Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#135 - Great Dane Disaster

This past week we've had something super exciting happen at our house. Just to clarify...I'm being sarcastic and here's why...the neighbors directly behind us brought home two full grown Great Danes to leave in their backyard and they barked nonstop for three straight days and nights before they calmed down a tad.

These neighbors have a backyard half the size of our backyard and now it's housing two massive Great Danes. Now...I'm a dog lover, but these dogs are way too big for their environment. The neighbor is a single woman and she has this nice sized metal shed on one side of the backyard that the dogs are using as a super-sized dog house.

Since those dogs were brought home to this lucky address, directly behind my house, it's been so much fun around here.

First of all, our other neighbors have dogs and we are both polite dog owners, letting our dogs in and out for brief amounts of time because we all live so close to one another. If I let Howdy outside and he gets on a barking binge, I have him come back inside. No need to drive the neighbors batty.

However, the Great Dane household has been not so caring about all of us who live around here. In fact, the dogs were dropped off into the backyard by some scroungy looking guys, then we've not seen anyone for days.

This morning, I went outside to let the chickens out of their coop. The Great Danes began chiming in with their terrifying "WOOFFF, WOOOOOFFF, WOOOFFF," and Howdy is ready to protect me, but I know he'd be a doggie treat in one bite to those horses in the next yard. Still, Howdy's posture is ready to do battle.

The chickens come down their ramp, one by one as I spread feed in the yard and as I am moving backwards, spreading feed, I notice an entire six foot wood picket fence that the Great Danes have busted down...which means that Belle the Yorkie could fit through the gap in the fence easily, and with her fighting mentality, she'd be yanked through the hole faster than the speed of light and probably would be swallowed whole.

Then, it hits me that the chickens LOVE to peck the growing grass all along the fenceline and it would only be a matter of time before they found the hole in the fence and the Great Danes found a squawking appetizer.

So, I gathered the chickens up and had to put them all safely back into the coop. A big pain! Yes, the crazy woman on the block with the chickens in the backyard is outside in her robe letting the chickens out of the coop early in the morning while two Great Danes bark ferociously at her, but then she just starts running around the yard three minutes later as she puts all the chickens immediately back inside the coop. Brilliant.

The feeling I get at seeing the picket knocked down by the heads of the Great Danes is so awesome. Such a great way to wake up. I found something to wedge against the gap in the fence, but one of the Great Danes would not let me near the fence, he'd lower his head growling at me through the empty space where the board is missing as I approached. One little "bump" and the next fence picket will fall forward and the demon dogs would have a buffet at their disposal.

Deputy Dave repaired it when he got home, but he too had trouble approaching the fence. We both eyed the other fence pickets while KNOWING they will NOT hold up to these two Great Danes over an extended period of time.

This neighbor has several parts of her fence deteriorating, but a couple of stretches have boards nailed to the posts on her side of the fence. So, a while back, Deputy Dave even purchased a couple of fence pickets to replace the rotting boards and he politely slid them over into her yard over the fence so that they would lay against her back fence, directly leaning against the rotting boards. Since the expense was paid for with the boards, all the neighbor had to do was nail the new board to the fence. But, the boards disappeared for some other use...they were not used as was clearly needed. So, we are not paying for any more boards.

But, I have a feeling that we aren't the neighbor cringing the most. At least we have our yard space buffering us, somewhat, from all of those double-barking sessions that last for hours on end. And, I have great sympathy for the neighbors on either side of her, especially the neighbor who added an outdoor room at about a minimum of $20,000. this past year, even paying to have the roof of the outdoor room perfectly tied in with the roof of their house so it all looks uniform. Yep, I think this outdoor room will not be as enjoyable with the Great Danes barking nonstop just a few feet away. And, the other neighbor has bedroom windows in close proximity to her yard which must be miserable as these dogs bark so powerfully that you can easily hear them five houses down.

My real estate background cringes at the sight and sound of these dogs crammed into the backyard behind us because once we get the For Sale sign in our front yard to sell our home, I know that potential buyers will be going into the backyard and they won't be able to carry on a conversation because of the Great Danes. I would need a distracting water feature that has the power of Niagara Falls to re-direct a buyer from hearing the angry Great Danes. Then again, the backyard chickens might have them so freaked out that the Great Danes are a distant thundering sound.

