49 answers

Dogs Running Loose

This isn't really a pet question but a safety concern. I have new neighbors who got two bull mastiff puppies about 10 months ago. They fenced their yard but they cannot seem to keep these dogs in. They also have a young son who apparently lets them out...though given the size of these dogs, they may just run him over when he opens the door. The dogs now weigh about 150 pounds each and they are almost as tall as my 6 year old. They are sweet tempered dogs but they run loose a lot. Recently a pit bull has been running around with them. Apparently, the neighbors have gotten another dog or they are dog sitting for someone because I saw the young mom driving around the neighborhood today in her pickup calling all three dogs by name. Yesterday I saw the dogs running around the intersection where my son and 4 other children catch the bus to their elementary school. The bus had only picked them up a half an hour prior to me seeing these dogs loose. The owner was nowhere in sight.
I must confess that my own pet, a large tabby cat, goes outside so I am not one to cast stones but this situation frightens me. If these were Chihuahuas I might be concerned about them biting my kid but not about them packing together and killing him. Before the pit bull and mastiff lovers start flaming me and defending the breed, I am not saying that these dogs are bad but I am saying that I don't think the owners are responsible enough to be taking care of these dogs. I really don't want to call Animal Services and I don't want the neighbor to know I am the complaintant but I don't think I could live with myself if something terrible happened and I hadn't tried to stop it. What would you do in this situation?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Okay, I finally did call Animal Control (Mont. Co) and reported the dogs. I've returned them to the neighbor's yard four times in the past three weeks and the owner refuses to answer the door when I knock. Anyway, I got a letter from the animal control division of the police department asking me to send in a written complaint. No one I've talked to who has called in an animal complaint has ever gotten a request for a written complaint. In addition, it says at the top of the form that I can be called in to court to testify. This was my first complaint ever and I was hoping that it would be anonymous. Another neighbor called the head of our Neighborhood Watch, who then called me. He said that there have been numerous complaints about the dogs and I was definitely not the first to call animal services about the situation. He was also surprised that I had been asked to put my complaint in writing. Has anyone else had this experience?

Featured Answers

My first thought is CALL! Better to piss off a neighbor than to let a child be harmed. Make the call anonymously. There must be other neighbors who are thinking about this too.
I called Animal Control once and have NEVER been sorry that I did it. The dog was vicious and got loose outside and chased me. Luckily - it was me and not a child and I had the presence of mind to handle the situation correctly and not get biten by the dog. I was terrified and I can imagine how a little child would have felt in this situation. One call to animal control took care of the problem.

Sorry, but I would (and have!) call Animal Services. Tell them the situation. They will visit them fisrt and work with them to keep their dogs safe. But if it becomes a situation where the dogs are out and you feel children will not be safe, they may need to pick up the dogs and then the people will be fined to get them back. Owning pets has a responsiblility attached to it.

Call Animal Control. Do not wait another minute. Animal Control, at least where I live, will respond quickly. The owners should know that dogs should not run loose through a neighborhood for any reason. There are plenty of other neighbors who will probably thank you for making the call. Better yet, have multiple neighbors call and Animal Control will get there even faster.

Good Luck.

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I am a dog lover myself but as you say safety comes first. I would not worry about what she thinks if you call Animal services. You are looking out for your kids and others in the neighborhood and these are too huge of a dog to be running freely.

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L. B you in no way should feel sorry for reporting these dogs. I'm sure just like me you've seen the news reports about these randam dog attacks. Need I say more? Protect your family at all cost!

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I ditto everything Wendy E. said!

Your neighbor is showing no regard for her neighbors or the law in letting 3 dogs run loose in the neighborhood. Them getting out once in awhile is one thing, that happens to most dog owners eventually, but she KNOWS she has a problem and isn't doing anything to correct it - or it would have been corrected by now. CALL! You can sit around trying to be the "nice neighbor" and not hurt her feelings, but in the meantime your kids and possibly others could get bitten or be attacked - even by generally friendly dogs - they are still animals, and will react with instinct not "oh, I know that little kid, so instead of acting like a canine, I'll just let him go on by." Doesn't always happen! And it only takes one time for a dog to attack with fatal consequences. Don't let your kind nature keep you from doing the right thing, and make your neighbor be a RESPONSIBLE pet owner! It doesn't matter if they were 3 golden retrievers (considered one of the friendliest larger breeds) running around... they need to be on a leash and under the control of a human (pref. adult) when outside of their fenced area.


