Harold Hudson on Jul 13th, 2019
If you’re being driven mad by dogs pooping on your lawn, you’re not alone. Through numerous surveys homeowners have expressed that dog poop is among the top complaints they have about their neighbors.
And it’s easy to see why. There are roughly 83 million pet dogs in the United States, and only 60 percent of their owners pick up after them. That means 40% of the 10.6 million tons of dog poop produced every year — 4.2 million tons! — is left on public and private property.
According to the Georgia-based Clean Water Campaign, dog poop isn’t just an annoyance; it also poses a serious environmental and health risk.
So what can you do if your neighbors aren’t picking up after their dogs do their business on your lawn?
Discuss the Matter with the Owner
Because taking the matter directly to the dog isn’t likely to lead anywhere, your first recourse should be to bring the matter up with the owner.
As with almost all disputes between neighbors, the place to start is also the most practical and economical: have a conversation to try and clear the matter up.
To increase the likelihood of success, have the conversation on the weekend when the owner is A.) more likely have time to talk and B.) less likely to be stressed out from a hard day at work.
Protect Your Lawn
Another method to protect your lawn is by creating a barrier to keep dogs out. Your options range from expensive fences to relatively cheap options that come in a roll and can be installed yourself in a couple hours, depending on the size of your yard.
Fencing your yard with more visually appealing manner is also an option, for instance with thorny or prickly plants or shrubs, which can actually increase the value to your property.
A minimally invasive option that may be effective is to put up a sign or signs on your lawn that say “No Trespassing,” “Please Pick Up After Your Dog” or “Yard Under 24/7 Monitoring.”
Check Local Ordinances
Issues related to dog waste are almost always covered by local ordinances rather than state law. The City of Atlanta has rather strict dog laws on the books.
Not only must dog owners must pick up after their dogs and use dog bags when necessary, but dogs must be leashed at all times within the city limits except in designated off-leash dog parks. Seeing eye dogs are exempt from waste pick-up laws.
Most Metro Atlanta municipalities have similar or identical laws on the books, but you can check for yourself by searching the Municipal Code for your city here using the keyword ‘canine fecal matter’ or by contacting your city hall to learn if an ordinance is being violated, at which point you would report a code violation to the same office.
Sue for Trespassing
If the above strategies yield no results and a dog is continually trespassing on your property and causing damages, the dog’s owner may be liable for the cost of remediation or repairs. Contact an experienced attorney to learn more about your options.
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***The article has been prepared for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.