If you’re a dog lover like my family, you’ve probably welcomed a few of these four-legged furbabies into your home. They wag their way into your heart, which shatters into a million pieces when tragedy strikes. It hurts even worse when a neighbor you thought was safe ends up being the one to destroy your family member.
It never occurred to me that a neighbor would kill my dog, even though I’m not a novice dog owner. My family adopted my first dog when I was 10. He was a Boston Terrier and Wire-Haired Terrier mix named Pepper. We lived in a suburban area with chain-linked fences and he was never allowed outside the front door (except to go to the vet). He lived to the ripe old age of 16. I just assumed that my dogs would also experience nice, long lives.
Unfortunately, not everyone values the lives of our beloved family pets, including gun-brandishing neighbors and vehicle wielding drivers.
To prevent abuse by neighbors (and to keep your dog out of the street), follow these steps.
1. The first line of defense is a good fence.
Make sure you have an area of your yard fenced so that your dog can leave your house and go directly into that area. The fence needs to be tall enough to prevent your dog from jumping over. You’ll also need to keep some dog toys in the yard to keep him occupied so he won’t be so inclined to dig out. If you live in the city or a suburban area, your existing fence may suffice, provided it is tall enough to prevent your dog from jumping over and fits snugly against the ground for those who like to dig.
If you live in the country, like we do, you may need to fence off a portion of your yard to keep your dog safe when you’re not outside with him.
Also, make sure you’ve trained your dog to stay in the house when someone leaves by another door, unless invited to go outside. You can also make sure to put your dog in his yard before you leave by any other doors.
2. The second line of defense is obedience training.
My husband found out the hard way with one of our first dogs, Sassy, that a good fence doesn’t help if your dog is waiting for an opportunity to run out the front door. Training your dog to understand that you’re the leader and to follow your instructions, even when the front door is wide open, may be all the stands between him and the crazy neighbor (or the car barreling down the road).
3, The third line of defense: Location, location, location…
When my husband and I lived on the highway in the McLoud area, four dogs died in front of our neighbor’s house. The first dog, a puppy named J.D., belonged to the neighbor. He was not kept in a fence, and often came to our house to play. One day, I was looking out the front window of our living room when I saw J.D. dragging something across the highway that ran right in front of our houses. I was trying to figure out what he was dragging when suddenly a semi ran right over him. I was shocked. I ran outside crying. My husband went next door to tell the neighbor. The semi driver stopped and apologized profusely.
I was still bawling.
The neighbor came out and dragged J.D.’s body to the other side of the road and left him.
Sometime after that, the neighbor got another Rottweiler mix and named him J.D. Then he moved and left J.D., who got him by a car and hid out under our house yowling in pain. We finally coaxed him out from under the house and took him to our local vet, who checked him and made sure he did not have any broken bones. Then told us to give him some Aspirin for the pain.
My husband worked with a lady who had just lost her beloved Rottweiler to cancer, so we gave J.D. #2 to her. The last we heard, he was riding around with her every where she went and hanging out with the cows on the farm.
A few months later, new neighbors moved in with their two dogs. Those dogs got out of the fence one day and went to investigate the interesting smell on the other side of the highway — and both were hit and killed. Sometime after this, our dog jumped the fence and got hit by a car.
After that, we remembered the first J.D. and my husband went and buried him properly.
While these methods are not foolproof (or even psycho neighbor proof) they will go a long way in helping you protect your four-legged family members.
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