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If I were in your shoes, I'd contact your neighbor with your concerns and worrys. The dogs may be sweet as pie, and wouldn't intentionally harm your son, but just their size can be intimidating for a child as young as yours. If your neighbor doesn't do something about the dogs running lose, I don't see where you have any other choice but to contact animal control. That is what they are there for when all other options have been exhausted. Some people that own large breed dogs and are around them all the time just don't realize how "Big and scarey" they can be to those that aren't around them or familiar with the breed. But making sure that your neighbors are safe is of major importance when owning such breeds. Hope you get things resolved with your neighbors without involving animal control. I know if I were your neighbors, I'd rather see my neighbor coming to see me than animal control or the police telling me that my animals had been euthanized because they'd attacked someone while they were out running loose with me knowing they were.

If your community has a HOA, you should let them know of the situation. I know what you mean about not wanting them to know you are the one who reported them. If you don't, call the neccesary authorities so that they can handle the situation. The more details you give the better. Safty comes first.

I think y should call someone especially if there are puppies loose.These dogs could get hurt by a vehicle and they could need surgery. I understand you don't want the owner to find out that y called but y need to call before a child gets bit our these dogs die by getting hurt by a car.

Hi, I agree with especially Michelle, but many others who are suggesting you find out what the laws and rules are for your community, county, and city or town. Have this information as knowledge and kindly suggest in a way that will appear you are not trying to "tell them what to do", but rather inform them that you have observed there dogs out and in possible danger. I hope these dogs have a licence on them or at the vary least an id tags, or micro chips incase they do become lost or something worse happens.
Good Luck, and handle this gingerly, some people get vary sensitive about this kind of thing!

I second that - call animal control. I know you can do it anonymously - I have a friend who worked for animal control for many years. Animal control's purpose is to keep the community and animals safe - not to dime you out and start a neighborhood brawl. Ask them.

As someone who's grown up with animals and all my family has animals, including pit bulls, I can surely say that these are not responsible owners and these are the type of people that really p*ss me off. These people need a wake up call - hopefully you live in an area that will fine them also.

Also, not only are you possibly stopping an accident with a child, you're also protecting these dogs b/c if they're running around in the street, it's only a matter of time before they get hit by a car.

You should call animal services if for nothing else the safety of the dogs. You should be able to to place an anonimous complaint with animal services. These are large dogs that need training and they obviously are not getting that. They also pose a threat to others in that they are running on the roads and could cause an accident or possibly be hit in front of your children. Your only other recourse is to talk to your neighbors and tell them of your concerns but I doubt that with get you anywhere. Good Luck J.

L., you need to go with your gut and do what you will feel comfortable with and what's safest for your child. Personally, I would alert the neighbor the next time you see the dogs out. If that doesn't stop it (I kinda assume it won't), I'd call Animal Control.

Here's where I'm coming from...I have 2 German Shepherd 8 & 9 and two children, 3 & 2 and another due in 2 months. We live in the Del Ray section of Alexandria where a loose dog could very well be a dead dog (hit by a car). In the 9 years that we've had dogs, only once has one of our dogs gotten loose. A neighbor told me that he'd seen Aksel up the street - I was so frantic to go find/get him before he got hit that I barely said thank you. We have a dog door so the kids/dogs go in/out on their own. We have 6' fences and locks on the 3 gates so they can't get out. Personally, I would be so grateful that someone told me that my dogs were loose. And it wouldn't happen again. But the fact that you've seen these dogs loose multiple times make me think that you neighbor might react differently. But still, I think that would be my first course of action.

Also, I'm sure you know, dogs in a pack act differently than solo dogs. It's like crowd mentality. My female dog is definitely bitchy to other dogs. But if I'm walking her by herself, she's less likely to act out. But with her brother, she's suddenly a tough girl. My male is a vocal dog, he barks at everything - balls, sticks, people. He's harmless, and mostly his barks mean he's demanding that you play with him or give him attention. But seems scarey since he's loud and big and a shepherd. Again, walking the two of them together, he may bark when someone stops to pet him, just because. But that puts the female on offense. It's the pack mentality. I definitely would be concerned about two or more large dogs running loose.

