to be able to expect my kids to play safely in our own back garden?

(185 Posts)
RedJools Wed 27-Feb-08 14:59:08

Grrr! We have a back garden, which backs onto woodland which we also own. It is lovely and, I thought, a great place for our kids, as I grew up in the house next door to this, and loved the outdoor space as a child. At the moment dd1 and dd2 have part of the garden almost completely fenced off to play in. They are 4 and 2.5. We also have 2 rabbits in a big run, that the kids love to play with, sandpits, chutes a playhouse etc. It's not a huge garden, although we have a lot of space which I hope eventually to turn into more garden for them to play in. So far so good.

Unfortunately, some idiot who lives way over the other side of our woods has a Japanese Akita, a Rottweiler and a Staffie x, which he seems to make no attempt to keep in. They have burst their way into our garden and attempted to kill our rabbits, causing huge damage to the run and garden.Having caught them in the garden 4 times, we informed the police, who told us they can't do anything unless we know whose dogs they are. (From this logic, don't bother telling the police if your house gets burgled, unless you know who did it) So we found out who owned the dogs, which wasn't hard, as it turns out they have been reported to the police several times by other neighbours and belong to the local hard-cases (drug-runners, murderers etc). Having passed this information on to the police, I was told there is nothing we can do unless we can prove they are his dogs! (So even if you find out who burgled your house, don't bother going to the police until you have detailed your fingerprint evidence and run your DNA samples)

I am not frightened of dogs. I am a vet with 12 years experience, and as such I do know a bit about these breeds. Enough to know they should be treated with caution, and never out without an owner on their own, never mind in a pack! Amongst the useful suggestions the police gave me were:
Fence off all our ground (would only cost about £2000-£3000, no problem!!!!)
Put poison down- I have 3 small children and 2 dogs of our own! Besides "is that legal?" "Oh, er, not sure!"
Phone the dog warden- he came 2d later!!
Check and see if the owners name was on the collar- yeah, as its standing growling at me with its mates, I'll just casually sashay up to it and grab it by the collar...
I've taken photos and we finally scraped together enough money to reinforce the fence and make it higher. Was just starting to relax, even though I know the beasts are still crashing about in our woods/ driveway, until I saw the bloody rottie sauntering past my kitchen window today, round my front garden, through the front gate and round the back again!! I saw red and chased it, (breaking my good mop in the process-grr!), and DH has had to give up his afternoon off to get stuff to block up the bit beside the front gate now!! Its like living in Fort Knox, and I STILL don't feel safe letting my kids out the back. Yes, I am usually out there with them, but even if I was, and they were playing with the rabbits would I be quick enough if these dogs came back?

I KNOW their owners might say they are "big softies" (heard that sooo many times, usually before a dog goes for my face!) but surely they should not be roaming unsupervised in a street where kids often kick a football/ ride bikes/ walk smaller dogs? In fact, I know they shouldn't. the police say they have spoken to the owner, but that is all they can do. I don't want to get involved with these people if I can help it- by all accounts they are nasty and dangerous, and my dh is away quite a lot. I asked the police to stress to the owners that they were going into gardens where there were small children, but that doesn't seem to have pricked their conscience. I could understand the dogs escaping once, or even twice, but over the last year they have been in my garden about 12 times! Obviously I don't want to hurt the dogs, as a vet, and , more importantly, for fear of retribution!! But I am getting so angry now- for once even the rottie was scared of me today, although possibly because it didn't have the others with it!

Any ideas??

sophiewd Wed 27-Feb-08 15:38:13

Press, MP, RSPCA, DH has a rifle with a silencer(great for the rats) if you would like to borrow him

southutsire Wed 27-Feb-08 15:38:31

You been reading Sherlock Holmes, pollyp? grin

Carmenere Wed 27-Feb-08 15:40:28

Actually I think that drugging them and bringing them far, far away is a great idea. As a vet you can probably do this responsibly. And if they replace them, I would just do it again. I see no benefit in confronting/antagonising ignorant violent types who obviously have no intention of living within the law. Why on earth should your lives be endangered and your enjoyment of your garden be curtailed because of the irresponsibility of others? Do it.

