still think maybe I should have had an easement drawn up or something.

Fencing costs are usually shared by neighbors

That's been my presumption, as well as the net result of my research--that in a case like ours the neighbours would offer some type of remuneration. But since we didn't ask and they didn't offer I'll just chalk it up to a lesson learned, I suppose.

The only reason this bugs me at ALL is because of the dog. It was "his" fence first, and I really don't want to have to keep him inside all the time because of some johnny-pee-lately German Shepherd. And since the neighbours haven't offered any compensation for use of the fence I guess I still view their use of the fence as under sufferance, thereby granting my dog a greater 'right of way'. That's the only reason I mentioned the (lack of) payment at all.

 
At 4:55 PM, November 27, 2006, Anonymous Sis said...

I suggest going over, introducing your dog, apologize for the barking, explain why it is happening, and politely ask them to ATTEMPT to steer their kid to other potty locations. You will be nice by apologizing for the barking, but also be giving them a hint that maybe they should be a little more considerate. It may not work, but it's worth a try, and it's better than suffering through years of unspoken frustration.

 
At 5:15 PM, November 27, 2006, Blogger Slartibartfast said...

I'll second (third? fifth?) the advice that the most sensible attempt at a solution would be for the dogs to "meet", probably more than once. If they become familiar, more than likely, your dog will stop barking.

We had a mini daschund that would bark at its own shadow. After months of this (and apologizing to the neighbors), we had no choice but to find her a new home. Your situation is MUCH different. A meet-up will probably solve the problem.

 
At 5:28 PM, November 27, 2006, Anonymous Kate O' said...

I like Sis's suggestion.

 
At 6:16 PM, November 27, 2006, Blogger Ned Williams said...

Kat,
I'm surprised that a lawyer didn't recommend some type of legal acknowledgment that their fence extends onto your property--it's not likely that you will be the only two parties to ever own those two pieces of property. It doesn't have to be much, but it ought to be signed by them and filed with the county register of deeds--the mooching neighbors can pay for the filing fee.

One positive thing is that you or your husband won't have to trim or edge on the other side of the fence anymore . . .

As far as the dogs are concerned, I don't think territory-marking is the problem (though I'm no expert). I think the fact that there are dogs just on the other side of a fence is enough--even absent the marking of his fence. Him becoming buddies with them will probably help with the barking.

 
At 8:13 AM, November 28, 2006, Blogger jag said...

Your poor pup.

I will agree with all above me to initiate a meeting between the dogs, perhaps at least one meeting in both your and the neighbor's yard. That way they'll all have an idea of what's going on on the other side of the fence. Perhaps they'll all end up being friends and can have regular playdates.

As for the fence, that's delicate. Eeek. I have no idea what to tell you. It's hard to do something now. I don't know the length of that stretch, nor the layout of your yard. If the barking continues to be a problem, is it an option to plant some bushes or something down that side? Perhaps that would deter your dog from being up against it all the time, it's be a gradual change for him to get used to as they grow and fill out, and if it was harder to get to the actual fence, maybe he'd lose interest.

Unfortunately, that'd still be a cost to you. Probably not a very good idea.

 
At 8:38 AM, November 28, 2006, Anonymous sbk said...

Without seeing the fence I can't be sure, but...it is possible the neighbors have been very nice and not made YOU spend an bunch a money. If they have asked to abut a fence it is probably because the support timbers are on their side--which is against codes I think. You're suppose to build the "pretty" side out facing the neighbors.

We see the ugly side of our neighbor's fence and have looked into it and found that we can raise a stink and make them redo it if we want.

I'd make sure the neighbor know why your dog is barking. For all they know they've moved next door to a dog that always barks. I'm sure they'd be happy to find out it may be fixable!

 
At 8:45 AM, November 28, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Without seeing the fence I can't be sure, but...it is possible the neighbors have been very nice and not made YOU spend an bunch a money. If they have asked to abut a fence it is probably because the support timbers are on their side-

Nope. Support timbers are on our side...facing inward. We aren't so tacky as to erect a fence backward.

 
At 8:59 AM, November 28, 2006, Blogger bridgett said...

No, don't keep your dog inside. Ask for introductions, explaining that your dog has smelled the other dog (no need to say "because you lamebrains have allowed your dog to whizz all over our fence") and that you'd like to get to know them a little better. Invite them over for coffeecake or something so that your dog has homefield advantage on the first meet-n-greet.

As far as asking for money or holding that teeny grudge, I would try to get over that. Whether they should have offered or not -- who knows? If you're confused about the propriety of it, it's likely they were too. When you indicated that you were at peace with helping them out for free, they took you at your word. Seems a bit hard to blame them for that now that you've changed your mind.

 
At 1:19 PM, November 28, 2006, Blogger Exador said...

Kill their dog.

 
At 6:38 AM, November 29, 2006, Blogger Exador said...

Not ONE personal jumped on me for the "kill their dog" comment?

You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Or commended for seeing through my snark, I'm not sure which.

 
At 7:46 AM, November 29, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

We just know you THAT well. ;-p

 
At 12:16 PM, November 29, 2006, Blogger Shabby in the City said...

Maybe the new neighbors are voracious readers of NIT and are here right now...probably tapping their fingers trying to think of a remedy!

 
At 12:55 PM, November 29, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

SitC: That would be just my luck, wouldn't it?

 

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