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What to Do When a Neighbor’s Dog Poops In Your Yard

What to Do When a Neighbor’s Dog Poops In Your Yard

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Your lawn is your sacred space, and there’s nothing worse than finding doggy doo-doo on it.

Not only does it create a smelly mess but it is also a health hazard for your family.

 If it is your dog, you should pick up after him immediately but what if it’s your neighbor’s dog?

Well, you can’t control everything that happens in your neighborhood, but you can take steps to protect your lawn from your neighbor’s sandy mess.

Here are steps you can take the next time you find your neighbor’s dog poop on your lawn.

1. Approach Your Neighbor Calmly

As aggravating as the situation may be, it’s important to keep calm and approach your neighbor in a friendly way.

It might help to start with a simple “hello” or “how are you?” before bringing up the issue.

It is counterproductive to approach your neighbor with yells and threats to call the authorities, as this will only agitate your neighbor and make them less likely to listen.

No one likes being yelled at, so try to empathize with your neighbor as that will help you get your point across more easily.

While it is important to stand up for yourself and what you believe in, try not to be too aggressive or demanding with your neighbor.

The situation can get heated very quickly, so if you are going to say what’s on your mind, do it calmly and respectfully—it will have a much better chance of getting through to your neighbor.

2. Ask Them To Clean Up After Their Dog

Once you’ve approached your neighbor in a calm and friendly manner, ask them directly to clean up their dog’s poop from your yard.

It might be helpful to bring a printout or photo of local laws or ordinances that require dog owners to pick up after their pets.

If you know your neighbor’s schedule, try to approach them on a day when you suspect they will be outside cleaning up their yard.

If your neighbor is not available or receptive to your requests, or if they flat-out refuse to clean up after their dog, it might be worth talking to someone else in your neighbor’s family or household who might be more receptive to your requests.

This could be their spouse, partner, or children.

Explain the situation calmly and clearly to them, and encourage them to lend their support in getting your neighbor to comply.

3. Provide Them With Bags For Picking Up Poop

Your neighbor might not have a dog bag and if that’s the case, you can politely offer them one.

This will only be practical if they have agreed to pick up after their dog and the only challenge was they didn’t have a bag for the job.

If you have cooperative neighbors, you can also leave some extra bags in your yard and ask the neighbors to do the same.

This way, a neighbor will not leave dog poop unpicked due to the lack of bags.

Related: 10 Best Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags

4. Get Your Facts Right

Before you accuse your neighbor of not picking up after their dog, make sure that you have the right person and that they actually haven’t done so.

Do not assume that just because your neighbor has a large dog they must be the culprit.

Just ask your neighbor politely without accusing them of anything—unless you have enough evidence to back it up.

You do not want to be accused of harassing an innocent neighbor when all along it was a dog from another home that was doing the misdeed.

Keeping a log of the incidents may help you build your case.

This way, you can track what has happened so far and have concrete evidence of any issues you might need to report or file with authorities.

You may want to take pictures of your yard after your neighbor’s dog has visited, or install CCTV cameras so you have proof of the damage.

5. Approach Your Neighbor Immediately

It is best to strike while the iron is hot by talking with your neighbor as soon as you notice dog poop in your yard.

If you don’t nip the habit in the bud, your neighbor’s dog might get accustomed to it and it will be harder to stop in the future.

If you’ve tried talking to your neighbor about their dog’s dirty deeds and they’ve ignored your requests, it might be time to send a polite but firm letter.

In the letter, you should outline the problem and the request for your neighbor to clean up after their dog.

If it’s still necessary, you can also include any relevant laws or ordinances about cleaning up after dogs.

Before sending the letter, be sure to check and triple-check your facts so that you do not make any mistakes or accusations that may backfire on you.

6. Be Persistent and Patient

While talking to your neighbor is generally the best way to resolve this conflict, it will likely take some time and persistence on your part.

Don’t give up if your first approach doesn’t get the results you want or if they are defensive and unwilling to listen.

 Try again, talk to other neighbors, and reach out to authorities as needed until you find a solution that works for everyone involved.

7. Talk To Your Neighbor’s Landlord Or Homeowner’s Association

If talking directly to your neighbor isn’t getting you anywhere, it might be worth talking to your neighbor’s landlord or homeowner’s association.