Blueskythinker Wed 27-Feb-08 15:42:52

My quality of life is dominated by our neighbour's dog - it barks & snarls at us if we open our back door, let alone try to enjoy our garden. My DD 2.9 becomes hysterical when she goes into our garden. Although in my darker moments I fantasise about doing the dog in, I don't think I could actually poison it (partly through fear of getting caught).

But if the dog was actually getting into my garden, I'm sorry, illegal or not, I would be taking direct action. There have been so many reports of dogs attacking children, and adults trying to intervene and not being able to get the dog off. Imagine the horror & consequences of what could happen if the dog(s) attacks one of the children.

I know this is probably against Vets Ethics, but surely there must be some way of discreetly darting the animals from afar, and it being humane?

RedJools Wed 27-Feb-08 15:46:20

Thanks, girls, at least I know I'm not being stupid! I am just so frustrated! I did think of poisoning them with chocolate- surely you can't get done for leaving a few bars of dark chocolate about the place??? And it IS very toxic to dogs, might just make them sick, but maybe if they puke and crap all over their owners carpet every time they've been out, he won't be so keen to let them out! It makes me worry about other kids in the street too. we are reinforcing fences- again! to try to keep our kids safe, but there are other kids play in our woods. I might write to the local paper, both as an appeal to the owners and as a warning to local kids. I would HATE to read about some child being disfigured, or worse, by these dogs.

Walkthedinosaur- so sorry to hear about your bunny sad I'm amazed our have survived the onslaught they've had from these dogs, once in the middle of the night. There are teethmarks all over the hutch. Thank God dh had reinforced it against foxes. One of my nighbours advised me to get rid of the rabbits, as they were an obvious draw to these dogs, but I just can't break the kids hearts like that sad sad

TheDullWitch Wed 27-Feb-08 15:50:10

You're a vet. Can't you get some tranquiliser dart thingies. Then entice them in, put them to sleep. Then take them in your car and dump them somewhere very very far away...

<heh heh heh>

Blueskythinker Wed 27-Feb-08 15:50:50

I am astonished! Dark chocolate is toxic to dogs? Is this really true? Off to the shops to get someone Black Magic wink

Youcannotbeserious Wed 27-Feb-08 15:52:09

As a dog lover, this is not something I would undertake lightly. BUT... If these dogs were coming onto my property and I was otherwise powerless to stop them, then, yes, I would consider poison.

Not 'killer' poison, but rotten dog food - something enough to give a dog a bad tummy for a couple of days.

A lot of owners will class thier own dog as a softie. I would have classed the dog I grew up with as such. ANd he was. To me. he was also a little bast*ard to other people / dogs. I'm talking 30 years ago, and I do think now we'd have to put him down.

He was killed with poison when he was 19YO (the poison wouldn't have killed a younger / healthier dog).

a dog can be wonderful to it's own owner and completely unmangeable to someone else.

onebatmother Wed 27-Feb-08 15:52:20

another vote for poisoning

PollyPentapeptide Wed 27-Feb-08 15:53:01

I had heard about that (didnt know whether you needed to give them milk or dark though)

How much to kill say ..... a german sheppherd sized animal grin

southeastastra Wed 27-Feb-08 15:53:45

dark chocolate and laxative. what an awful situation. why should you get rid of your rabbits!
report them to the rspca they're not looking after them properly and they're a danger to others!

PollyPentapeptide Wed 27-Feb-08 15:54:36

There must a mafia syle set up somewhere though, where you can pay someone to discreetly 'wack' a neighbours dog grin

onebatmother Wed 27-Feb-08 15:55:17

I think writing to the paper is a v good idea btw - killer dogs are always a good story and if you hit a no-news week you might find it gets half a page - journos will go to council and police to put them on the spot. all good.
even better if it's 'worried residents' rather than just yuou.