Finally, even if your son is comfortable around the dogs, and they are comfortable/gentle around him, if something happens that gets him scared, the dogs may react differently. Again, I'll bore you with an example of my dogs. Someone may stop to pet them, then when the male barks for more attention, they instinctively jump back. Then both of my dogs start barking at them. Then the person gets more scared... It's a cycle that feeds on the reactions. I wouldn't want my 6 year old to run into that situation alone.

BTW, I think mastifs are generally sweet tempered dogs. They're almost too big to be scarey - more energy has to go into growing and moving that body around than being crazy and wild. But they are so big compared to a kid...

Hope this helps. Good luck. Don't be worried about calling Animal Control. You're looking out for your family and the dogs' best intersts as well.

Try talking to your neighbor about your concerns, and if she doesn't take action quickly, you need to call animal control. I love pits and mastiffs, but anytime you have dogs running around in a pack it is just asking for trouble -- both for the dogs and for other animals and people. At the very least, these dogs will eventually get hit by a car.

I'm sure you can ask animal control to keep your complaint anonymous, and even if the neighbor figures that it's you, it's better than having something really bad happen.

Best of luck to you!

You have every reason to be concerned. I would talk to your neighbor. If the police see them, she'll be paying to get them out of the animal shelter, and paying a very stiff fine. I don't care how friendly a dog is, people have to be responsible for them. In the end, you may have to call animal services, but try talking to your neighbor first.

Call Animal Control. Do not wait another minute. Animal Control, at least where I live, will respond quickly. The owners should know that dogs should not run loose through a neighborhood for any reason. There are plenty of other neighbors who will probably thank you for making the call. Better yet, have multiple neighbors call and Animal Control will get there even faster.

Good Luck.

As a dog trainer, vet tech and animal person, I'd say your concerns are valid. I do agree with others who replied and said speak to the owners first. You never know what's going on with them. That alone could relsolve the issue. Animal control is easy to call if the dogs continue to run or if the neighbor does not take care of the issue.

Well, many people are saying to contact your neighbors first. However, in my opinion, I would just go ahead and contact animal control. This way there is a "paper trail" in case something does happen. I doubt that animal controll will come and take the animals away. They will just go out and inspect their living situations and see where the problem is and making suggestions to them about containing the dogs in their yards (getting a lock that is high enough that their son can't reach it, etc.). I worked in the emergency room and have seen my fair share of dog bites (some were VERY nasty) and it's something I wouldn't mess around with. Even if the big mastiffs are like little angels, things can happen and they can turn quickly...especially if they are already running in a pack with a pit bull. Three of them makes for a bad situation if one or all of them get angry. I would be VERY CONCERNED.

We have had problems like this--too many. Both of my daughters have been bitten by neighbors' dogs; one was supposedly in a fenced in yard but escaped; the other was on a leash but lunged. The first dog hated cats and climbed under the fence and bit my daughter on the upper thigh because she walked near the fence carrying a cat litter box she was emptying out; he apparently smelled cat and came after her. The other dog was just excitable and the little boy in the family he lived with was allowed to play with him very roughly. He got excited when he smelled sushi on my younger daughter and lunged at her and bit her on the face. Neither of these dogs had a history of biting, but they were both poorly socialized and owned by people who had no idea of how to care for dogs--which sounds like your situation.

From my experience, I would suggest this: Check out the applicable leash laws. Then go to your neighbor and say you have concerns about the dogs being untrained and running around loose. Then you can tell her that a friend of yours (this would be me) told you that once a dog's teeth break the skin on another person, it sets into motion a chain of events: the cops come, there is a report, the animal control people come, they have to show verification of rabies shots, and it's possible animal control could take their dogs away. Tell her that you assume both of you have an interest in making sure this never happens; your kids will be instructed to stay away from the dogs but the dogs must--MUST--be kept in control at all times. Be friendly but straightforward.

Then do what you have to do if the dogs are running around loose. You've put her on notice, and given them a chance to correct the situation. I think the ill will starts when somebody calls animal control without giving the dog-owner a heads-up, but you will have done that. If after that they get mad at you---well, no great loss. Who wants to socialize with people who are rude, irresponsible and uncaring of the safety of children in the neighborhood? I can tell you that holding down your screaming six-year-old while a doctor sews up a big gash in her cheek will turn even a dog-lover like me into a vigilant leash law Nazi. People should not own dogs unless they want to truly take responsibility for them. And by the way--saying nothing is NOT an option. Putting your kids and other kids at risk for fear of offending the neighbors is getting your priorities all mixed up. Be friendly but let 'em know this is non-negotiable: they MUST obey the leash laws or they WILL be reported. End of story.