Explain the situation calmly and clearly, providing any evidence or proof that you might have of your neighbor not cleaning up after their dog.

It’s also important to be understanding and polite toward your landlord or homeowner’s association, as they are likely not directly to blame for your neighbor’s behavior.

8. File A Legal Complaint

If you have tried everything else and are still unable to get your neighbor to clean up after their dog, it might be necessary to file a legal complaint.

Check with your local government or animal control to see what the procedures are for filing a formal complaint and be sure to provide any evidence you have of your neighbor’s dog pooping in your yard.

Depending on the laws in your area and how bad the situation is, you might be able to get them fined and that might help them appreciate the gravity of the situation.

However, this is a drastic measure that should only be considered as a last resort.

 In most cases, it is best to try and resolve the situation peacefully through more diplomatic means before taking such drastic action.

You might also want to check: Do You Legally Have To Pick Up Dog Poop?

9. Consider Installing Dog-Proof Fencing

If the problem continues, consider installing dog-proof fencing in your yard.

This will help keep other dogs out and allow you to enforce any consequences that might be necessary for your neighbor.

For ideas on how to dog-proof your fence, you may find this quick video by Kurt’s Florida Garden useful:

You can also talk with a lawyer about any legal options you might have regarding this issue and see if there is anything else you can do to protect yourself from your neighbor’s dog.

10. Talk To Other Neighbors About The Issue

If you’ve tried all of the tips above and it still isn’t getting better, consider talking with other neighbors who are also struggling with this problem.

Maybe you can help inspire your neighbor to start cleaning up after their dog or work together to install better fencing.

Sometimes, it just takes the support and commitment of the entire community to resolve a problem like this, so don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to other neighbors who might be struggling with the same issue.

11. Prevent the Dog from Pooping in Your Yard

Most dog owners are fiercely loyal to their dogs.

As such, some of the above strategies may fail to get the job done.

In such cases, it is prudent to think of other viable options, one of which is preventing the neighbor’s dog from pooping in your yard in the first place.  

Preventing your neighbor’s dog from pooping in your yard will save you the energy and time to persuade your neighbor to deal with his/her dog’s behavior or take them to court if everything else fails.

Check out this post for top strategies you can leverage to prevent your neighbor’s dog from pooping or accessing your yard: How Do I Stop Neighbor’s Dog From Peeing in My Yard? (20+ Ideas)

Hopefully, a combination of strategies in the above post with the ones highlighted herein will produce faster and more effective results.

What Not To Do

It’s not enough to know what you ought to do – you also need to know what not to do to avoid making the bad situation worse.

 The following are some important don’ts to remember.


I. Yell at your neighbor or the dog-owner

As pissed off as you may be, this will only make matters worse.

The dog owner may become defensive in response, and the situation could escalate quickly from there.

It is better to engage your neighbor respectfully because there is a good chance they didn’t even know their dog has left a mess in your yard.

II. Spray the dog with water or use any other form of punishment

While it may feel satisfying to give the dog a little squirt or do something else that might intimidate him, this will likely not deter him from coming into your yard in the future.

It is also very possible that you could hurt the poor dog, which would only make the situation more unpleasant for everyone involved.

III. Take matters into your own hands

While it may be tempting to pick up a shovel or some other tool and try to scoop up the dog poop yourself, this is not advisable.

It can be difficult to accurately identify whose dog left the mess in your yard, so you could end up punishing the wrong person.

And even if you do manage to scoop up all of the poop, there is still no guarantee that your neighbor’s dog won’t return to your yard in the future for another “bathroom break.”

IV. Ignore it and hope it goes away

As unpleasant as dealing with a neighbor’s dog poop may be, trying to ignore the situation is not a good idea.

This can make you feel powerless, and the dog will likely continue to use your yard as a bathroom until you take some sort of action.

 So, even if dealing with this issue may be unpleasant, it’s better to address it head-on so that you can maintain control over the situation and keep your yard clean and dog poop-free.

Best Self Bagging Pooper Scooper to Buy for Your Dog

Closing Thoughts

The most important thing to remember, when dealing with a yard that has been pooped on by the neighbor’s dog, is to remain calm as getting angry or frustrated will not solve the problem.

If you keep your calm, there is a good chance you will resolve the issue without needing to escalate it to the authorities.

But if your neighbor is unwilling, it is within your right to file a complaint.