Smelly Yard

08 Sep

What do I do about the smell of my neighbor’s seven dogs’ feces? It is getting so bad. We live in town and we don’t even want to be in our back yard.  I have a child daycare and we have to go outside every day.  I have spoken with my neighbor but she does nothing about it. – S.

Dear S.,

This isn’t just a nuisance, it’s a health issue. I would urge you to have another talk with your neighbor. Mention the new yard pickup services that are springing up all over. For about $15 per week, they’ll come and pick up all the yard waste. Or a neighborhood kid might do it for even less. There’s also the Doggie Dooley, a small septic tank for dog waste that your neighbor can install in her yard.

During this talk, you might tactfully mention that the smell impacts several neighbors, your home values, your health and the health of her own dogs. Try to keep the talk reassuring and friendly, because if you lock horns with her, her attitude may change from indifferent to stubbornly refusing. Say something like, “I’m sure we can work something out without having to involved the board of health,” or “There’s going to come a point where one of our neighbors involves the city, but I think we can clear this up without involving them.”

Unfortunately, someone who never picks up the yard in spite of the smell is probably not going to invest in a service or product that will help the problem. It sounds to me like she doesn’t think there is a problem, and so won’t be inclined to do anything to fix it. In that case, you’ve given her fair warning, so it’s time to ask for help from others.

First, find out if your Home Owners’ Association has any bylaws concerning odor, cleanliness of yards, or the number of pets permitted to live in a house (the maximum in my county is four dogs, or six pets total). You might want to be sure there are no restrictions concerning in-home child care; I’d hate for you to get cited when you’re trying to solve a problem from next door. The odor emanating from her yard brings down the home values and makes it hard to sell a house on your block, so maybe a petition of neighbors would have some persuasive power, too.

If you don’t have an HOA, check with the city. There may be ordinances and health codes that would require your neighbor to keep the yard clean and in sanitary condition. You might also contact the animal health authorities, since her own seven dogs live in unsanitary conditions that might warrant a seizure of the animals from the home.

If the problem does not get solved by the HOA, city or county, you may have to consider that this is something you’ll have to live with, or move.

Got a question about dog etiquette? Send it here.


Posted by on September 8, 2006 in Dog Etiquette


2 responses to “Smelly Yard

  1. Stephanie Jolley

    May 16, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    I don’t know about yard odors, but we use a product called the bad air sponge for home odors. We have two greyhounds at our home in VT. They run fast – but they cant outrun smell 🙂

    We get it through I think the product is used to deodorize rv’s and campers but it works wonders for pets…not so much for smelly husbands.

  2. Horse Rating

    June 3, 2010 at 1:07 am

    It is really hard to get rid of the odor of the yard.


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