We have a picket fence around our property. Our neighbor lets her dog climb under the fence to do his business. She often has him on a leash and makes no effort to pull him back. Especially since we have the fence, is this trespassing?
I doubt there are very many lawn owners that live in town that have never encountered a similar problem with a neighborhood pet. This can translate into quite a smelly and unsightly result on one’s lawn.
Whether a fence exists or not, allowing one’s pet to wander onto another’s property is trespass. Everyone is responsible for their own animals.
Although the situation you describe is a common occurrence, a lawsuit or criminal actions taken because of the “trespass” are extremely rare. This can make the situation even more frustrating because it may seem like a headache only resolved by one of you moving or even more drastic measures.
Some cities and municipalities do have “pooper-scooper” laws. These laws dictate that pet owners pick up after their pets. Violation of these laws is usually an infraction and subject to a fine.
Depending on where you live, a pooper-scooper law may provide you with recourse short of a trespass charge that will encourage your neighbor to clean up her pet’s habit.
If the dog is running rampant throughout the neighborhood, Animal Control may get involved. If Animal Control gets a report of a “dog at large” they may take action including an investigation, impounding the dog, or writing a ticket.
Your question reminds me of the recent news story about the Chicago man that shot his neighbor because the neighbor let his dog urinate on the man’s yard. In fairness, the man’s lawn was voted the best in the area for several years in a row…
In all seriousness, although the Chicago situation is certainly extreme, neighbors that don’t properly watch their dogs can be frustrating indeed. Hopefully your problem can be resolved with a gentle reminder that your yard is not a personal toilet for your neighbor’s dog.