Local residents were sickened upon learning that a Redwood City man allegedly smashed a neighbor’s poodle in the head with a brick after growing increasingly irritated with the dog wandering onto his property. This is horrific; fortunately, it’s also incredibly rare. We see cases where people neglect pets, but just a small number of situations where someone goes out of their way to harm an animal. NBC Bay Area TV visited our Center for Compassion to speak with me about situations where one neighbor grows increasing irritated at another and a pet is at the center of the ire. What recourse does the annoyed neighbor have? As I explained, someone should call their local animal control provider (PHS/SPCA, while a private non-profit, is the contracted provider in San Mateo County), if a neighbor and/or their pet is breaking a law or local ordinance. If you have kindly asked your neighbor to keep his dog on leash and been blown off, call the local authority. For some pet owners, an official visit from someone in uniform can change their behavior quickly. For something less black and white like habitual barking (a common source of neighbor conflicts), dog owners should correct the behavior and have several options. Owners can allow their dog to spend more time inside the house. If this isn’t possible, owners should tire their dog before they leave for work with a long, brisk walk. They can also hire a dog walker— even a trustworthy neighborhood kid — to walk their dog during the day. Rather than giving their dog a breakfast kibble in a bowl, they can use one of a number of toys that dispense food when the dog pushes or works at it. A Buster Cube is one such toy. And, have your dog meet his neighbors. This way, the neighbor might not be the scary, unknown person on the other side of the fence.
Scott oversees PHS/SPCA’s Adoption, Behavior and Training, Education, Outreach, Field Services, Cruelty Investigation, Volunteer and Media/PR program areas and staff from the new Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion.