The condo blues

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    Apr 21, 2010 4:57 PM GMT
    Up until recently I've been very fortunate to share a three-condo house with two couples who I also consider good friends. It's been fun and peaceful and ideal. A couple broke up, one half moved out. The other half found somebody new and got married. That's where it has gone downhill. I let a lot of annoyances go in the interest in keeping harmony in the building, but it's been difficult. The shit is hitting the fan, kind of literally.

    My guy and I do a lot of work to keep the shared yard looking outstanding... mostly because we are on the first floor and our condo includes a back deck with steps down to a nice brick patio that is surrounded by the shared space. We're proud of our little urban yard, and spend a lot of time down there in the nice weather. Our condo "friends" bring their two little dogs out there to walk them, and regularly do not pick up after them. We've put up with it for a while, again trying to keep the peace and to not sound like assholes over petty stuff. Last weekend I was busting my butt mulching, cleaning up, etc. and had to pick up lots of little doggy presents. So I decided enough was enough and wrote them what I thought was a polite email, friend to friend, asking if they could be a little more mindful of picking up after the dogs in common areas. I got back a rather terse reply, offering some excuse and ending with "Your thoughts are noted." Ugh... not worth a reply so I let it go.

    This morning, two days after that exchange, I'm out watering new grass seed before I leave for work and step in a pile of dog crap right on the path. It's a fenced yard, there are only two dogs that can get in there.

    Now I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do I make an issue out of this? Do I let it go and see if it happens again? At what point do I decide that peace and harmony in the condo isn't worth my constant aggravation over their lack of respect for their neighbors?

    Ugh I could rant about this endlessly.

  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Apr 21, 2010 5:02 PM GMT
    collect all the Dog Droppings for one week...place it all in a paper bag on their doorstep, light it on fire and ring their bell around 6am on a sunday morning. icon_twisted.gificon_wink.gif
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    Apr 21, 2010 5:04 PM GMT
    rnch saidcollect all the Dog Droppings for one week...place it all in a paper bag on their doorstep, light it on fire and ring their bell around 6am on a sunday morning. icon_twisted.gificon_wink.gif


    Ahaha. Trust me, all of these evil thoughts have gone through our heads many times over.

  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Apr 21, 2010 5:08 PM GMT
    but seriously now....is their anything in the condo lease prohibiting pets or requiring clean up after these rug rats?
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    Apr 21, 2010 5:12 PM GMT
    rnch saidbut seriously now....is their anything in the condo lease prohibiting pets or requiring clean up after these rug rats?



    Nothing about pets, but certainly about keeping common areas clean. The yard is a common area... I would never put my cat's litter box in the front common hallway, for example. How is this any different, I ask?

    It's not really an issue of whether I am right in asking them to clean up after the dogs... it's more about getting over my very strong instinct to want to keep the peace and friendship (not that there's much of that left anymore), even if that means I put up with this crap. I HATE feeling like an asshole even if I'm in the right. I'm naturally a peacemaker. And I cringe at some horror stories I hear from other condo owners about their battles with neighbors - I don't want that.

  • treader

    Posts: 238

    Apr 21, 2010 6:11 PM GMT

    I can completely understand where you're coming from. My condo building in the South End has became a battle zone. It takes it toll on everyone.

    Maybe a possible peaceful solution might be to buy a box of doggie bags from the condo fund and place them in noticeable area of the backyard to remind your forgetful neighbors. Hopefully they will take the hint.

    Good Luck.


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    Apr 21, 2010 6:15 PM GMT

    Well, when one obviously lives alongside Infidels, one either puts up with the behavior or onbe moves. Sad but true.

    Of course you could move the dog poo to their front door.

    icon_question.gif
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Apr 21, 2010 6:17 PM GMT
    Depending on the dogs, possibly set up a specific area that the dogs can do their business, that all parties can accept.

    My dog does her business in the same general area all the time. No one steps in it, or has a problem with me only cleaning it up a few times a week.
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    Apr 21, 2010 6:26 PM GMT
    As a pet owner I understand their perspective, but I also understand yours.

