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My neighbour's dogs and their living conditions

Page purpose: Originally I set this page up (in July 2022) in order to convey pictures of the disgusting state that my neighbour allows her back yard to get into (due to it being the toilet space for her—then—four dogs); then it morphed into something of a near-daily log when it looked like things were improving; however that didn't last long, and by Spring 2023 the noise nuisance and state of the yard had more or less returned to what it was in 2022 when originally written. Then in May 2023 one of the dogs died suddenly, and this had an immediate effect on one source of noise nuisance: it was clear the one dog would express its dominance over the others by barking loudly during the morning feeding ritual, and literally within two days of the other dog's passing, this stopped, as presumably the noisy dog now no longer felt threatened by the deceased dog. Then about 6 weeks later this dog also died, leaving just the two which are the main source of the continuing noise nuisance. As of mid-March 2024, she is now back up to three dogs—apparently she has convinced another rescue charity to let her take another one on. (I can only suppose that they didn't do a 'home visit' to check that the house was suitable, but relied on the owners word for it that she 'knows what she is doing'.)

Thus previously I had expanded the page to include more background information on the overall state of affairs, in the hope that it might end up in the sight of someone who actually has the power and ability to do something about it, i.e. to get the dogs looked after properly/responsibly and to improve both their living conditions and those of the wider neighbourhood, especially a reduction in the level of noise nuisance (such would also help from the point of view of general passers-by of the property, by not being startled by an outburst of loud and aggressive barking whilst passing, or having to endure the stench that often emanates from the place). There are about ten parties who are concerned about the welfare of the dogs, and/or the noise they generate: the Environmental Health department of the local council don't think the noise nuisance, when it occurs, is prolonged enough to warrant further action being taken against her, and since the stench from the yard doesn't really reach our neighbouring properties internally, they have no ability to do anything on that score; it is my understanding that the RSPCA (who are known to have also visited), whilst they may have witnessed the disgusting conditions that the yard is generally in, cannot act unless there are clear signs of abuse or neglect.

The dogs: She (now) has three noisy and unruly Weimaraner rescue dogs (up until Jun 2023, it had been four). In an end-of-terrace house of such small size, this is probably at least one too many dogs (not my assessment, but that of one of the charities through which she got a couple of the dogs). She has only a very basic control over them, mostly just shouting at them with increasing volume when they don't respond as required. The dogs are never taken out for exercise, all they have is a small yard, which I estimate to be equivalent of about 13 feet square (it is actually L-shaped). One of the dogs has a heart murmur, which presumably means rigorous exercise is not so good for it, and my suspicions are that the owner uses this as a simple excuse not to exercise any of them, which to me appears to be wilful neglect.

As they are never taken out, their only toilet space is the small yard. This in itself is not necessarily an issue, were it not for the fact that it is rarely cleaned from one week to the next, meaning that for much of the time it is completely covered in dog faeces, as the many photos below testify. (Over the last five years the only time I have seen any of the dogs taken out—other than for vets/kennels/shopping—was when one of them seemingly refused to go to the toilet in the yard, probably because it was so full of mess.) Because the dogs are cooped up all day in the small house/small yard, they are clearly very bored, and crave any sort of stimulation that they can get, resulting in their frequent barking at people/children/dogs/cars/etc. that pass the gate to the yard (sometimes this is every 10 or 15 minutes, over a period of many hours). On numerous occasions when the owner has been out they have raided recycling bins, and even the owner's work desk, and then proceeded to chew and shred whatever they find, just for something to do. (Previously they were also frequently observed to eat a lot of their own faeces, also a sign of boredom, stress or anxiety I believe, but this has lessened with the passing of the two dogs in the first half of 2023.)

One of the dogs clearly has separation anxiety issues: often as soon as the owner closes her back door and before she has driven off in her car, the dog is likely to bark, howl and whine pitifully. If they are left outside access to the yard this generates considerable noise nuisance for near neighbours; if restricted to the house, she can often be heard running around inside in a distressed state, sometimes goading the other dogs into barking along too, thus increasing the noise nuisance, and sometimes alarming casual passers-by who often look up in dismay at the window(s) where the poor dog may share its plight with the world (this has resulted in the RSPCA being called out on at least one occasion). The only apparent attempt by the owner to resolve these issues has been to try and physically restrict the movements of the dogs within the property, to try and reduce the amount of sound escaping from it (thus there appears to have been no attempt at proper behavioural training to resolve these issues—they surely can't be the only dogs on the planet to exhibit such issues?)

On a more positive note, the dogs are apparently well fed and in reasonable health (what they came from may have been much worse), but it is exceedingly frustrating that their more emotional/well-being needs are being so badly neglected.

Photographs of the yard: BE WARNED, they are not pretty!

Please don't click through to the bigger images if you are about to eat, or have just eaten, or might be upset by the sight of huge piles of dog faeces!

Older pictures are at the bottom of the page, with newer ones being added from the top.

The dogs started more forcibly intruding their way into my life in 2019, when I started spending more time at home. It would have been the realisation that the dogs never left the house, probably coupled with the smell, that made me investigate the state of the yard, especially since it became clear that it was only being cleaned every few weeks. This remained the normal state of affairs until around mid July 2022, when I first produced this page. However, around about that same time she apparently started making more of an effort to clean it daily, which was an encouraging sign that she might be bucking her ideas up a bit. However after a few weeks this lapsed into merely a daily sweeping of the mess into one big pile, and that is when I started taking pictures of it more regularly, just to keep a record. (In mid August 2022 I learned that the cause of this new-found cleanliness was likely a visit from the RSPCA: two of the dogs actually started fighting—the owner was out at the time—and the noise was so horrendous and distressing it brought a number of my neighbours out on to the street, and during the ensuing conversation I learned that another party had been so concerned over the state of the dogs about three weeks previously that the RSPCA had been called, and I know from yet another source that they paid at least one visit to her.) As of about May 2023 things lapsed back completely to how it was before, i.e. the yard is at best cleaned only every two weeks—sometimes the gap is even longer.

