L.B. asks from Silver Spring, MD on February 12, 2009
Dogs Running Loose Part 2 - Silver Spring,MD
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. After reporting the neighbor and getting a case number, 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.
In addition, another neighbor called the head of our Neighborhood Watch and gave him my name and address after observing the mastiffs rooting through my recycling bin on my carport and watching me taking the dogs home so that my 6 year old could safely walk to his bus stop. She called me to tell me she had reported the incident to the Neighborhood Watch. She also gave me the number of the man who heads the program and asked me to call him and confirm the incident. When I talked to this gentleman, 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?
P.G. answers from Washington DC on February 13, 2009
Please heed every word and sentiment of Lori V's reply to you! I could not have said it better. She is both a dog owner and lover, but also a responsible citizen. She realizes these roles can sometimes be at cross purposes, and which supersedes the other at ALL times!!
But of course put your comments in writing; the neighbor probably assumes you already have so there is really no downside! MoCo has a huge problem with dogs...primarily their owners who are either completely negligent or (nearly as bad) feel these aminals are to be treated as human children. Parks and restaurants and public places are routinely overrun. Many of us residents object to tax dollars now being used for recreational parks just for dogs. However for years I had to call to get signage placed on a favorite park area because dog owners put their dogs in kiddie swings, and on slides, smearing feces where toddlers would then sit to play, and allowing their dogs to defecate in the mulch under the equipment or growl menacingly at each other and "socialize" near the playing tiny children. It was a thoroughly ridiculous situation. The best responses came from the County Health dept, however, so if you have a situation where that office can be involved in a dog issue, I highly commend their actionable efficiency. Good luck!
L.V. answers from Washington DC on February 13, 2009
Put the complaint in writing. As the parent of many dogs, I have had to call (not write...but they are probably putting all the information in order for an anticipated battle) animal control on others. It was uncomfortable, but my children were not safe. The lady was really pissed, but too bad, we are talking child safety here. One of my own dogs snapped at a little boy in the neighborhood and I told my kids that if it happened again, she would have to go. Of course it did, I took her to the MC shelter to find a new home. They put her down because she went berserk at the shelter and the staff was afraid of her. I was crushed, BUT, it proved that she was unstable and possibly dangerous. You must protect yourself and your kids. Fill out the form and stand up for what is right. Others will be grateful.
Good Luck, L.
S.K. answers from Washington DC on February 13, 2009
Oh boy, what a mess...and not of your doing. I feel for you, having been in dormitory situations where the music shakes the walls and you seem to be the only one who cares.
But in this case, at least you're not alone. It's been observed by others that the dogs are out of control. If I were a lawyer, I would probably tell you that there's nothing anyone can do without written accounts by witnesses. But if a few of your neighbors are doing that or willing to do that, the dog people can't target you specifically. Maybe get the neighborhood watch to start a petition about the dogs and find out how many are bothered by it? That way it's not YOU, it's everyone.
I would be uncomfortable too, but if it's the only way to make your neighborhood safe again, you might have to bite the bullet and get it done. These people don't believe that there's anything wrong with their dogs or the way they're being handled ("they wouldn't hurt a fly!"), they need to be TOLD by authority.
We have neighbors who think it's fine for their rottweiler to be out barking constantly for eight hours at a time in 20 degree weather; no shelter and their water is frozen....I "smell what you're stepping in".
Good luck with it. Remember, petition. Might work.
K.L. answers from Washington DC on February 13, 2009
As an attorney, I can tell you that if they are asking you to put it in writing, that means they are taking your complaint seriously and need to document the occurence, possibly for legal action. It doesn't do much good to complain, if they are not going to follow up and do something about it. They need to make sure you are on-board with your story and are not going to back out later or change your mind about pursuing it.