Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Dog in the Neighborhood

So the rental that's been vacant since March has new tenants. This is the same place I wrote about in my "Getting a Clue, Barking Edition" post.

What I didn't share in that post was my struggle with the property management company. I made numerous phone calls, begging even pleading, with the company to get control of the chronic barking situation. My efforts were fruitless.

That's why I went to court. What else was I to do? Continue to allow those irresponsible dog owning tenants to continue to destroy my quality of life?

Since the overly entitled college girls with the deaf dog moved out in the summer of 2010, there's been another set of dog-owning tenants. And yes, another robo-barker. Which was a pit bull. Since a lot of landlords won't rent to tenants with pit bulls, I saw an opportunity.

I wrote a cease and desist letter to the property management company. Letter stated that there was a pit bull on the property, that the dog's aggressive barking was disturbing the peace and quiet of the neighborhood, and that there are city and county ordinances against animal noise that goes beyond a property line.

Final paragraph said that if the property management company had any questions, they were welcome to contact my attorney. His name was on the cc: line.

Shortly after I sent the letter via certified mail, return receipt requested, that pit bull disappeared. And no, the tenants did not get another dog. They moved back in March.

Yesterday evening, I noticed a black dog inside the front yard of this property. So far, it has been quiet. And that's a good thing. I hope that the good behavior continues.

But I also know that this particular property has been vacant for 10 months during the last two years. And there's a lot of rental vacancy here. Last I heard, the local rental vacancy rate was way up there at 16%.

High vacancy rates can lead to landlords being less than choosy about who they lease to. And, since they want to keep those rent checks a-coming in, they're not going to be too concerned about the neighbors being disturbed by tenants' dogs.

But we, the neighbors, are not without resources. The cease and desist letter is a very powerful tool. Believe me, landlords don't enjoy getting these letters. 

Because the possibility of having to deal with a neighbor's attorney could cost them money. Lots of money. And a lot of landlords aren't making much money on their rentals. Especially in a high vacancy market.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Top of the page says that this blog's goal is to to make chronic barking as unfashionable as secondhand smoke. And you know what? The trend is very much our friend. All over the world, people are getting fed up with the noise. Tell the world you're on the bandwagon by heading over to my QuietBarkingDogs store. Tell those dog owners something very simple -- "Yes You Can Keep Your Dog Quiet."


  1. A couple of thoughts on this article:

    - Has any one considered that there is a causal relationship between the high vacancy rate and the various pet offenses in the neighborhood? One thing to AVOID when looking for a home is BARKING DOGS, dogs off leash, etc...

    - Pursuant to above, the property owners might be advised to restrict the behavior of their tenants somewhat... that would improve the quality of life on the block and attract more people. Each of these miscreants is driving away multiple others.

    One thing that really chaps my ass are people who claim that dogs lower crime rates. Really? How about all the crimes committed BY dogs? 4.7 million bite victims, gawd knows how many barking victims, dog crap everywhere, canine trespass, dog attacks on other animals and wildlife, etc... etc... etc... ad infinitum, ad nauseum. I suppose the issue is that these aren't considered crimes, they are "accidents"!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Animal Uncontrol. While I don't have any official figures, I've heard that, in real estate circles, a barking dog next to a house for sale is a big turnoff to potential buyers.

      Which is why I'm amazed that the real estate industry isn't up in arms about this issue. After all, uncontrolled barking could be having quite the effect on the incomes of real estate agents.

    2. One word on realtors: I estimate that they are not "up in arms" because they feel (correctly) that speaking out against dogs and/or dog owners is politically incorrect. If the cultural climate changes somewhat then you might start to hear more about the issue from them.

    3. Animal Uncontrol, when it comes to changing the cultural climate, well, here we are. Working to change it.

      Keep on keepin' on. I'm really enjoying your blog and your comments on my blog.

    4. A big turnoff for me would be how many people in the neighborhood have cats that they let roam all over the place.

    5. Good point, Anonymous. There are quite a few feral cats in my neighborhood.

      And, alas, the coyote packs haven't come through here in a few years. When they do, the feral cat population plummets.

      BTW, we have a kindred spirit on this blog:

  2. One reason I continue to rent is that I'm not fully at the mercy of any neighborhood bullies. If things in my neighborhood turn for the worse again, I can simply let the lease expire and move out.

    I have had many fellow renters tell me virtually the same thing: They are worried about the whole "neighborhood experience" thing.

    This is another one of those things in the doggy world that I believe has not been studied to any real extent: How does lack of effective animal control effect property values?

    1. Very good question, Animal Uncontrol. I would venture to guess that ineffective animal control has a negative effect on property values. And what really gets me going is that my property taxes are paying for the crummy animal control that we have here in Pima County, Arizona.

  3. In my opinion, general taxes should NOT pay for animal control. Pets are not a critical economic enterprise or a social good. Owning a pet is strictly a lifestyle choice that benefits no one but the pet and the pet owner (and sometimes not even then). There is no good reason for taxpayers to subsidize pet owners.

    All AC should be paid for by pet licensing fees and fines. The compliance rate for pet licensing in most places is a complete joke. We should shoot for a minimum of 90% compliance, and stiff fines for anyone who breaks the law. The pay of AC should be directly tied to "performance": If they are too biased or lazy to collect fees and write citations, then they won't be troubled with cashing their paychecks, either!!!

    1. "All AC should be paid for by pet licensing fees and fines." I agree, but for both dogs and CATS. Cats should be required to be licensed so the elite cat owners can help foot the bill for all the cats that come into the shelters. Also, by licensing cats, we can, like dogs, monitor their rabies vaccine status. In the State of New York, it is the LAW that all cats and dogs be vaccinated against rabies, but only dogs are required to be licensed. In order to have a license, one must have proof of rabies vaccine. So, it is important to license both species. Both species come into the shelter system and both species should be required to be licensed. I agree with you. I'm also for a leash law for cats.

    2. In addition to licensing, how about a targeted tax on pet food and pet accessories? That could raise quite a bit of money to fund animal control agencies.

      ISTR that such a tax exists in the Seattle area. Feel free to correct me on this point.