Hello. First any dog regardless of size should be under the owners control at all times. All dogs can bite, and all terriers, not just Pit Bulls, have very strong jawls; which is why their bites are so dangerous. Second I would express my concern to your neighbor. I would tell them that "I notice your dogs are running loose quite often and I am concern about them being hit by a car or something". Doing it that way should prevent any resentment etc from your neighbor. If you don't feel comfortable talking to them, then yes you should call animal control. For everyone's safety including the dogs. Just know that most, not all, counties will put the Pit Bull to sleep, if they take the dogs. PG and Montgomery do not keep Pits. I do not know where you live but just keep that in mind. That may also be a way to get you neighbors to keep better control of them. They probably don't know that. Good Luck!

Call Animal Services. It won't go over well, but it will be better than your child hurt by the dogs. People don't realize how their dogs scare others. I had to put one of mine down because she showed her teeth and snapped at a toddler. The mom was right there. We were lucky. I told the kids if it happened again, she would have to go...and it did. I am happy that nothing violent happened, and when I took her to the vet, they didn't try to find a new home because she wigged out. They put her down right away. It was sad, but the right thing to do. Good Luck. The Animal Svcs are very matter of fact about it and that is good. L.

Whatever breed it is, when they start running in a pack it gets dangerous. As far as the anklebiters I would be just as worried of those little fur footballs as I would be of those larger dogs. I realize that there are good qualities and bad qualities to each breed. I have a husky that she has her good days and her bad days, shes still a puppy and she already is showing some wonderful traits.

Point is, if they are running in a pack, the masters can't keep them in the house, or the yard or just under control simply put, then call animal services, because it is the duty of the masters to keep the animals under control and if they can't then call animal services. Period. End of story..... I fear for the safety of my child since the people down my street can't seem to keep their pit bulls in and they pack together, and my child is just going to be 2 in 3 days and I want him to grow up to see 22.

Call animal services the next time you see those dogs out running in a pack and the masters aren't doing anything to help prevent that.

we bought a 3 mth old pitbull mastiff, and at 9 mths he took his first BIG bite out of the front of my 14 year old son(the main caregiver for him). He bit his shin, pretty bad, the city got the info, and he had to be put down after 30 days of observation. He could not be held back when he had made his mind up for the bite. that fears me what you speak of with those dogs, i couldn't/wouldn't stand by now knowing what i have encountered myself. they are very, VERY strong-especially when they put their mind to it, or get angry. Listen to that still small voice you are hearing and make a move. For the benefit of your children and any neighboring children. Even in anonomousity ! they don't need to know where the call came from when you call the attention to any authorities. Let them make the decision of what is legal and safe for all involved.

i dont know that i would report them yet, BUT your childs safety and those other kids plus actually the child that seems to already be run over them need safety. safety they dont even know about until it is taken away. i have a dog and she is little, but i do not let her jump on people or even go to people unless i KNOW they are ok with it.


What would I do? I would FIRST speak to the owner. I would express my concern and ask her to keep her dogs in their yard.

Talk with the owner's IMMEDIATELY. They could have the "invisible fence" installed that will keep the dogs in their yard, even if the boy lets them out.

Explain to the owners your concern. Especially if she has to drive down the street looking for them. As a dog owner, she is responsible for their behavior - if they cause a car accident because they are loose - SHE WILL be held responsible as it was her civil responsibility to keep the dogs in HER yard.

If those dogs attack another dog, cat or child - SHE WILL be held responsible. If a neigbor complains about the incident (obviously if a child is involved but somewhat questionable if another animal (cat, racoon, etc.) is involved).

Should someone complain, the dogs WILL be picked up by animal control and held until a court date or put down and labeled as a "dangerous dog". If you live in Fairfax County, VA - the dogs will be held at a local kennel and she will NOT be able to visit them until the court date. If they are deemed "dangerous" they can be put down or the courts may mandate her to raise her fence, add extra locks, etc. This is worst case scenario, but it does happen. Unfortunately, dogs in packs aren't a good thing. Bull Mastiff's are gentle giants. The Pit Bull COULD be a gentle animal, you just don't know HOW it was raised. However, when dogs get in to "packs" their mentality changes.

