DEAR HARRIETTE: My neighbor has a passion for weird pets. Normally this wouldn't bother me, but my neighbor also can't keep her animals contained. She has a couple of swans that wander outdoors. The rest of her animals stay in the house. I've come out to my backyard and been faced with angry swans trying to attack me! This has probably happened a dozen times. At first, I ignored it. Eventually, I called her to shepherd her swans away from my property. She asked me to never call animal control, and said that she'd always be willing to come and collect them. My wife and children are faced with them, too, and the birds have already bitten my wife. I want to maintain a relationship with my neighbor, but I cannot have her birds running about biting my family! How can I get the swans away and stay cordial with my neighbor? -- Scary Swans, Stamford, Connecticut
DEAR SCARY SWANS: Swans are not necessarily weird, but they aren't really pets either. They are wild birds that cannot readily be tamed. This means that your friend either needs to figure out a way to contain them in her yard or face dealing with the authorities. Because swans can fly, a fence won't prevent them from entering your property, though it could dissuade them from turning in your direction.
You can ask your neighbor to try a tall fence to steer the swans in another direction. Tell her that one of her swans has bitten your wife and you feel unsafe. Make it clear that if she cannot contain the birds, you will have no choice but to call the authorities.