Nosy Neighbours

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The City of Lethbridge phoned us yesterday to report that a neighbour, who wished to be anonymous, complained our dog , Apollo, barks constantly during the day.

Yes, the neighbour complained of noise in the middle of the afternoon.

Apparently, he has been keeping a tally of when Apollo barks. He gave dates and time periods, yet did not give a specific frequency of barking during those times, just that he barked constantly.

Apollo hardly barks. For example, yesterday his first bark wasn’t until 13:45 in the afternoon. When he does bark, it’s single barks every 30 seconds or so, over 2-4 minutes. Our children make more noise than he does.

Several things irritate me about this situation.

First, this neighbour is extrapolating him numbers, and he gets the benefit of the doubt.

Second, it’s somewhat unnerving that someone is spying into our backyard.

Third, this neighbour hides behind anonymity to avoid confrontation. It’s likely the same person who claimed in an anonymous letter in our mailbox recently that Apollo kept him up all night with his barking, another exaggeration.

Finally, two of our immediate neighbours have not complained, and they claimed they rarely hear Apollo barking.

Sigh.

31 thoughts on “Nosy Neighbours

  1. You know we had someone with a noise problem, we confronted them nicely and they freaked out. Made things a lot worse, so now we always just call the cops or whatnot to deal with it. People are too sensitive.

    Not sure what your dog laws are, but in Florida they do come out and observe conditions before you get fined. We had a bonehead next door whose dog would bark and bark. She would deny it of course, then again she hit the bottle pretty hard so it is doubtful she even heard the poor dog barking.

  2. If this neighbour had come to our door and had the courage to speak to us in person we would not have ‘freaked out’. We would have discussed this in a mature and responsible manner. Another unnerving this is that this neighbour is watching our moves, knows when I leave the house (which is sporadic, I am a stay at home homeshooling mother, I don’t have specific hours when I am in and out) and if Apollo did bark constantly I would be WAY more irritated than this neighbour since I don’t like constant barking and if he starts it up we stop him.

    So this person is watching our home, our children and actually entered our yard to give a description of our dog, since he is in the backyard and you can’t see him clearly. SO that amounts to trespassing on private property. We suspect this person lives in a care home, 2 doors down and wouldn’t see when Kim takes him out for a walk, since he uses the back alley, and it is already dark out, or becoming dark when he does. You can’t see Apollo from the street as he is never in the front yard and we have high fences as well as a dog run along the side. You would actually have to enter our yard to see him.

    What bothers me is that this person is watching us, my children as they play, our family as we leave or come home. I have no idea if this person is just a nosy busybody who hates dogs, or has some issue against us. The security of my children is of primary importance. I don’t like the idea of being secretly watched. What if she decides she doesn’t like how loud my children are playing? They, and Apollo have a right to freedom in our own, private property. If this person was upfront and honest I would be less wary, but right now I am rather concerned we are being watched in a secret manner, and with young children that is very alarming. And we do have witnesses to prove she is way over exaggerating. One neighbour who says our children are louder than the dog (which I can certainly attest to).

  3. Four of the rooms in the care home on the second floor have a clear view of our backyard, so if they are in one of those rooms, they wouldn’t need to come in our yard to see what he looks like.

  4. Well I know. But they are spying. And THAT I don’t like. They know when I leave and come home?? It’s not easy unless you are watching almost constantly!

  5. Sorry, I’m on your neighbors side. We have a neighbor who’s dog ‘rarely barks’. It only has to bark once an hour to completely ruin a good night sleep. Maybe your neighbor has a night job. Dog owners who think their dog doesn’t bother others because it doesn’t bother them are just bad neighbors. Sorry, I’m totally on your neighbors side. We have neighbors just like you in Utah. Please learn that people don’t love your dog and that even minor barking at night can be very disturbing.

  6. When the garage was being built on to our house the old lady across the street told us that the old lady next door was watching the workers constantly through the window with a pair of binoculars. How did she know? Well she was watching her with her own binoculars! Only ten more years until the AARP sends me a membership and a free pair of binoculars, that way I can begin being a nosy neighbor too.

  7. AppleK,

    Our neighbour lives in a care home. She sits at her window all day.

    I never said it doesn’t bother others. But ask my neighbours immediately next to me, and they will all tell you they rarely hear him bark. They’ve told me this very thing.

    The complainant lives on the second story of a brick building, which is separated from my house by two other houses, a parking lot, and several large trees. Somehow she can hear barking those next to my house do not.

    And there’s no doubt in my mind that she doesn’t love my dog. Not a single doubt at all.

  8. And as far as loving the dog, one main reason we have him is because of people who use our yard as a thoroughfare and oh, steal my laundry hanging on the line. I hear dogs barking all the time, it doesn’t bother me and I am NOT a dog person. I wish them fine, I just am not a lover of dogs. But I don’t spend all my time focusing on dogs barking and disturbing me or others.

    You also don’t know what type of neighbours we are. We respect others, and are friendly and respectful. We only ask for the same.