    I always clean up after my dog, but it's also a pain in the ass when people get on your ass about certain things. For instance, I live in the most urban part of Washington DC. There's very little green space besides some of the flower beds. it just so happens that my dog does not poop or pee on the sidewalk - so when he steps on a flower in the flower beds, I sometimes get people giving me nasty looks or saying rude things. I used to ignore them, now I give dirty looks back or say "would you rather him go on the sidewalk? do you see any green space around here?"

    SO. Since you asked nicely, they need to try to do a better job. I think collecting all the dog shit and putting it in another plastic bag and leaving it on their doorstep (not lit on fire) is perfectly acceptable. IF they dont get the hint by then, you should call the condo association and they should fine them... then they will start doing it. They need to be less lazy assholes and start picking up after their dogs. Part of the responsibility of having a dog, and living in a community like yours... is picking up the poop.

    tell them to deal and dont be afraid to put your foot down...

    and this coming from an urban pet owner.
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    Apr 21, 2010 6:26 PM GMT
    Celticmusl saidDepending on the dogs, possibly set up a specific area that the dogs can do their business, that all parties can accept.

    My dog does her business in the same general area all the time. No one steps in it, or has a problem with me only cleaning it up a few times a week.



    I wish all dog owners were as bright and respectful as you are.

    I kind of like the idea of buying doggy scoop bags that treader suggested, as a possible next step before making a bigger issue out of it. The weird thing is that when they do take their dogs out for walks in the neighborhood, they carry little baggies to pick up after the mutts... why wouldn't they think to do this in our shared yard? Grrrrrrrrrrrrr

    I hate that five years of harmony in our condo is going to come to an end, but I have a feeling that's the direction it's going.

    Wish I could afford a one-family brownstone in the city!

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    Apr 21, 2010 6:31 PM GMT
    ZbmwM5 saidAs a pet owner I understand their perspective, but I also understand yours.

    I always clean up after my dog, but it's also a pain in the ass when people get on your ass about certain things. For instance, I live in the most urban part of Washington DC. There's very little green space besides some of the flower beds. it just so happens that my dog does not poop or pee on the sidewalk - so when he steps on a flower in the flower beds, I sometimes get people giving me nasty looks or saying rude things. I used to ignore them, now I give dirty looks back or say "would you rather him go on the sidewalk? do you see any green space around here?"

    SO. Since you asked nicely, they need to try to do a better job. I think collecting all the dog shit and putting it in another plastic bag and leaving it on their doorstep (not lit on fire) is perfectly acceptable. IF they dont get the hint by then, you should call the condo association and they should fine them... then they will start doing it. They need to be less lazy assholes and start picking up after their dogs. Part of the responsibility of having a dog, and living in a community like yours... is picking up the poop.

    tell them to deal and dont be afraid to put your foot down...

    and this coming from an urban pet owner.



    Thanks, I'm happy to read the perspective of somebody on the other side of the issue. Truly, I wouldn't care if they missed some from time to time when the dogs hide under a bush or in a corner. Whatever, I'm not that petty. It's plain sight, on the cute little shell pathway, or gooping over one of the nice border stones (sorry for the visual) and other plain-sight stuff that bugs me.

    We are technically a "condo association," but that just means three units, one vote per unit, no "president" or other formal structure. It's all informal, we're just three couples who share a triple-decker house.

    We've talked about collecting the stuff and leaving the bags outside the back door. People think that's not overly passive-aggressive? I like being more direct, but I've tried that already.
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    Apr 21, 2010 6:50 PM GMT
    Check with your municipal health dept. They might be able to write them a citation.
  • Timbales

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    Apr 21, 2010 6:56 PM GMT
    I agree, you already asked and they aren't being responsible dog owners. When I walked my dog, I always had bags with me just in case.

    I would talk to them in person and let them know you understand the convenience of using the yard for the dogs, but their waste needs to get picked up right away. It's not fair to everyone who uses the space. They live in the same building, you should be able to swallow your irritation long enough to have a civil discussion.