If the neighbor refuses to listen or do anything about the animals, when you see them out again call Animal Control. In Fairfax County you call the Police NON-Emergency number, explain the situation and they will send out an Animal Control officer who will detain the dogs. Again, the if the officer contains the dogs before the owner does, they WILL be taken away and no released to the owner until a court date has been set. She MIGHT be lucky if no one is hurt and the Animal Control officer MIGHT release the dogs to her and end up making extra rounds in your neighborhood.

Bottom line - talk with the owner first. If she does NOTHING, the next time you see the animals out of their yard, call animal control and let them handle it from there.

Best regards,


Sorry, but I would (and have!) call Animal Services. Tell them the situation. They will visit them fisrt and work with them to keep their dogs safe. But if it becomes a situation where the dogs are out and you feel children will not be safe, they may need to pick up the dogs and then the people will be fined to get them back. Owning pets has a responsiblility attached to it.

You're right to worry about pack mentality concerning the neighborhood children (or adults, for that matter). Call Animal Control and let them deal with it. I am a "talk nicely to the offender" type of person but I get the feeling this may not be the best answer in your situation. As a parent, it's your responsibility to protect your children and that is exactly what you'd be doing by calling AC. You are right to recognize something terrible could happen and you could have prevented it. Perhpas other neighbors have the same concerns and can call the next time the dogs get out. Be strong in a loving manner. You can change this.


Just have a talk with your neighbors and let them know how you feel. They will understand if they don't then you should take it a step furter.

Hi L.,

I'm an animal lover and have one adult dog and one very exuberant puppy. You are very right to be concerned about these dogs running loose. Pack mentality can be very dangerous. I suggest that the next time the dogs are loose, call the dog catcher. Hopefully it will give the owners a wakeup call before either the dogs or a person get hurt.


Talk to your neighbor or perhaps a heartfelt, non-judgmental, anonymous letter of your concerns. I used to have big dogs and occasionaly the two boxer males would get out. These were the sweetest and most loving dogs in the world, BUT, being father & son- they would get into these 'lord of the jungle, leader of the pack' type fights between them. Don't feel bad about contacting them, it seems you have a objective and fair demeanor. No matter how sweet any animal is, its natural animalistic tendencies are going to come thru at some point. Many dogs running together make a pack, and a pack works/hunts together- whether that be to attack a child they percieve as messing with them OR attacking someone else they think is hurting the children- ALL natural instinctual tendencies. Don't feel bad- the people are new and the dogs are getting used to new surroundings- offer help and present concerns. Good luck.

this may sound mean and all but i would put in an anomous call to the local police next time.

I have 2 "big" dogs myself and they do sometimes get loose. There have been many times my neighbors have come to tell me they were out. My backyard looks carzy with all of the contraptions we have around our fence to keep the dogs in. There were many times I'd let them out thinking we had the last "hole" fixed and they'd get out again. Sneaky devils! When I worked away from home we'd let the dogs stay outside during the day - I had no idea they were getting out right after I left only to be right back in the yard before I got home until my neighbor told me. My point being - talk to your neighbor - they may not think the "getting out" is that bad. They may have to block escape routes like we did but have to find them first. Since the dogs have been getting out regularly - they now know they can - and will continue to do so unless your neigbor makes and effort to block their path. If they refuse to try to correct the issue - then call animal control. I will say though for the dogs safety - if the owner is not home during the day and the dogs are getting out - don't wait until they get home - call animal control so they can come and pick them up. That way - you are safe and the dogs are safe.

I must start by saying that I am a large dog or cat person and dislike small dogs as I think they are more likely to bite. However, having a pit bull, even a tame one , can revert to more aggressive behavior . I would call Animal Control. The animals won't be hurt and if they have tags the owners will be called and have to pay a fine to get them. It might make them more careful about keeping their dogs in. My mom had two large dogs who used to jump their fence and they had to make the fence higher but they knew it was their responsibility and did it. I don't think anything would happen with the dogs but not only would you feel bad but the dog owners would feel terrible if something happened. Think if it as doing them and their dogs a favor.

