New in neighborhood, dog on the loose


11 Years
Jul 23, 2008
Seattle, WA
We've been in our new place about a week and were warned the day we moved in by our closest neighbor about two big dogs that run loose at times. He has chickens too and had to move them into an enclosed back yard area in their coop in order to avoid harassment. We've had our first issue with at least one dog today. I have my three girls in their safely enclosed tractor on the unfenced front lawn and the dog circled it and got them all riled up, freaking out. I'm at work, so it's my hubby at home, reporting to me. I've given him the number for the local animal control and asked him to just call them next time he sees the dog. Anyone know if loose dogs are usually picked up by animal control? I'd love for the offending neighbor to have to make a trip to the pound to pay for his dog's release. Perhaps he'll fix his fence before any animals are injured.

We have a little chihuahua and would like to take walks in our neighborhood with her, but I wouldn't be comfortable knowing we might be rushed by a larger dog who might be aggressive toward our little pup. Hopefully this can be resolved quickly. I know lots of folks go round and round about this before resolution occurs. I'll be crossing my fingers for a less involved process.
If the neighbor knows it's a problem and hasn't tried to correct it then AC is probably your best bet. Tell your DH to take pictures (date/time stamped if you can) when he sees the dog. Our AC can't cite owners if they don't see the animal themselves Unless there is proof that the dog(s) were off their own property.
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Enforcement varies from location to location. Check your local laws. Can you shoot it? Unfortunately, if you can't get AC to handle it and it's owners are stupid enough to let it roam, that may be your only answer. Even if it can't break in to the tractor, it may still injure or kill your chickens by making them panic and break their necks or wings on their enclosure. The life of the dog isn't more valuable than the life of the dog. If it meant much to the owner, it would be in its own yard.
If it's just your tractor outside
hang a bunch of mouse traps, no bait, on the outside (away from the chickens) so when the dog comes up and touches the tractor, the mousetrap will snap. It won't hurt the dog but will sting and the noise scares them too.
they will learn to leave your tractor alone fast. and it is a mini alarm system for you that they are near your chickens.
You can set them on the ground around the coop too if you want.
I caught a sparrow that way once and it was sad so didn't suggest that but you may need it to save your chickens

Once they have learned that the mousetraps sting, they will stay away from the mousetraps and mousetrap areas. They don't have to be cocked anymore.
just a non-lethal, immediately do-able trick, not a cure.
Wow folks, excellent replies! I appreciate the suggestions tremendously. I will put the camera by the window with a little photography assignment for my hubby, and stop at the hardware store to pick up some mousetraps, then put a note on the inside of the front door reminding myself that I've set traps so I don't step on them myself at night when I go to check my birds "one last time".

The dog hubby saw today had tags and I assume the owner is well aware that the dog roams free. We both share the philosophy of "there are only bad dog owners, not bad dogs" but I suspect I might more rapidly change that view if my birds break their necks attempting to escape the harassment. They are flighty breeds to begin with and were so incredibly hard to raise to this ripe old age of one year, I'd be crushed if they were hurt. I'm only housing them in the tractor as a temporary measure while we build "The Garden Coop" in the fully fenced back yard, so I'll just have to get my butt in gear and get it done sooner if the marauding dog continues his afternoon extracurriculars.
Yeah.... I don't think moving into a neighborhood and shooting your new neghbors dog is the best strategy I have ever heard. Not exactly the way I would want to start off if you know what I mean. If I were you I would call the local animal control and ask them how they manage roaming dog problems and what you should do to help them resolve this issue if you have trouble with the dog. Here they don't have to see the dog wandering to cite someone. Here dogs get a point on thier record. 3 points and the dog is removed from the owners custody.
I've got this exact same website saved to my favorites if such an eventuality arrives in my Seattle-area neighborhood.

Once you find out who the owners are, a lawyer friend of mine says a certified letter typed on legal-eagle letterhead outlining the problem and your awareness of the law can work wonders for solving the problem before "terminating with extreme prejudice" is employed. You can ask your lawyer to use the phrase "my client" to protect your identity.

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