    If they continue, then I'd move onto the bagged poop at their door.
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    Apr 21, 2010 6:57 PM GMT
    Move out west...live large...Home's are a great buy and you get A LOT!...I need a BIG place to live and grow...
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    Apr 21, 2010 7:02 PM GMT
    Caslon14000 saidCheck with your municipal health dept. They might be able to write them a citation.

    That is a good idea, or the animal control department. They are the ones that usually issue citations for improper animal behavior.

    I had the same problem where I live and it is in the condo rules that all dogs must be on a leash and they must pick up after them. If they do not follow the rules, we issue them a citation that they have to pay by the next association meeting. If they do not pay it, then we put a lien on their condo. Works really well. I live on one of the dog runs and gave out 5 citations the first week we started doing this and no longer have any problems.

    Good luck to you and I hope it all works out.
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    Apr 21, 2010 7:07 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidI agree, you already asked and they aren't being responsible dog owners. When I walked my dog, I always had bags with me just in case.

    I would talk to them in person and let them know you understand the convenience of using the yard for the dogs, but their waste needs to get picked up right away. It's not fair to everyone who uses the space. They live in the same building, you should be able to swallow your irritation long enough to have a civil discussion.

    If they continue, then I'd move onto the bagged poop at their door.



    I will have one more civil discussion with them. I did put my "friendly" request into writing in an email, and specifically said I like their dogs and they should feel free anytime to bring them into the yard, just please pick up especially when it's on the paths. But she got defensive, said this was out of the ordinary, and made me feel petty. I kept her reply and will use it the next time I have to confront her. But after that, I'm following the advice and scooping for them and leaving it at their back door. Whats left of our friendship will be gone, and there will be tension, which I dread.

    The topper is that one of them is unemployed and home all day!

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    Apr 21, 2010 7:09 PM GMT
    Caslon14000 saidCheck with your municipal health dept. They might be able to write them a citation.



    That's certainly one approach, and I wouldn't hesitate if there were already problems or it was a huge building and we didn't know them well. But they are friends (or once were) and it's just a three-unit house, and I don't know... I was hoping I could handle it peacefully. Maybe that's not possible.

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Apr 21, 2010 7:12 PM GMT
    Well first, let me say you are to be commended for your efforts and for taking the initiative to keep peace. I can absolutely relate (not because I've been in a condo such as you are, but I love my yard and you really are doing the work (and the two other couples are benefitting from your efforts).

    I really do applaud and emphasize that you have been responsible at every turn. I would be entirely where you are now. My suggestion, pull them aside when they are down walking the dog the next time (don't go to their place) and talk to them about the work you are doing on the property. Remind them that you love the work and that it benefits all in the building and that you appreciate the effort they are taking to clean up their dogs droppings (ignore what happened when you stepped in it the other day).
    I'd also say something like, "so many pet owners don't take the responsibility to clean up after their animals, I'm glad you are making the effort" and end by saying how nice it is to be living there.

    You might say, "why" take that tact. Its a reminder in a positive vein.
    If things go south in the future and they don't clean up, you have made EVERY effort. Go the extra mile and be positive, maybe you can circumvent the problems.
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    Apr 21, 2010 7:15 PM GMT
    DjDorchester said
    Caslon14000 saidCheck with your municipal health dept. They might be able to write them a citation.



    That's certainly one approach, and I wouldn't hesitate if there were already problems or it was a huge building and we didn't know them well. But they are friends (or once were) and it's just a three-unit house, and I don't know... I was hoping I could handle it peacefully. Maybe that's not possible.

    And when you get done, stop dropping your own doggy bombs on here.
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    Apr 21, 2010 7:17 PM GMT
    scottnphoenix said
    Caslon14000 saidCheck with your municipal health dept. They might be able to write them a citation.

    That is a good idea, or the animal control department. They are the ones that usually issue citations for improper animal behavior.

    I had the same problem where I live and it is in the condo rules that all dogs must be on a leash and they must pick up after them. If they do not follow the rules, we issue them a citation that they have to pay by the next association meeting. If they do not pay it, then we put a lien on their condo. Works really well. I live on one of the dog runs and gave out 5 citations the first week we started doing this and no longer have any problems.

