Tuesday 6 January 2009

Sad bastards' New Year

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.


Anonymous said...

Had the same problem some time ago with a neighbour, after two days and nights of non-stop barking the RSPCA came round, saw that dog had food and water and left. Seems a friend was calling every couple of day to leave food. Neighbours were gone for a week and I went round to complain. I was lucky, they were very apologetic and said it would never happen again and it didn't.
Terrible for the dog in your case and tough that your neighbour was such a pig about it. But more and more powers are being taken away from all the caring societies due to Political correctness.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Oh CW - what a horrible thing to happen, in all respects. I would have done the same as you. We are encouraged to report any distress to animals, which surely was the case for that dog, given the freezing temperatures. Apart from the fact that the continual barking was causing you and presumably other neighbours distress. Do feel though that anyone who goes away for that length of time and just leaves their dog in the garden, with someone popping in occasionally, is not be reasoned with. Wish you the best of luck with it.

A x

Suburbia said...

Poor dog (and poor you of course) Some people don't deserve to have animals. It is a shame the RSPCA have not considered the outside temperatures recently. Sometimes, like child protection, they don't take things seriously until it's too late.

Hope your evenings are quieter and that the dog finds some peace.

Akelamalu said...

Oh the joys of neighbours! :(

I suggest you keep telephoning the environment health making a complaint about the noise.

Maggie May said...

I feel so sorry that the dog has not got any warmth. After all its not his fault that he isn't looked after. Can't understand why the RSPCA don't take him away.
As regards the noise, I should think that you could hasvr the dog removed on the grounds of nuisance.

CG said...

I thought it was illegal to leave a dog like that. Cruel to the dog AND you as neighbours!You were brave to report it.

Gone Back South said...

Oh golly poor you. Rotten luck for that pooch too, ending up with some a mean owner. I hope that the dog goes to a better a home soon, and that the neighbour emigrates permanently.

Tim Atkinson said...

It really isn't good enough, is it? We've had similar problems with neighbours breeding red setters in no more than a tiny concrete yard. Environmental health should be able to provide noise monitoring equipment - which you need to have installed the very next time the neighbours go away!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

I had the same problem with new neighbours moving in, and leaving their animals in the yard, to fend for themselves, while evryone is gone on their merry ways....
Despite acreage between the houses, when a dog barks all night long, it carries in the quiet of the countryside, no matter how much land is between properties.
Some people are so irresponsible, and selfish, to not consider "what if" and how it would be taken care of. I live in Tennessee, and we have an animal control officer. If he is called out, as in your barking-dog case, he has the power of the law to seize that animal, and impose a heavy fine on the owners..
I have alwayd heard that good fences, make good neighbours, sadly in today's society a fence isn't enough. What happened to the times when one thought about being courteous and considerate to the people who share their communities ?
Gone with the wind.....

Expat mum said...

Came via bringing up Charlie. What a pain for you. The other way to approach it would be to complain under your local "noise law". Not a technical term, but most areas have some sort of hours during the night when you're not supposed to be making loud noises like hammering things, barking, shouting etc. Perhaps a call to your local Citizen's Advice?

imbeingheldhostage said...

Yeah, isn't that the pot calling the kettle black-- they get a dog that they can't be bothered to care for and they call you sb's? Wow.
I'm really surprised, it's usually me who ends up living next to people like that and for once it wasn't. I hope it all gets sorted soon, for you but especially for the dog's benefit!

cheshire wife said...

Moannie - glad you had reasonable neighbours.

SJA/Suburbia -you are so right.

Akelamalu - thank you for the advice.

MM - we need to keep on at Environmental Health.

CG - apparently it is not illegal.

GBS - would like it if they moved house!

The Dotterel - have now been advised about Environmental Health noise monitoring equipment. Will insist on it if there is a next time.

Hope you have sorted out your problem with neighbours and red setters.

A Brit in Tennessee - yes Gone with the Wind!

Expat Mum - it is Environmental Health that we need to call.

imbeingheldhostage - the Police phoned again this afternoon and gave me the impression that the RSPCA will still be looking into the matter.

debsdigest.com said...

Happy New year!
I take it your neighbours don't read your blog!

david mcmahon said...

I'll be sending your neighbour a book called How To Live In The Same Street As Other Human Beings And Behave Like One Yourself.

cheshire wife said...

Deb - I don't really care whether or not they read my blog.

David - how do you know where I live?

cheshire wife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ladybird World Mother said...

How unbelievably foul of that man to be so unreasonable. Grrrrr. When people are in the wrong they often behave aggressively. But that doesnt make it any better for the likes of you. Horrid. What about those Noise Pollution people?? I always laugh at such a job, but maybe they can actually do something? Actually reading through other comments it seems you need Environmental Health and you know that already. this is an entirely useless comment... sorry! but comes with such good wishes for good outcome. X