In “Ghostbusters,” Bill Murray utters this phrase as an example of the madness at the end of the world: “Dogs and cats, living together…!”
That was funny, but in real life, we have dogs and cats — and people — all living together as a matter of routine. And it can get complicated.
Even here in Stephens Grove, we’ve experienced some difficulties arising from having these species together in one neighborhood. We have had episodes in which dogs have been loose, and neighbors have felt threatened. And other problems.
Dog and cat owners, we ask that you please do not let your pets roam free in the neighborhood, and kindly pick up after your dog. We ask you to do this out of consideration for your neighbors, who may not find your pets as adorable as you do. They may even be afraid of them — or allergic to them.
Of course, it’s not just neighborly. It’s also about obeying the law. The town of Huntersville has a fairly detailed ordinance that covers the responsibilities of animal owners. You can read it here. Of course it’s more than 5,000 words long, so to save you some trouble, here are a couple of key sections:
- It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having possession, charge, custody or control of any animal, excluding cats, to keep such animal upon his or her own premises, or off the premises, unless such animal is under restraint as that term is defined in Section 94.03. (That definition says “restraint” means “Controlled by means of a chain, leash or like device; on or within a vehicle being driven or parked; within a secure enclosure; within the dwelling of the owner or keeper; or under the immediate and effective control of a competent person.” So, you know, restrained.)
- It shall be unlawful for the owner, custodian or keeper of any dog to leave its feces on public streets, sidewalks, town parks, other town property or the property of another without permission of the owner of the property.
So, it’s not just about being polite. But being polite should be enough, in order to be a good neighbor. Please do not allow your dogs to relieve themselves on the lawns of other residents, especially without cleaning up. This is not only rude, but damages the lawns that we all take great care in maintaining. Also, remember that if you have an invisible fence, please make sure it’s working properly and the sign is visible.
Speaking of being neighborly: We should all try talking to our neighbors, when we can, about problems before calling in the authorities. Remember our very first post here on this blog? It was headlined, “One way to have good neighbors: talk to each other.” To quote ourselves:
For instance, if a barking dog on your block is being a nuisance, we advise, “First and foremost, consider talking to your neighbor about it.” It may also help with a neighbor you see driving too fast in your neighborhood.