Miss Speckles trusts Howdy, even when he is in
butt-sniffing mode. Augh!
I can see how people on farms and ranches love their fences and their cross fences. Fences, fences and more fences...along with good guard dogs and a little protection hung comfortably at the hip. At least in the country I'd be far enough away from neighbors that I will not have to lie in bed listening to their two new HUGE dogs throw a fit all night long. Hearing a dog bark in the distance is so much better than hearing two bark within 30 feet of your house, nonstop.

I think we should have zoo rules around here ---- for the anxious dogs barking in the adjoining yards all night, we should be allowed to shoot darts loaded with a safe sedative at these dogs. Oh how horrible! How could I even think such a thing about those precious dogs who keep us awake all night and then destroy all peace during the day as they head-butt the fence until it comes down? Anyway, I'll wager a bet that those dogs are really tired and need a good night's rest. Any zoo-keepers out there with an extra set of darts on them? Weight is approximately 120 pounds, the dart needs to have just the right amount of sedative.

This isn't possible? Oh well.

For now, I'll be jealous of the zoo keeper's supplies as I dream about the power I'd have with a couple of feathered darts aimed through a hole in the fence. Nighty-Night.

Oh yes, since I'm back into my drugged dart daydream, I might as well conjure up the extra darts for the days we show the house to prospective buyers.

The thought of flying darts loaded with sedatives is so unlike me, but it sure feels good to have an aim and fire daydream when you've been sleep deprived. I think there's too much "Texas" in me, and I'm plain tired.

Beyond the barking, I can't imagine what her backyard will look or smell like within four months. These dogs are not getting any attention, they are not being walked, they are not allowed inside the house whatsoever...they are stuck outside to live in their new surroundings with obvious high anxiety.

At the least, I hope she has a pitchfork and a compost pile because it will be getting thick, really fast, in that small yard. Since we've not seen our neighbor in the backyard, not even one time since the Great Danes have joined our community, I wonder...What's the point with having these dogs? The guy we saw dropping the dogs off might be a boyfriend, a brother or friend who needed a temporary place for the dogs to stay. At least, that's what I am hoping. Temporary, very temporary.

I guess we'll see what happens over the next few days. We're trying to be patient. I'm not so sure the other neighbors will do the same since they are even closer to her yard. But, this coming weekend, we might have to have a discussion with our neighbor and confront the issue of fence destruction caused by her monster dogs so that I may go into my own backyard and feel safe and so the little ones can go into the backyard and not worry about a massive dog barreling through loose boards.

This is such a good lesson for Stefie to see...Monster dogs need supervision, especially when they must live in close proximity to neighbors that you might not want to tick might need neighborly help one might enjoy having neighbors that don't sport the evil eye at you every time you walk out your door because they hate your dogs and you. These monster dogs need lots of food and lots of space to process that food; the fencing needs to be strong and in good condition to withstand a bit of Great Dane pressure and the barking tendencies need to be kept in check so that it does not become everyone else's problem. And, monster dogs need love and affection just as a small cute Yorkie does...they can't be left in a backyard and forgotten while everyone else in the neighborhood, is again, acutely aware of their presence.

Just another day in Paradise here folks! Regardless, I am content, yet still eager to get moved to the country. I think the holidays will distract our plans because we will be so busy entertaining, but once the New Year rolls around, we will be rolling ---- OUTTA HERE!

It won't be long...power tools and the smell of fresh cut we come baby!


LindaG said...

So you have no noise ordinances in Houston?
I'd be reporting them to the Houston SPCA as soon as I suspected they weren't being properly cared for.

Really sorry to hear about this. No pun intended. *hugs*

Rae said...

My grandpa had a great dane for a while. I guess the poop piles were so big, he had to mow AROUND them with the lawnmower. I picture lots of stinky grass tufts all over the lawn. :) Hope your new doggy neighbors turn out to just be visiting. I'd be livid, and probably would have already confronted the neighbor, but hey, I'm a redhead... I can't help it. Lol.

Lana at said...

Linda --- there are indeed noise ordinances, but they send out several written notices to let them know that a hefty fine will be administered if they don't do something about the excessive noise. I think everyone was waiting to see what happens with these dogs, if they are really here to stay. I think the fence is going to be my first concern...she needs to get on the ball about her dogs knocking down the fence. Not good.

Rae --- I have heard so many wonderful things about people owning Great Danes, but these dogs are going to be a problem for us neighbors. Already, this morning, I heard one of them literally CHEWING on one of the fence boards. And mowing AROUND poop piles does not sound like much fun. I probably should've been over there this weekend, I guess I need more red on my head!! I'm jealous cause I'd love to have some red hair!

I guess my grey hairs are chillin me out --- a tiny bit. haha


Dreaming said...

