You can’t criticize anyone’s kids or anyone’s dogs, even though both categories deserve it a lot of the time. They just take it way too personally, and things escalate.
She says she lives in a cul-de-sac with her husband and they built a “catio” off the side of their house for their kitty to hang out on. Six months ago, a neighbor started walking their dog on the street. Off the leash.
This will surely cause controversy, but walking your dog off the leash is ALWAYS a bad idea and it was in this case, too:
Any time they walk the dog, he is off-leash and as soon as he sees my cat he runs through our yard barking and trying to get into the catio.
After the second time this happened we began to ask this person repeatedly to leash their dog and to keep him off of our yard.
Their response was to demand we put our cat inside while they were walking the dog and gave us the times they normally walk him. We said that didn’t work for us, and that they needed to keep a better eye on their animals.
Of course, the neighbor ignored this request, because the OP violated the sacred “do not criticize dog” rule.
Not only is the dog still harassing their cat, but the neighbor has also stopped picking up poops the animal leaves on the lawn. Then this happened:
Yesterday, we were all sitting outside and they came up the street again. The dog saw my cat on his catio and he ran straight for my house barking. In the process he knocked down a neighbors child who was sitting on a lawn chair.
This time we had enough and we told the person that we were calling animal control and we did. Animal control asked for copies of our video doorbell footage and we gave it to them.
Not fifteen minutes ago the person came up to my house screaming at me and calling me an AH because not only are they being fined for the leash law violations, the dog is being quarantined to ensure that it is not dangerous.
The person told me that the dog is her son’s ESA for his autism and called me a monster for what we did.
There have been a number of updates, one in which the OP says that she called animal control to check on the dog and it’s being monitored for aggression and then sent to live with a foster family.
The dog is supposedly hyper and badly trained, but sweet at heart. She sent them some money for the dog’s care. She also said the neighbors have been raising money for a new dog on social media, and camping outside her house with signs calling them “dog nappers.”
But not the catio is in peril:
The neighbors reported us to our towns code enforcement office yesterday afternoon claiming the catio is an illegal structure. An official is coming to our house today to inspect it either this morning or early afternoon.
If the catio is considered an illegal structure we will have to take it down. We agreed that if we do, we will meet with the city to discuss proper permits so that we can rebuild it. Our other neighbors are disgusted. The catio has been there for years with no issue.
The OP also said that the “last thing we would ever want is to take away a child’s pet from them,” and I sort of expected the comments to call her a monster.
Instead, people were really supportive and happy to explain that an “emotional support animal” is not a trained service pet and even if it were a medically necessary companion, the dog would still be subject to the same expectations as any other dog, i.e. not knocking over small children:
Unfortunately, I’m willing to bet that these bad neighbors will soon get their hands on another dog. Animals always pay the price for bad owners.