Monday, February 10, 2014

snow week, dog debacle

We'll see if it happens, but they are predicting snow today and tomorrow, ice pellets Wednesday, and more snow on Thursday. Then we warm up again!

We had a bit of a debacle here yesterday. The neighbors right next door have an adult daughter who has gotten a dog and she brings it over on weekends and lets it run loose on their property. Except (of course!) the dog is obsessed with our fence line and the horses and donkeys and since it is unleashed, has come under the fence at least one time and was charged by the pony. The owner was right there and saw it but denied that it happened.

The entire herd gets revved up and they start running. I've asked the dog's owner to consider putting the dog on a leash until it learns to come when she calls. As it is, what she is doing, which is to run alongside the dog with a stick trying to lure it away from the fence, is just teaching the dog to run the fence line, which is a huge mistake, in my opinion. I mean, let's create a dog that is an ongoing nuisance for people with horses!

Yesterday my daughter was getting ready to ride Cody when all this transpired. The parents and aunt (they are the neighbors who live there) came out and all four of them were up at the fence, in effect making it a game for the dog to try to get through. The dog was being rewarded by play when it approached the fence. The horses started running, Cody freaked out and started spinning, and the whole thing just went south.

I don't know how much more clearly I can explain to these neighbors that horses are prey animals and this kind of thing gets them worked up. We've had this discussion over the years with their other adult children and dogs, with grandchildren throwing sticks at the horses, with ridiculous tent gazebos being put up right at my fenceline, with guests coming over and trying to get the horses to come up to the fence, etc. etc. I told the dog's owner that at this point, with Salina gone, I am not as concerned about my horses, but I am concerned that the dog is going to get hurt if the pony and/or the donkeys get hold of it. And I told her that if her dog is in the pasture she is not to climb in the fence to get it because the very last thing I want is for her to get trampled by galloping horses. 

And the last thing I want to have to do is go out there and pick up a dead or injured dog and hand it to them over the fence.

I admit - it annoys me to no end to see my horses in protective herd mode. It was more stressful when Salina was here and I knew she could go down and get stuck that way. And it's clear that the donkeys have residual anxiety about that. I hate seeing them get so upset. 

At this point I feel like I have warned them, I have asked that they stop clustering near the fence (they have 10 acres!! Take the dog to the other 9.5!), and short of dog-proofing and privacy fencing that entire side of our property, I guess things will get resolved when the dog gets kicked or stomped and hopefully lives through it and learns to stay the heck away from big animals.

Huge sigh. 

A hundred acres in the middle of nowhere sounds pretty good to me right now!


Grey Horse Matters said...

That's very obnoxious. It seems like they are doing it on purpose and it's not an accident of stupidity. They don't realize their dog or one of your animals could get seriously hurt. Maybe you should post some signs on the fence just in case something does happen. Hopefully, they wouldn't be able to sue you. I'm not a lawyer but I'd check into whether or not a sign warning them off would be legal in a lawsuit. This is just an accident waiting to happen. Good luck with these morons.

billie said...

A, I am considering sending them an email and also sending it to our other neighbor across the way as a witness - so that they have been told in writing what I have said to them across the fence.

Basically the sheriff's office has told me before that in the county if a dog is chasing livestock and is on our property we have the legal right to, and should, shoot the dog. Which would be really hard to do, but if they aren't willing to keep it away from the fence, they are putting their own dog at risk as well as my equines.

They had a dog when we first moved here but she was older and never offered to come near the fence line. They aren't horse people and really don't seem to have a clue even though they live in a small neighborhood of 5 (out of 7 homes) horse farms so imo they really need to get a bit savvier about things.

I get tired of having to throw a fit to get them to listen. The last issue that came up with the red maples was handled fairly easily (though in the end they only took part of them down) b/c, I think, I emailed the entire neighborhood so that everyone got the red maple info. At that point the neighbors with the red maples on our fence line sort of had to deal with it or look bad. They certainly never acted so quickly on other issues I've had. Anyway. Worst case scenario I will put up no-climb fencing and a privacy fence/landscape combo border and just block them out of my view!

Grey Horse Matters said...

You might want to consider planting a Hawthorn hedge. Nothing can get through it and it stays in foliage. They used it in England as fences. Just a thought.

The letters are also a good idea.

billie said...

Great idea - hawthorn hedge - I'm going to look it up now.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Ugh - insensitive neighbors are such a pain. I can relate to your frustration.

Another good plant choice for a big hedge is the Russian Olive. Doubles in size every year, drought tolerant, and tasty berries + great habitat for birds.

Hoping you don't have to go out - looks like the winter onslaught is in your neck of the woods now. We got 6-8 inches yesterday. :D

billie said...

Oh, we have a volunteer russian olive in the back yard and I love it - are they okay for horses should they eat the leaves? And berries?

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Hmmm... don't think you should plant them where they can be reached and eaten - apparently they are mildly toxic to horses.