It amazes me how people can be so rude and uncaring: to both neighbors and the dogs.
Tucker is a barker, but we do get on his case and bring him inside if there is something out there that he just can't resist barking at. And we live far away from our neighbors!

Lana at said...

Dreaming --- I think the neighbor who has the Great Danes in her backyard is staying gone so she won't have to deal with it personally. I've considered that she might be out of town for a couple of weeks and a rogue brother might be using her backyard with her having no idea. I always try to consider the unusual; it IS hard to imagine a neighbor bringing home such large dogs and ignoring the fence that they are pushing down. I just don't know????? My dogs bark, sometimes a lot and the other dogs in the neighborhood bark, but I cannot believe that one of those Great Danes has such a powerful voice that can bark and bark and bark for days on end, literally. Night and day. What ever happened to getting over-use laryngitis??? :-)


Mike said...

One of the reasons I found Quigley a new home was my neighbor from hell and their 13 pit bulls. After 2 years? they finally moved them all out. I was over there 5 times about those dogs barking and jumping my fence. I had to check the back yard everytime I let Higgins out, just in case. The 5th time I told him if anything happens to Higgins I'd take care of his inconsiderate attitude.

Lana at said...

Mike --- I don't blame you. Years ago, we dogsat my brother's American Bulldog at my house and that dog was so incredibly massive. At all times, he wore one of those face harness/leads because one on his body wouldn't have stopped him from anything, but he was very good natured, but VERY scary. I was walking in the house with him and my neighbor across the street, an old war veteran and a nice guy, was backing out of his driveway and he yelled over to me, "If that dogs heads to my yard, fair warning, I have my rifle and will use it." I smiled and told him, "I don't blame you and I'm only dog-sitting and he will mostly be indoors with me for the weekend, except for potty trips in the backyard, monitored." And you know what? I absolutely understood my neighbor's concern. I would've felt exactly the same way, with alarm, at seeing a dog like that next to me. My daughter's friend, a couple of weeks ago, had her dog killed by the neighbor's dogs. If something happened just because a neighbor was being reckless, then I would have great difficulty being understanding. Higgins is so adorable; I can't imagine having those kinds of dogs next door all of the time. I hope the Great Danes will continue to chill out --- it is getting better, but I bet the smell will start getting pretty bad before long...we'll see. She just put a hot tub in her backyard a few weeks ago and now she has it fenced off with strands of chicken wire, it does NOT look relaxing.


Tanya said...

Hi Lana,
Nice to meet you! I found you at Carrie's blog! I read your post about he Great Danes with my mouth open! Good Grief! You are one patient neighbor! My patience would have burned out long ago! HA!
Can't wait to come back and get to know you better and definitely will hope for a more peaceful neighborhood!
I take it you are moving to the country soon?????????

Lana at said...

Tanya --- I went over to your place and made a comment, but I'm glad to meet you too! Yes, we're planning to move to the country...we're trying to head that direction at least! With our lifestyle, we need to live in the country, no doubt.

Thanks for reading. I'll be visiting your blog as well. :-)


Vickie said...

Lana, you are one patient chick! I'd have already been over there to get the ball rolling on getting those Danes OUT. It's not fair to all your neighbors around there. If she IS there and knows about it, then she's in the wrong. If she is NOT there, then she should still do something about it. It's just not right!

Lana at said...

Vickie --- They have quieted down a bit, but I don't know how long this will last or if they will stay quiet when I go into my backyard. A little bit of barking doesn't bother me, but when there are two of them and they both bark ferociously while jumping against the fence, head butting it or as today, CHEWING the base of the board, you get kind of concerned. I am going to see how this weekend their 2nd chance and if it doesn't work out, I'll let her know so she can have a chance to do something about it. I still hope she is not in there ignoring all of this...I really do hope she is away so she will have a dang good excuse.


luckybunny said...

I wouldn't think that is/or should be allowed when you live near people like that, I can't imagine not managing my dogs and just letting them bark all the time. That's crazy! I'm sorry you have to deal with that. I'd go nuts. Can't wait till you can move or the dogs relocate lol

Kelsie From Our Country Home said...

I hope for yours and the dogs sake they are just visiting...though maybe what you think is a hotub is really their water bowl lol.
Though it does raise an interesting point, why would you put in a hottub and then bring home a couple of barking horses...Makes now sense...Praying for visiting.

Blessings Kelsie

Karen said...

Lana, oh, for pete's sake, what is the woman thinking? Great Danes in town? TWO of them?

