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How to deal with having a Karen as a neighbor?

The Story:
Me and my girl have been at our new house for about 2 years now and all is well except our neighbor who can’t seem to stand any slightest noise in the neighbor in the evening.

My dog barks (surprise) once or twice every evening every but from the first month we moved in, this neighbor has already made their intentions clear. We will not stand your dog barking as we consider it an affront to the tranquility of our street and house and we can’t sleep.

Since that time, I’ve taken efforts to control the dog on my end but even 99% isn’t completion.

Fast forward to last night while I was in the back, I think my dog barked just once, once again, the wife came storming out of her backyard and directly confronted me (over the wall) “this is the last FUCKING time… I am calling animal control…. We’ve told you a million times already…”and so forth.

Naturally, I bantered back. I was pissed. She was so distasteful in the way she spoke down to me. One couldn’t help but feel in her tone lied a mixture of prejudice (I’m asian, our neighbor is predominantly white), superiority complex, and bigotry.

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I’m not questioning that my dog barking is annoying her but the fact that she felt the need to escalate to such levels of extreme hostility in the two interactions we’ve had since we moved here tells me she does not intend do go about this peacefully. Regardless of what solid grounds she had, they were thrown out the door the moment she chose to become hostile. I would be open for dialogue if she went about this respectfully and civilized. For her, it’s an issue of power dynamics where one comes out the absolute victor and the other, the defeated. All hope of reaching a peaceful outcome are out the door. I think my mistake was not delivering a decisive real in our first interaction. Instead, I defused the situation the first time in the same manner Chamberlain did in the years leading to WWII by bending over (so to speak) and accepting “peace in our time”

I guess all this did for her was tell her I was someone she could intimidate.

The Questions:
Does she have any legal grounds to take away my dog? She threatened to call animal control and the cops.

How can I deal with hostile neighbors like this? More specifically, I want her to know she cannot speak to me like this if she wants change.

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50 Comments

  1. Whatever happens keep an eye out for poisons or other things like laced treats with tacks glass etc in your yard. Some people get tunnel vision on shit like this and get a hardon for their own sense of justice. I would recommend cameras as well

  2. Stand up to her and she may back down. If she doesn’t, let her call whoever she wants. We have a noise ordinance that starts at 10 p.m. but prior to that, dogs can bark all they want whether neighbors like it or not. I don’t think she can have your dog taken away for barking a few times…its a dog. That’s what they do.

  3. I’m a lawyer. I’ve also had a little bit to drink tonight. Please don’t construe this as absolute legal advice.

    Your neighbor has no right to tell you what you can do in your own home. Your neighborhood likely has “quiet enjoyment” hours (especially if you have an HOA) and your neighbor is entitled to you not making unreasonable noise 24/7.

    Your dog is not making noise 24/7. Your dog is barking occasionally. Dogs bark on occasion. Mine barks at the sky for no reason because sometimes she likes to make noise.

    She can’t have your dog taken away. And, as a matter of fact, calling animal control for your dog is a waste of public resources and she could face a fine for that. You should remind her of that.

    I don’t know what state you’re in, but different states have different harassment laws. You have a few options here.

    1) you can file a report with the police. Nothing will happen, but you have something on file in case it happens again (likely with this neighbor).

    2) record every next interaction with her. People like this are very camera shy because they know bullies generally don’t play well in public.

    3) get yourself a lawyer. If you feel threatened, or she’s threatened to destroy your property (your dog), this is grounds for a police complaint, and later a civil suit.

    Edit: I never answered your second question. In the future, document all interactions with the neighbor. And, get a hobby that makes an absolute fuckton of noise in the afternoon. I think someone else suggested that earlier.

  4. Legally, no- your dog your property. I would check though if your neighborhood has any bylaws or something along those lines about noise.

    As for her, if there’s no reasoning with her, I’d give her the silent treatment. If she goes full ~~retard~~ Karen, it might make for a handsome YouTube profit.

  5. Check your CC&Rs and make sure they don’t have provisions over barking dogs.

    I know in my city it’s against local ordinance if a dog is barking for more than 15 minutes and they can fine you, but I’ve never heard of it happening.

    If you check clear on those, tell her to shut the fuck up and that she doesn’t pay your bills.

  6. Lift weights.

    Smile when she yells. Your dog making a noise has the ability to make her lose her shit. It’s funny. There’s an expansive universe, and so many things to focus on and understand, but she let’s herself enter emotional turmoil over your dog.

  7. Call her a cunt and start playing music in the afternoon. Take up wood working and run a saw often. Tell her you’d be more inclined to listen if she sucked your cock more and bitched less, more flies with honey love.

