Twas the Sunday after Christmas. All was peaceful and quiet. The neighbours had gone away. How did we know that they had gone away? The infernal flashing red lights, that had adorned the front of their house since the beginning of December, had been turned off and their car was gone from the drive. Normally at this time of the year they go somewhere warm for two weeks. The peace and quiet was broken on Tuesday by their Alsatian dog's incessant barking. We put up with it for so long, then at 9 pm phoned the Police, who took our details and passed them on to the RSPCA, who then phoned us and advised us to contact the local Environmental Health office the next day.
On Wednesday morning (New Year's Eve) my husband phoned Environmental Health, who took our details and said that they would send out some forms to us and the neighbour and we were to keep a record of when the dog barked. We felt that we were going round in circles and not really getting anywhere. I decided that we would have another go phoning the RSPCA. This time my call was registered as a complaint and passed onto an inspector for possible investigation. On Wednesday afternoon my husband saw an RSPCA van outside the neighbour's house. The dog, of course, was not barking but we felt that our complaint was being taken seriously. I again contacted the RSPCA to find out what was going on. They said that we would be contacted when their investigation was completed. During the evening of New Year's Eve the dog barked non stop for five hours!
When these neighbours first got this Alsatian dog it went into kennels when they went away. Then they started to leave it 'home alone' when they went away for a few days. Neighbours or friends come round to feed the dog but its' only exercise is walking around the garden which is no more than medium size. Until November, the dog was well behaved and they got away with it. When they were away at the beginning of November the dog barked non stop for two successive evenings and for another hour starting at 4 am one morning and 2 am on the other morning. My husband complained to the neighbour and got a very casual response. I expected, rather naively, that the problem would not arise again and that the dog would in future go into kennels, when they go away. The dog lives in a kennel, in the garden, which looks like a giant rabbit hutch. It is such an attractive thing to look at from our bedroom window. I wonder what Prince Charles would think of it? Apparently there is no mattress, duvet or blanket etc for the dog. He has to sleep on a cold concrete floor. Recently the outside temperature here has gone as low as minus four degrees centigrade. The neighbour has, no doubt, been sunning himself somewhere tropical while the unfortunate dog shivers back here.
On New Year's Day we were out all day returning home about 7 pm. About an hour later our phone rang. My husband answered the phone. It was the neighbour. We assumed that he must be back home. He was aware that the RSPCA had called and assumed that it was us that had contacted the RSPCA. My husband will not tell me exactly what the neighbour had to say but he called him a sad bastard and told him to get a life. As it was me that phoned the RSPCA I suppose that I am also a sad bastard who needs to get a life. Oh and he is never going to speak to us again. We can live with that. The next morning we realised that he was not home. So either someone has contacted him to say that the RSPCA had been round or he has been viewing the recordings of the CCTV cameras on his house while on holiday. How sad is that?
On Friday I phoned the Police and asked for the community police officer for our village to call round which he did the following day. He was very understanding but no one seems to have the power to remove a barking dog that has been left alone.
The neighbours are now back and we await the outcome of the RSPCA's investigation.