RedJools Wed 27-Feb-08 15:55:29

I have looked into drugging them- problem is, i would need a special licence for a dart-gun, and I am about the worst shot in the land!! Another problem is that the sedative isn't instant, so the thing might have time to run most of the way home befor it kicked in, unless I used another sedative, but that one can kill humans!!

I'd love to fence off our bit of land, but our woods run right along the back of all the houses and we only own our wee bit. there is a burn through the bottom, and we only own halfway to the burn, so can't really fence there, and, of course, these buggers come from across the burn!

I have fantasised about lassoing them, hanging them then dumping them in the road and running over them, before phoning the police and telling them I had hit a dog on the road! So my ethics have kind of gone with the wind, I'm afraid!! Having spent a large part of my career putting dogs to sleep for biting, I would have no qualms about ending these dogs' days! Today, I was so angry I was ready (foolishly) to take the thing on with my mop!

TheDullWitch Wed 27-Feb-08 15:55:53

I must say, I would get a gun. Maybe a taser to start with.

southeastastra Wed 27-Feb-08 15:56:54

get a high pressure water hose and hose them away. though they probably wouldn't get the hint would they and still come back. plant brambles?

RedJools Wed 27-Feb-08 15:57:44

OOh a taser sounds fun! Maybe I could get a cattle prod somewhere...

PollyPentapeptide Wed 27-Feb-08 15:58:36

I have felt exactly the same as you RedJools. It is so frightening to be in this situation with little or no support from the police.

Have also found myself fantasising (as you can tell from some of my disturbing posts!!)

Seriously though, if that dog harmed one of my children, there would be very little to stop me murdering the owners - that is how frustrating and scary the whole situation has become.

SoupDragon Wed 27-Feb-08 16:03:35

I'm utterly disgusted that you lot consider poisoning a dog is OK.

RedJools Wed 27-Feb-08 16:03:42

I am with you on that, PPP. DH just managed to talk me down from driving round to their house and having it out with them, drug dealers or not!! If anything were to happen to my kids at the jaws of these bastards the ruckus I would raise would be heard up and down this country- and the police would be the first to get it in the neck!

PS Clarinsgirl- thanks for the link! I like the sound of those dog-chaser things, might treat myself to one of those AND a cattle prod!

TheDullWitch Wed 27-Feb-08 16:05:42

Oh yes, a high pressure hose really HURTS!

I fantasise about abducting the very small but incredibly yappy dog next door. Basically it is an hysteric. Every moment it spends alone in the garden it barks. In the summer (with windows open) it wakes me at 6am if they let it out then.

But my neighbour is lovely and puts up with my children's noise.

But an evil dog! It must die!!!

TheDullWitch Wed 27-Feb-08 16:05:54

Oh yes, a high pressure hose really HURTS!

I fantasise about abducting the very small but incredibly yappy dog next door. Basically it is an hysteric. Every moment it spends alone in the garden it barks. In the summer (with windows open) it wakes me at 6am if they let it out then.

But my neighbour is lovely and puts up with my children's noise.

But an evil dog! It must die!!!

TheDullWitch Wed 27-Feb-08 16:06:34

Sorry, my computer had a fit.

RedJools Wed 27-Feb-08 16:14:26

Good suggestions guys! The problem is I sometimes don't see the dogs for months and then I'm totally unprepared for them when they appear and I crash out shouting to try to chase them away before engaging brain! Must be more rational next time! Cos once I've chased them away, there is nothing I can do, except seethe! angry!!

Sam100 Wed 27-Feb-08 16:15:19

Please do not poison the dogs - I think it could get you into a lot of trouble with what sound like not very nice people and probably with the RSPCA too.

Have you looked into any of the sonic type deterrents - there are quite a few around - some that are hand held and some you can set up in the garden.

The hose is a good idea too.

I don't know if it works on dogs but have heard that male urine is one way of keeping foxes out of your garden. Dont know if this is an old wives tale but could try getting hubby to go and wee all around where the dogs come in!grin

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