    I find that if you act like an insane person, no one really has the balls to stop you. Especially if they think you might murder them.

  8. There is no defeating a neighbor. There is only escalation. Just ignore her the best you can. LIke don’t even engage. There’s nothing she can legally do about a dog that sometimes barks. What you MIGHT have to worry about is her trying to kill the dog (poison, shoot, trap, etc). So yeah, just don’t escalate and don’t let her anywhere near the dog.

  9. Step 1. Check local legislation about owning a dog and the noise they make. If its all good proceed to step 2.

    Step 2. Explain local laws to Karen next time she decides to complain unnecessarily. Bonus points for making a handout for her.

    Step 3. Tell Karen to go fuck herself.

    Step 4. Profit??? On a serious note though don’t leave your dog alone in the yard.

  10. First, look up the noise and dog ordinances in your neighborhood. Make sure you aren’t violating ANY of them. Make sure your dog is up to date on shots and licenses. Check with your other neighbor and ask their opinion on your dog to make sure you aren’t the one that is crazy here.

    Second, after that record everytime she comes over. Make as many recordings as you can and be as civil as you can. “I’m sorry he’s a dog it’s going to happen, can you please leave my property.” Everytime your dog barks, get it out and record just in case.

    Third, after you have a few recordings wait until she says something unhinged. Whether it be against you or the dog. A threat of violence, something vaguely racist, anything. After that you can either call the cops or file for a restraining order to keep her on her property and to not speak to you. In either case be EASY, “I do my best. My other neighbor has no problems. I just want to be left alone.” Don’t get mad or push hard just make it clear you want her to leave you alone.

    Finally, get cameras. If you do all this and she’s told she is in the wrong she’ll be livid and want some sort of petty revenge. I would set up cameras on the corners of your house and a doorbell cam to make sure she stays off your property when you aren’t home. People will throw poison into yards to kill dogs or hide bowls of antifreeze on a property (it supposedly tastes good and almost always kills them).

  11. Well the one thing I can say is that your dog definitely won’t be taken away from you. Unless there is an extremely specific law in the area you live, your pet is your property and it can’t be taken away in that manner. Even when it comes to animal control taking it because of bad ownership; a dog barking is what it does and it absolutely isn’t a sign of a bad owner.

  12. A lot of good advice in this thread. Its easy to say to just tell her to fuck off, but that would likely escalate things to a level that would be more uncomfortable than if you took a more diplomatic approach. Reading your side of how she’s already started at a 10 out of 10, who knows if she’s bluffing or if it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    In my experience from dealing with a batshit crazy landlord/housemate, don’t interact with them at the level they are willing to interact with you at. Ignore and immediately contact some sort of higher power and let it play out.

  13. pre-emptively call animal control and give them a heads up so they will have something on paper then when she does call them they will look at her with some scepticism, as far as the cops go let hjer call, also get a camera system with sound, night vision and motion activation. once that’s all set up let her have it, don’t back down and most of all ENJOY the thrashing the old cow will get

  14. Just be careful. She can’t have your dog taken away from you for barking, but she may try filing a false report about it being aggressive. She may even try to harm your dog. Be careful about things that may have been thrown into your yard, or new plants that she plants near the property line.

  15. I’m not an expert on the matter but I can’t find any legal grounds that she can do anything with a dog that acts like normal dog. The most she could do is file a noise complaint against you and even then I think that if you explain it to the police what is happening they would be on your side.

    As for dealing with her, I would reccomend you talk to your other neighbors, see if they are also having problems with Karen and if so join forces to politely tell her she is being a bitch and to chill out. Don’t be like Chamberlain be like Wiston Churchill and keep fighting ! Find yourself Allies, big strong neighbors like the USA and the USSR, show Karen you are not afraid of her tyranny.

  16. Idk why people are saying that nothing can happen to your dog. Doesn’t matter if it’s your property or not, if it’s causing a disturbance, it will be dealt with.

  17. Install security cameras for your yard, porch, doors. Start recording all the time.

    She’s going to be nosy and notice. She may just back off for fear of being on camera.

    If not, practice your firm and succinct responses to her usual tirades. If she keeps going, just repeat your phrase and keep it up. Remind her you’re recording.

    One of the best things that can happen is she reacts poorly and goes over the top and you have it on camera. Now some people are more mature than me and might call the police etc. I’m from the school of thought that people like her never learn their lesson so you have to shut them up.

    I’d take said recording, post on you tube, then social media and tag all the neighbours and plaster flyers at every street lamp and hydro pole and mail box with a screenshot and link with a note that says “neighbourhood watch tip: beware of off leash dogs” with some safety tips to follow to keep your community beautiful.