  9. If they are spying on you, why not post a sign in your yard expressing your appreciation for the person who reported you. Cardboard, a sharpie and a wooden stake could make for some interesting hijinks.

  10. Hi Kim and Mary,

    Just a thought: I wouldn’t chance talking directly with my neighbors about their barking dog unless I already had a good friendship with them. There are all sorts out there, and perhaps this person has had a bad experience before. Using the city as the mediator seems a good way to let you know, actually.

    I’ve lived next to people with noisy dogs as a brand-new mother, with a baby who I desperately wanted to nap during the afternoon, and whether it’s neighbor kids or barking dogs, everyone deserves peace no matter what hour it is.

  11. Ashley

    Our dog doesn’t bark as much as this person says. Other neighbours have attested to as much. It’s one person who is watching us, and our dog and I worry for my children’s safety because of this.

  12. Smokers just don’t seem to get how their smoking might not bother one person, but be completely intolerable to another.

    It’s totally annoying to have someone complain, no question. But unless you suspect some sort of weird personal vendetta, I think you have to accept that it really is causing a problem for someone. They might well be exaggerating that problem in order to try to get a result, but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem.

  13. This is the only neighbour (who does not live immediately next to us) who has complained that there is a problem. No one else seems to hear what she hears.

    The problem would be that she needs a hobby to take up her time more, rather than watching the moves of her neighbours.

    And my issue is that someone is surreptitiously observing our moves, when we leave and come home (and my schedule is erratic. I homeschool) and is likely watching my children play in their own back yard. That I find alarming for their safety.

  14. Um….

    Dogs bark.

    Let the city come and observe your dog. If they say it’s a problem, then deal with it. If it’s not a problem, they’ll tell your stalker to deal with it.

  15. “It’s one person who is watching us, and our dog and I worry for my children’s safety because of this.”

    When I first read this I thought,”Since when do dogs worry? And more importantly how did you know about it?” :)

  16. I worry about the safety of my children as someone seems to be watching our movements on a regular basis. I don’t like being (or my children being) constantly watched by strangers.

  17. The comment was more of a question about the position of the comma than a request for clarification, Mary.

    “It’s one person who is watching us, and our dog and I worry for my children’s safety because of this.”

    Sounds like the dog and you are doing the worrying, whereas

    “It’s one person who is watching us and our dog, and I worry for my children’s safety because of this.”

    Sounds like the person is watching you and your dog and you’re doing the worrying.

    Kim got it.

  18. That is so silly and One reason why I won’t have a dog. My parents got into trouble once because their dog bit a neighbors kid who was hitting the dog and pulling it’s ears.

  19. I am not a dog lover, but we need to have a dog for security reasons. We live close to downtown, have had trespassers come through our yard (regularly) laundry stolen and I want my children to be safe, playing in their own property. Apollo makes it safer for them and us. Kim loves Apollo, so does Regan. Aisling sort of does (well maybe she does) and Sinéad tolerates him. But the main point is, he is a dog who deserves to talk sometimes!

  20. Ha, I once had an elderly neighbor who spied with his binoculors as well. But luckily he liked us and actually watched out for us in a high crime neighborhood.

    As for dogs, most neighborhoods I have lived in have had barking dogs. It’s one of those constants in life you just can’t get too worked up about, especially not during the day. Generally I am just glad if the dog is properly confined, since my son was once bitten by an aggressive dog for doing nothing other than venturing near the property line while in a public park.

    As for sleeping, I have discovered an excellent solution your neighbor should know about. It’s a box-fan turned up to the highest speed. There is no better white noise. Perhaps you could inform your spying neighbor of this simple solution with the method Rick suggested!

  21. You guys have every right to have an outside dog and this neighbor has every right to complain about it. The city I live has laws for noise and peace. Find out what the law is and stay within the confines of this law and you will have nothing to worry about except maybe an unfriendly neighbor. The problem I have with this post is your complaint about the way your neighbor handled this. Your neighbor did nothing wrong. Everything else your saying is pure speculation. The way your acting proves to me that if your neighbor did confront you in person, he or she would have gotten no resolve. You would have defended your dog, as you have in this post, and nothing would have changed. It does not matter if you did this peacefully or not, that is not the point, the bottom line is that this person doesn’t want to hear that dog bark. There is no question that the dog barks. Your immediate neighbors have nothing to do with this complaint. You cannot justify having a barking dog outside just because you and your closest neighbors are not bothered. Only the laws of the land can justify you. Find them out. Live accordingly.

  22. The neighbour wouldn’t confront us because we wouldn’t accept her exaggerations as readily as Animal Control does, but we’d be more than willing to discuss civilly the issue with her.

  23. My concern is that (and this isn’t speculation it is based on the evidence) she is watching what we do, when we go out, when my children play in our back yard; and it concerns me that someone is watching our moves and most importantly my children.

    Also, this is not a “closest” neighbour. Our closest neighbours hardly hear him barking at all.

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