    Good luck to you and I hope it all works out.



    This seems a bit harsh to me. Going out of your way to bring an outside agency? And this wouldnt really work within his living situation because he mentioned that he didnt have a contract per se. Citing an owner for an unleashed dog (that is friendly) is simply a rude/hateful gesture.

    Anyway, since they are his direct neighbors, the situation is more delicate.

    I think perhaps a couple more emails (friendly ones - kill them with kindness), and maybe picking up the poop and making them see how much poop accrues in a week.... as a visual for them to get the picture... would be helpful. Try to remember that having a dog is a lot of work and sometimes we owners get tired. BUT, its okay to prod them gently. they need to pull their weight in the community.
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    Apr 21, 2010 7:17 PM GMT
    Caslon14000 said
    DjDorchester said
    Caslon14000 saidCheck with your municipal health dept. They might be able to write them a citation.



    That's certainly one approach, and I wouldn't hesitate if there were already problems or it was a huge building and we didn't know them well. But they are friends (or once were) and it's just a three-unit house, and I don't know... I was hoping I could handle it peacefully. Maybe that's not possible.

    And when you get done, stop dropping your own doggy bombs on here.



    I'm not sure what you mean.

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    Apr 21, 2010 7:32 PM GMT
    ZbmwM5 said
    scottnphoenix said
    Caslon14000 saidCheck with your municipal health dept. They might be able to write them a citation.

    That is a good idea, or the animal control department. They are the ones that usually issue citations for improper animal behavior.

    I had the same problem where I live and it is in the condo rules that all dogs must be on a leash and they must pick up after them. If they do not follow the rules, we issue them a citation that they have to pay by the next association meeting. If they do not pay it, then we put a lien on their condo. Works really well. I live on one of the dog runs and gave out 5 citations the first week we started doing this and no longer have any problems.

    Good luck to you and I hope it all works out.



    This seems a bit harsh to me. Going out of your way to bring an outside agency? And this wouldnt really work within his living situation because he mentioned that he didnt have a contract per se. Citing an owner for an unleashed dog (that is friendly) is simply a rude/hateful gesture.

    Anyway, since they are his direct neighbors, the situation is more delicate.

    I think perhaps a couple more emails (friendly ones - kill them with kindness), and maybe picking up the poop and making them see how much poop accrues in a week.... as a visual for them to get the picture... would be helpful. Try to remember that having a dog is a lot of work and sometimes we owners get tired. BUT, its okay to prod them gently. they need to pull their weight in the community.


    I am the president of a 105-unit condo complex. Nothing brings an owner into compliance than the threat of calling the Health dept or some other gov't agency. He asked nicely. They have shown they dont intend to comply. Dicking around with them with get him nowhere. Call the Health dept and get it over with. If they were really friends, they would have responded to the first request. They werent friends before, they wont ever be friends. And no one needs friends like that anyway. But they will respect him and his word in the future.

    I can assure you when an issue gets as high as the president of our condo association, people know the time for fooling around is over. Nailed one owner in court for a $2000 debt. She ended up paying over $20,000. She had given the condo and board problems for 25 years before that. Havent seen her since.
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    Apr 21, 2010 7:33 PM GMT
    "I would never put my cat's litter box in the front common hallway, for example. How is this any different, I ask"

    This is EXACTLY what you should do, and when they complain, tell them off.

    But I'm kind of an asshole
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    Apr 21, 2010 7:34 PM GMT
    DjDorchester saidI'm not sure what you mean.

    Think. Think hard.
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    Apr 21, 2010 8:09 PM GMT
    PAJohn saidMaybe it's time to leave a few Snausages laced with arsenic laying around the back yard.


    Awwww.... I do like the dogs. It's not their fault. It's the owners who are irresponsible.

    I do think stuff like this reflects badly on dog owners, and that's too bad because there are plenty or responsible owners out there.

    I love living in the city... I love owning rather than renting... basically I have to make the best of living in a condo, so I put up with a lot. From reading what people say here, it seems like I'll take a rational approach and go one step at a time, elevating my response each time. I've only hit them with one friendly email so far...