DEAR MISS MANNERS: I live in a modest home. One pleasant Sunday morning as I was looking out the window, two young women with small dogs were walking on the public sidewalk in front of my house. I have planted roses for the neighborhood to enjoy. Curb appeal has always been a gentle “hello” to the world.
The first dog-walker walked into my front yard, about 20 feet onto private property, and allowed her dog to poop, with no pretense of collecting the waste. After the first pair returned to the sidewalk, the group walked about 15 feet farther (still in front of my house) before, incredibly, the second woman and her dog came into my yard. Again, the dog pooped on my property, and again, there was no pretense of collecting the waste.
What should I have done? In retrospect, I wish I had opened my front door and reminded them that they were trespassing on private property and that my front yard was NOT a dog park.
What can I do in the future? Put up a fence? I would rather not. Were they “entitled”? Do we now live in a world that is this lacking in civility? I feel like ripping out the roses and planting poison ivy -- and that makes no sense at all. Is there a way to make this bad dog behavior stop?
GENTLE READER: Probably not, but their owners might be trainable. Miss Manners finds that simply poking your head out and asking if they need a plastic bag -- or directions to the nearest dog park -- can be enough of a deterrent for most decent humans. But if you are not there to witness the transgression, a smartly placed “Private Property” sign is also effective.