What can be done about neighbour’s dog poop?

| 22/03/2016

My neighbour’s dog keeps coming and taking a poop in my yard. You think it all right for me to just throw it back over there, or is that not right?

Auntie’s answer: Well, my first reaction is if you are actually willing to pick up the poop and toss it over the fence, then more power to you. I guess that would depend on whether you are a dog owner and used to handling Fido’s excrement all the time. But, if you aren’t, then maybe there are some other, more palatable, options for you.

Let me just say, however, that I perfectly understand how annoying and downright disgusting it would be to walk out of your front door and step in a pile of you know what. Not a great start to your day, despite the old superstition that messing up your good shoes with dog doo means good luck.

So, what to do? In the interest of maintaining good relations with your neighbour, I would suggest starting off by going over and talking to him or her. No matter how irritated you are (because, if the dog is off the lead, then the owner should, of course, realise that the animal will be making deposits all over the neighbourhood), try to be pleasant. Make your case for responsible pet ownership and for your neighbour to come up with a way that the dog will not be allowed to roam freely. Perhaps common sense – and good neighbourliness – will prevail.

Having said that, not everyone will be that concerned with getting along with the people next door and down the street, so your polite request may be ignored. In that case, let’s look at more official options.

In Part VII of the Animals Law (2015 Revision), titled “Nuisance by, and Control of, Animals”, there is a section on “Fouling by Dogs”. But, while it specifically refers to the offence of allowing a dog to defecate in a public place, there is nothing about private residences, so I turned to Brian Crichlow, Assistant Director of the Department of Agriculture, for help.

He said that Section 43 on “fouling by dogs” specifies in a public place, which does not address private yards. He offered up Section 57 instead which, he explained, “relates to trespass of animals and the right of the land owner to seize any animal that is trespassing on his/her property and turn that animal over to the pound”.

That seemed a bit extreme and Crichlow then wisely suggested the police might best be able to advise, especially regarding any other relevant nuisance regulations, so I contacted the RCIPS. And here’s the thing: Despite the annoyance factor, a neighbour’s dog doing his or her business in your yard is not an offence for which someone can be arrested. But I am sure you won’t be surprised to learn that the police “respond to such calls frequently”, says an RCIPS spokesperson, who added that one inspector said general complaints about dogs is a “regular problem on the island” and includes such things as barking in addition to the said pooping.

When they respond to one of these calls, the police tell the dog owner he or she is required under the law to control their animal. They usually advise the person complaining that there are civil remedies to the problem, but they also try to defuse the situation by “helping the two parties come to some kind of understanding”.

But if there are “aggravating features, such as a dog that causes fear or alarm, we may initiate a police investigation”, says the spokesperson.

So, what have we learned? Well, while it is illegal for someone not to control their animal or possibly have them scare the poop out of you, things are not that clear about a dog expelling his own poop.

It appears that you have little official recourse for this specific circumstance. Though no one wants to see the situation turn ugly, I guess I would have to say that, if talking doesn’t solve the problem and you do not fear any reprisals or escalations (after all, how could your neighbour actually know if the poop was deposited in the yard by their dog or airmailed back?) then, I’m thinking, return the poop from whence it came.


Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I can understand dogs which do not have a home or owner and who roam the streets and are in and out of yards.

    What I cannot understand are the owners who actually (I see this once every few days), leave their yards with their dogs, walk them down to another person’s yard, or apartment complex, allow the dog, on a leash, to shit all over the property, then walk right back down to their yard with their dog without having picked up an ounce of their own crap!


  2. Anonymous says:

    When you know they are in, put it in a small paper bag then put it on their door step,set light to the bag then knock hard on their door and run. With any luck they’ll come out and stamp it out.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ok so options are
    1. Talk to neighbour
    2. Call the pound
    3. Take neighbour to court

    I did not bother with the police part. Nothing wrong with the police. It’s just my neighbour isn’t the most friendly. So I do think calling the pound is the best option.

    Thanks for the help!

    • Anonymous says:

      The pound will do nothing, bobo, especially if the perpetrator is from a country not a million miles from here -like the officers from the pound. Ah so it go.

    • Anonymous says:

      4. Smash the little blighter very hard with an implement mid-poop. It won’t come back.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A dog ****ting on my lawn is signing its own death warrant.

    • Anonymous says:

      Then you would be guilty of animal cruelty, punishable by law. The dog knows no better, it is the owner you need to be concerned about. If it is a stray then you can catch it and take it to the pound, but you have no right to harm it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A good bird hunting catapult is an excellent means of discourage a dog from returning to your property.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t help when you have a faisty ignorant neighbour who claims the two unchained crapping but fairly decent dogs are not hers but simply stay in her yard (for years). When they disappear (frustrated people poison them), others appear. She does not look after them at all. It is compounded by the fact that she used to work for the Agriculture Department and when one complains to them about her, one runs up against two things: the people you are complaining to are (a) former colleagues (b) all Jamaican and (c) the person you are complaining about is-yes,you guessed it, – Jamaican. Church brothers/ church sisters etc etc etc. I have trapped and the animal is returned by the trappers (Jamaican). I am so sorry for the dogs she keeps getting because she does nothing to care for them and only wants them to catch iguanas in her yard because she has some half assed produce growing there. I have complained about her to Agriculture-not anonymously- but zero, nada, zilch, nothing. It’s too tough for them to deal with apparently.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the construction of a poop trebuchet might be in order. That way, you could get range as well as elevation. No, I’m not kidding. Under Customs Law, you cannot import such a tool, but since it is also not a device (catapult) that requires licensing nor registration, that implies that you can construct it yourself.

  8. Froma Foreign says:

    When the dog is in your yard it’s your property. Grill it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the biodegradable poop bothers you, be a grown up and bag it up and throw it away yourself. Poop doesn’t last more than a couple days in the tropics and shouldn’t harm your lawn. If you want to change the pattern of behavior going forward, then be a grown up and politely make your case to the dog owner in person that you would prefer they a) pick up after their pet b) not go on your property c) leash their animal going forward. Throwing dog poop back at neighbour is the first childish step towards an escalation that leads to the Cause List.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Crappy story

  11. Anonymous says:

    did this question really require an essay of an answer. with all the sh*t(pun intended)being dropped in cayman. this is the best auntie can do. i’d rather ask uncle.

  12. Anonymous says:

    From personal experience I can tell you the RCIPS will do NOTHING to help you. They have not been helpful in cases where dogs were attacking people on their own property or attacking other dogs on private/public areas. So WTH will they do about poop?

    Yes, try talking to your neighbor but in all likelihood they won’t care. IF they were good neighbors you would not be having the problem to begin with. Next solution is have the animal control people set a trap in your yard. If they capture the dog they can deal with it from there … call them weekly if you have to in order to send the message that stray dogs are not allowed on your property.

    Finally, if you are not able to get a solution from either of those – put up an invisible fence that offers a more serious deterrent option.

  13. Joe B says:

    Welcome to the third world. This society will not and can not help you. Help yourself or get used to it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The poop belongs to the owner of the dog. Toss it back over the fence and perhaps they will have a little more courtesy in the future.