Hi L.,

I have a Rottweiler & a Doberman/Rotti mix. As well as a 4 1/2 yr old and an 18 month old. I think no matter the breed of dog, the owners should be responsible and not let their dogs run the neighborhood. On occassion my "rotten dobie" has gotten out of our backyard because my husband has forgotten to close the back gate after mowing the lawn. Although my dog is very friendly to all pets and people, I fear that someone would hurt her because she is a "certain" breed that people fear. So as a "parent" and owner of 2 dogs, I would fear for my dogs. I have called Animal Control on a stray dog and they don't ask you for your name or anything, they just ask the location of the dog/s so you would have anonymity. I say that you are the only one who will advocate for you and your family, so you need to do what is necessary to keep you and your children safe.

Take care,

Talk to your neighbor. Put it in the context that you are concerned for their dogs since you saw them at an intersection (and say that they almost got hit by a car). They may be unaware that they are getting out. If that doesn't solve the situation the call your home owners association if you have one. If not call animal services. Most areas have a leash laws, so call animal services when they are out and just don't give your name. Good luck.

It may be good to mention it to the people. You could do it by saying, "I've noticed your dogs are sometimes out running around and don't want them to get hurt. Have you considered training them or is there some way I could help?" We've had to go running after our dog when he's gotten out several times, and because there are a lot of backs of yards that run together, and trees, we lose sight of him. Perhaps they know the dogs have run out but they can't help it at times, but would appreciate a call to let them know if you've seen them. I know that doesn't solve the main problem, but it will get across the point that you notice the dogs are loose without condemning breed or owner. Also, it's always better to go to the owner directly first instead of animal control. Perhaps they don't realize you see it as a problem. If you're so concerned about the neighbor knowing you'd complain, maybe you shouldn't say anything at all. In my experience, as long as you can find a "neutral" way to approach it initially,(like concern for the dogs, first, and offering to help) it won't upset them. But doing it in secret-going behind their back-is sure to cause problems if they find out it's you. Even after you mention concern for the dogs and helping, you could mention to them that you worry about larger breeds, and voice your concerns. A lot of people do, and I don't think they'd hold it against you. And even if they do, at least you've given them a fair chance.

Calling Animal Control is the best option, in my opinion. They will locate the owners, fine them, and put them 'on report' that letting dogs run loose is not correct. You will not have to be the 'bad guy', which might occur if you tried to talk to the owners yourself. If this were an occasional instance, then I would not bother, but it seems from your post that this happens regularly.

Ask Animal Control if you can complain anonymously.

Talk to your neighbor (and your other neighbors) and voice your concern. See what the other folks have to say. Then talk to the dog owner, stating how all the neighbors feel. (a united front sometimes is better than one person complaining). And if that doesn't work, call animal control. Too many times folks over look these things then something horrible happens. People need to be responsible, of dogs, kids, ect. and the only way some folks are responsible is to be 'forced' by those around them! Your kids come first, protect them!

First, I would stop letting my cat out until this situation is resolved. Dogs who run in packs behave differently from dogs who are out singly, and your cat could be entertainment for them and end up dead. Sorry, but it's the truth. As far as reporting these dogs, you really must. I believe that you will be granted anonymity but check with the police. You are doing everybody a favor by reporting this: yourself, your child and all the children in the neighborhood, as well as the dogs themselves who could easily be hit by a car. I love dogs and am not saying that these dogs are bad, but they are being handled irresponsibly and somebody could easily get hurt. Heck, I am fully grown and I wouldn't want to be knocked over by an enthusiastic mastiff myself! When I was a kid I was knocked down by an Irish setter, who probably was just trying to play with me and lick me, but it had me down on the ground for a little while until a neighbor heard my screams and got the dog off me, and I was terrified. It was years before I was anything but scared of dogs. If your neighbor does confront you, just calmly tell her that you were worried about your kids and that you like her dogs enough not to want them to get hit by a car or schoolbus. She HAS to know she is in the wrong. If you get other neighbors to complain then the police will take it more seriously and with any luck your neighbor will, too. Good luck!

Dear L.,

It looks like you live in Silver Spring. That makes it really simple. Montgomery County MD has definite leash laws. I would call Animal Services. Your neighbors are acting irresponsibly. You are right to be concerned. Animal Services will fine the people. ###-###-####) Maybe that's the wake up call they need. Also, if their dogs are running loose they are most likely pooping all over the place, another breach of the law, another fine.