Sporadic, and occasionally near-daily, snaps of the yard:

(First across the row is Monday except where noted, with most recent pics at the top: until about the 5th Sep 2022, the yard was generally being cleared either Monday or Tuesday ahead of Tuesday's fortnightly refuse collection—since then it appears we are back to the old ways.)

Pretty much as the previous batch of photos in Nov 23, whenever I hear scraping coming from her yard it is not to pick the muck up, but often merely to move it into a pile and create space for more. The pic of the 12th Mar was over a week after I heard scraping, and one of the resulting piles is visible to the right of the shovel; the second pic, four days later, shows the pile is largely still there, plus a good deal more.
12 & 16 Mar 2024:
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I have not been bothering with regular pictures of the state of the yard for many months as its condition is so predictable. However recently, on looking out for the cause of some other disturbance, I was quite taken aback by just how bad the yard was—how she is willing to put up with having to navigate around this lot whenever she goes out into the yard is quite beyond me; over a week later, 11th, and it has still not been cleaned; yesterday I heard scraping of the shovel, but it has still not been picked up—all that was done was to move it into a larger pile, pic of 14th...
2, 11 & 14 Nov 2023:
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This was taken just before the scaffolding was taken down, and gave confirmation of something I had suspected for some time, i.e. that before she actually picks the stuff up off the yard she sweeps/scrapes it into several large piles, this one being out of sight from my usual view from the front.
10 Apr 2023:
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I've not been taken regular photos recently as the cleaning routine is so infrequent. However I currently have scaffolding around my house which gives a bird's eye view of the yard, which is rather unpleasant to behold—these pics are from different levels on the scaffold, and I'm including them both as the one from higher up shows a horrid big pile of the stuff in the bottom left-hand corner. (The last time I was aware it was cleaned was on 20 Dec 2022.)
13 Jan 2023:
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We then had another approx. two week's accumulation, to the 13th Nov when it was finally shovelled up and added to the bag. The pile was by then quite big again, as seen in the pic of the 12th (some of which had lain there since around the 16th Oct). On this occasion I was also able to confirm what I had suspected, that there was another pile out of my line of sight, which was two good shovelfuls, i.e. it was at least as big as the pile I could see.
12 & 13 Nov 2022:
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There may have been a cleaning session around the 16th Oct, but then the dogs were in kennels for a fortnight (16-30 Oct) whilst the owner was away; she returned briefly on the middle weekend (21-23, but no dogs), when at some point there must have been a sweeping-up session, as the pile is quite big again on the 25th.
25 Oct 2022:
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Then there is an apparent return to the old habit of infrequent cleaning of the yard, only when it has gotten really bad—there is a three-and-a-half week gap to the next cleaning session. First pic on 12 Oct shows how bad it got; then the following day it was cleared (apart from that day's deposits), and note the appearance of the bag at centre-left, which appears to contain the shovelled-up faeces.
12 & 13 Oct 2022:
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The next cleaning appeared to have been the following week, on the 18th.
18 Sep 2022:
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In the first pic of this sequence, for the first time we see that the mess isn't removed prior to the bin collection the following day; and again the pics for 5, 6 & 7 all look like the mat hasn't been touched; then on the 9th it was confirmed that there were clearly other piles of mess not visible from my viewing point, as I heard/observed the owner scraping it into a bag, and then adding what was under the mat into the bag, and then the bag and the mat was all bundled into her wheelie bin.
5, 6, 7, 9 Sep 2022:
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In the two pics on 2nd and that on the 3rd, piles of mess have come and gone, but it doesn't look like the pile under the mat has been disturbed, suggesting that either the dogs have eaten it all, or that there is another pile out of sight of my viewing point.
29, 30, 31 Aug & 2(9am), 2(12:30pm), 3 Sep 2022:
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New tactics at 26th (fourth pic): a few weeks prior several mats were bought for the dogs to lie out on in the yard (see for example 10 Aug photo); one got badly chewed within days, and here one has been placed over the pile of mess, I presume in an attempt to prevent the dogs eating so much of it.
22, 24, 25, 26, 28 Aug 2022:
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15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 Aug 2022:
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8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Aug 2022:
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1, 2, 3, 4 ,7 Aug 2022:
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25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 Jul 2022:
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Weds 20, 21, 23, 24 Jul 2022:
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State of the yard typical of the infrequent cleaning regime:

On 6 June 2022:

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The dogs are frequently to be seen eating their own faeces, as they are very bored. Here is Kaiser (d. May 23) with his nose in a pile of the stuff (11 June 2022):

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Here are the previous four, probably looking for some sort of stimulation. From left to right: Tilly, Miya, Kaiser (d. May 23) and Florence (d. Jun 23):

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To show this isn't an isolated occurrence, here it is on 13 Feb 2020:

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And on 2 Sept 2019:

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And around the time I became aware things were starting to get really bad, 27 Aug 2019:

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[Page last updated: 07 Apr 2024]