I'm so glad you noticed the hole in the fence before your dogs or chickens were attacked by the massive mutts. I just don't understand people who think it's ok to own vicious or noisy animals. And how they think everyone around them is supposed to be accepting of it.

I bet if you had a rooster who crowed every morning, this same neighbor would be petitioning his removal (You probably cannot keep a rooster in town, can you? it wouldn't surprise me that there may be ordinances against roosters but not noisy, fearsome canines.)

You're right that in the country you won't have dogs as close, but I hate to tell you, they still annoy me even when they're a half mile away. I know, I'm spoiled, but the incessant barking is really ridiculous. Just as you said, it's the result of people owning dogs they're not caring for. What dog wants to live tied up to a tree by a chain all day long? I guess I'd bark too, if that was my fate.

We have a neighbor here who lives about 3/4 of a mile from us and who owns two massive German Shepherds. He has one of those 'invisible fences' buried in his yard, the kind the dog wears a collar for and is supposed to get a shock when he gets too close? Well,I was walking my two little dogs by his house one day and his male shepherd ran through the electric fence and charged up to me, hair on end, teeth bared, ears back, oh, it was a sight. I was really scared and yelled at the big dog like a crazy woman until he finally backed down.
It took almost ten minutes to get away from him without me or my dogs being injured, or possibly killed.

So I went home and called the dog owners up, and talk about unconcerned, "Oh, was that what he was barking about? I heard him, but didn't think much of it. You don't have to worry, he's afraid of little dogs and he's never bitten us, so you don't have to be afraid of him. We thought the buried fence would stop him, but he just ignores it. I don't think there's anything else we can do."

Oh, congratulations, your dog has never bitten you, so Of Course I am perfectly safe from his nasty, pointy teeth and snapping jaws. This same dog has gone after several neighbors as they walked by and finally the police told the owner if his dog bit someone (Wisconsin is a One Bite Law State) he would be destroyed and they would be in trouble. The neighbor's response was, "Nobody will shoot my dog." If I were him, (or your neighbor) I wouldn't be so sure about that...

You're so kind to only think of tranquilizer darting them, Lana, I'd be more inclined to use a bit more of that firepower you have at your disposal. I know it's not PC, but darn it, it's so infuriating not to be able to enjoy your own property. I'm whining because I can't walk down the road anymore and our creep lives almost a mile away!

I wrote a book again...sorry, just know I'm hoping the Great Dane problem is Temporary!

Anonymous said...

I tried to post these responses early this morning, but it didn't take, so here it goes again.

Luckybunny --- I agree. If my dogs barked nonstop, I'd be the first to go crazy. A little barking here and there, some yapping to and fro...all is okay, but the nonstop for hours and hours, night and day, it is craziness. I know the country will bring its own challenges, but I am ready. Having to share such small spaces with each other in suburbia/city life is not as easy when you get a neighbor like this.

Kelsie --- I was sitting in the recliner reading your post and had to kick my legs in the air while laughing! Yes, I do think the hot tub makes for a perfect dog bowl for two Great Danes. I just hope the pump is not running cause it will go dry and freeze up after a few gulps.

Karen --- I love you and your honesty! I am so glad that I did notice that hole in the fence sooner than later so that disaster could be averted. This morning, the dogs were definitely pawing very strongly against the fence and I heard them chewing on wood again, but it turns out one of the dogs was chewing on the edge of her decking. Oh well! As for you own experience with the German Shepherd, that is so awful! To have the owner basically say that he has done all he is going to be everyone else's problem is a crock of bulloney. I think it's awful to not be able to take a walk in your own have our freedoms imfringed upon is definitely not a good feeling, it can make us fighting mad. And I would take a gun out with me in the mornings for self-protection against these dogs possibly breaking through to my yard, I don't want to chance a rogue bullet since we live so close to other houses. I would just try to get back inside the house as fast as possible. But, these Great Danes have changed my morning routine, only Howdy goes out first with me so he can do his inspection as I go to feed the chickens. Howdy can be fierce and would put up a fight. I just hope it won't be necessary! And you have made me wonder about Texas laws, I bet they are lax compared to your state laws with bitings. My cousin was four years old, in her daily routine of sitting on the floor and watching Sesame Street when their beloved German Shepherd jumped up and bit off her ear, which was sewn back on. However, a dog is a dog...I even supervise my niece, Shaye when she is playing with Howdy.


Anonymous said...

Just be careful when ANYONE (including animals) goes out your back door. Pack mentality , even if the pack is only two, they could injure or kill any of you. Beth