The law states:

At Large
Any dog is at large if it is outside the owner's premises and not leashed, unless it is a service dog, is in a dog exercise area designated by the Maryland National Capital park and Planning Commission, or is participating in an approved activity.

Any other animal (i.e., cat or livestock animal) is at large if it is outside the owner’s premises and not leashed or immediately responsive to verbal or non-verbal direction.

The common area of a homeowner’s association, condominium or cooperative is not the owner’s premises.
Penalty for Violation: $100 for first offense, $500 for each subsequent violation.

Unwanted Contact
The pet owner must prevent unwelcome or unsolicited threatening physical contact or close proximity to a person or a domestic animal that occurs outside the owner’s property that may cause alarm in a reasonable person, such as biting, chasing, tracking, inhibiting movement, or jumping.
Penalty for Violation: $500

Animal Defecation ("pooper scooper" law) (Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-203(a)(2)
An owner must not allow an animal to damage or defecate on property outside of the owner's property. An animal may defecate on public property or the common area of property in which the owner shares an interest if the owner immediately removes and disposes of the feces by a sanitary method approved by the Director. Feces may be picked up in a plastic bag. If this bag is placed inside another plastic bag, it may be put out for disposal in your normal household trash.
Penalty for Violation - $100

Animal Trespass (Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-203(a)(3)
An owner must not allow an animal to enter private property without the property owner's permission.
Penalty for Violation - $100

Good luck to you!

If you live in a city there are laws in place about pet owners allowing their dogs to bark or roam. If you live in an agriculture area there is usually nothing you can do about dog behavior. Our next door neighbor had a big mastiff. It has attacked me twice when I walked down the road in front of their house. 3 strikes and your out! If it attacks me again I'm calling the police. But today when I was out for my walk it came up to the road barking at me. I told it to go home and picked up some rocks. I made it look like I was going to throw the rocks and the dog backed away. I determined that I am not going to let that dog rule my life. If I want to walk down the road I have a right to do so. I fear the dog but I'm trying to conquer my fears or at least sound tough so the dog will back down. I understand your concern. Unfortunately some people are not responsible pet owners. Perhaps you could voice your conserns to your neighbor. Ask lots of questions to get them thinking about others. AF

Hi L.,
I am also a big dog owner, and I would never want my two danes running around our neighborhood loose. You need to call animal control. If you want to go ask your neighbors about it first, that's fine, but animal control needs to be called immediately, both for the safety of the people in the neighborhood and for the dogs, really. Also, if you don't want to call AC quite yet, you can always try to get in touch with a local Bullmastiff rescue or an all-breed rescue if you don't have one. Even if you do call AC, it would be nice if you called the rescue group that way they know a dog is possibly in the shelter and they can comeget it to rehome it. But you definitely need to call AC. These are not responsible owners and these dogs are going to get hurt or possibly hurt someone. Good luck.

My first thought is CALL! Better to piss off a neighbor than to let a child be harmed. Make the call anonymously. There must be other neighbors who are thinking about this too.
I called Animal Control once and have NEVER been sorry that I did it. The dog was vicious and got loose outside and chased me. Luckily - it was me and not a child and I had the presence of mind to handle the situation correctly and not get biten by the dog. I was terrified and I can imagine how a little child would have felt in this situation. One call to animal control took care of the problem.

I think it's important to try speaking with the neighbor first. She may not realize that what to her are sweet dogs are to others large, intimidating beasts that are capable of killing an adult. She also may not be aware of local laws about loose dogs - take some time to look them up for yourself before you talk to her.

If the dogs continue to get out, then call Animal Control. You have to call them when the dogs are loose - if they don't see the dogs out of the yard there's not much they can do.

I would go to your neighbor before calling Animal Control but if even once after you speak to them you see it happen again then call Animal Control. Also, if you have not done so please educate your child on how to behave around dogs if they are ever confronted with an unsafe situation (don't RUN from them etc). I own a large breed dog and make sure that my dog is confined or leased at all times but I know that a lot of people do not. Beacuse we own a large dog I have realized that it is even more important for us to educate our daughter on proper behavior around strange dogs b/c she has no fear of them. Also, if the laws are the same in all areas (which I do not know) then the 1st two calls to Animal Control can be annonoymous but after that it becomes a court case and you will have to testify or drop the case and complaints. I know this from experience of having a neighbor who was not taking proper care of their animal in which Animal Control had to be involved.

Best Wishes!

First of all, is there a leash law?
If there is, that's all you need.
Call the dog officer and tell him that they are loose and that you are concerned. You don't have to tell him that you are concerned about the dog biting... just tell him you are concerned - busy intersection, school bus, pack mentality, yada yada yada...

He'll get the picture.

Call animal services.

One neighbor had a pit bull mix that was always loose. I didn't think much of it until one day while my husband & I were walking with our toddler and small dog, the neighbor's dog followed us and was being very aggressive, especially toward our dog.

Prior to that, the neighbor's dog had cornered a small boy in our neighborhood. Luckily for the boy, my friend drove by and scooped scooped the boy into her car. Can you imagine what could have happened had my friend not passed by? The boy was literally frozen with fear b/c the dog, showing his teeth, was circling him and sniffing him.

And shortly before that, the dog had attacked another neighbor's dog as she was taking a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood.

When it's a matter of safety, especially when young children are involved, it's better to be safe than sorry. And I, for one, will not hesitate to alienate a neighbor who can't seem to control his dangerous animal.

It's been about a year, and since I (and others for that matter) called animal services, I haven't seen the dog since.

BTW - I'm not a pit bull or bull mastiff hater either. But there are certain breeds that need extra attention and training b/c of their breeding. So anyone who's not willing to take the time to train and care for certain breeds should not own them.

Hello L.,I find that we all live in our own world, and sometimes dont notice how our choices or way of living is different, and sometimes uncomfortable to those around us. Find out what the facts or laws are pertaining to the county and state laws of owning an animal and how many.Go online or call your local animal control or SPCA. I suggest you talk with your neighbors, in a calm non-threating tone about your concerns. Be part of the solution and not the problem...good luck.

Don’t feel bad or guilty just call the police. They will give you Animal Controls number, who will come out and give them a ticket or take the dog away. If the dogs are gone by the time they come out, keep the number handy and call again next time. You never know what will set a dog off, do not take a chance. It is the law not to have dogs out without a leash. The same thing happened in my neighborhood. Nice dog, but some kids are scared of dogs. This dog got out all the time and would come down to the elementary bus stop, some kids liked him others were scared, which really is not the point. Also, who wants to pick up another dogs poop? I went to my neighbor’s house three times to speak with them, the third time they would not answer the door. The warden came and they took the dog away (I did feel a little bad for the dog). The next week an electrical fence went up and everyone is happy.

Before you call Animal Control go to your neighbor and speak to them nicely most people will understand. I for one have 2 dogs and they got out one day and were bothering the neighbors (nothing bad happen) but I was new to the neighborhood. They came to me and were very nice about it to let me know what was going on. I appreciate them telling me first because I don't want my dogs getting them self in trouble. Than I went and picked up my dogs. I now get along great with my neighbors.

L., OMG!!! To heck with the neighbors, this is NOT a good situation at all!! Everytime you see the dogs out, call animal control!!! If you don't do something now, it could be too late. Would you rather have upset neighbors or NOT have your child? If these neighbors are not responsible enough to keep them LOCKED up when they are not supervising in the yard, and where they couldn't get out if the child opened the fence, they have no business having them at all. Mastif and pit owner have to be more cautious of their dogs then most. And like you said about them now having a pit bull in the mix... they have become a pack and are more likly to attack something or someone. If a child falls to the ground, they could take advantage of the situation and attack. Make these neighbors take responsiility or get rid of the dogs. Maybe if they get a warning from animal control, they will do something to fix the situation.

If you want to talk to your neighbor first, please try the approach that you are concerned for the safety of her dogs, instead of putting her on the defensive that the dogs might be dangerous (I know, dogs are different in packs, but the gentle approach might be more effective). You could also appeal to her pocketbook, because if the dogs are pure-breds, they could be targeted by dognappers. You might want to keep a log of all the times you have seen the dogs running loose, with specific times and dates, so you can show her (or Animal Control) how often it really happens.

If being nice doesn't work, then call Animal Control. I wouldn't let the dogs getting loose happen over and over, call Animal Control the next time you see the dogs loose after talking to the neighbor. Once again, you are thinking not only of the safety of people and other animals, but of the dogs in question, too, in case there is any recrimination.

And keep your cat inside. The birds will thank you for it, and she'll live longer

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