  18. I mean if you are making an effort to scold the dog or call it back inside when it barks what more are you supposed to do? I doubt there is anything she can legally do. But if she is crazy and angry enough she might do something *illegal* to try and get what she wants. I’d make sure your dog is not left out unsupervised. The dog may go “missing” if your neighbor is especially shitty.

    I have one neighbor that just lets their dog bark for hours on end and that drives me insane but if they came out and called him back then I’d understand. Dogs bark but you can react to it and get them to stop and it sounds like you have been doing that.

  19. If any other neighbours complained as well then she could make a noise complaint request or something like that and then she could probably get your dog taken away. Either way go to the legal advice sub they probably have deeper knowledge

  20. No she cannot take your dog away. My neighbors did this to me, too. They called the cops like 3 times. Cops came to the house but did not take the dogs away. Cops told neighbors that they should not call animal control needlessly.
    Eventually neighbors moved.

  21. Many cities have “barking dog” codes that do allow for an animal to be removed from the property, so you definitely want to look into that.

    On the other hand, many of them require a burden of proof so high as to be effectively unenforcable. However, better Karens are built every day, so you never know.

  22. > Does she have any legal grounds to take away my dog?

    no. dogs are property, it takes quite extraordinary circumstances for someone to be able to confiscate anything of yours.

    I would suggest getting cameras for your home. these sort of people aren’t actually interested in the law, it’s just a tool they leverage to their ends. there’s no reason to think she won’t do something crazy.

  23. Maybe also record her threatening you, if anything happens you will have some proof that she isnt a nice person, specially towards your dog. Otherwise its a freaking dog, im looking forward to if you ever have a kid, cause thats gonna be a lot louder 😉

    But seriously, dont let her get into your head wo much.

  24. I fucking hate people that let their dogs just bark all day with a burning passion, not only is it annoying but it’s not normal for a dog to act like that they’re probably being mistreated. However, it sounds like your dog is barking a perfectly normal amount so just keep an eye out for poison and cruel shit she could pull like that, beyond that you can probably just ignore it.

  25. I can imagine the police can, or would, do something about your dog barking. She is being highly unreasonable..it isn’t like your dog is outside barking incessantly at 3 AM. Not sure how much animal control would do, but I can’t imagine their response would be any different.

    But I also agree with a couple other responses here about keeping an eye out for poison. From just the little you have described her, it wouldn’t surprise me if she stooped to that level

  26. She’s obviously a bully. Ask her how a dog can bother her so much. How could she possibly hear your dog barking over her own yapping? Play loud music. She’ll forget about the dog.

  27. I’ve dealt with a similar neighbor. They will escalate and become more abusive and annoying so you need to protect yourself from them trying to use the police as a weapon.

    Just to help your worries; No police or animal control will take any dog that isn’t aggressive, obviously selected or abused. In fact, you want her to call the police or animal control because it’s a great piece of evidence when you sue for harassment.

    1) Get an internet connection video camera with audio (ring camera is fine but there are tons of options out there) for that side if the house. Download and save every single interaction with her. You should also get a camera to record your driveway and front of your house because spiteful Karens do stupid things.

    2) if she ever says anything threatening save that recording and file a police report immediately. This is a good time to get a lawyer and pay a retainer (it should only be about $1500 for the retainer and if you eventually win a harassment suit, you will add the retainer, cameras and lost wages for their install to the “financial damages” you go after.

    3) even though you have a camera, keep a log of every interaction with her. Take notes on what both of you said. This will later serve you in court or with the police as a good timeline and corroborating evidence. Besides, you never know when the mic on the camera can’t clearly hear what she says.

    4) kill her with kindness. Always be polite, never use curse words or resort to using insults. Same goes for any police, animal control, lawyers or officials you deal with. It will absolutely play in your favor once everyone gets annoyed with Karen for acting like a Karen.

  28. I’d get cameras outside with sound capability to prove the barking isn’t excessive. Dogs are allowed to occasionally bark. I’d also keep a close eye on my dog at all times (no time unattended in the yard and do a sweep
    If the yard for poison before letting him out)

    Finally I’d make it clear she isn’t to talk to me again. I’d tell her to fuck off and die with a smile

  29. Get a camera for your yard, who knows what she will do and you’ll also want to record any future interactions. Also don’t let her intimidate or bully you, stand your ground and defend yourself when she verbally attacks. If she does choose to take you to small claims court or call animal control she may have video or a record of barking, this is why it’s important to record interactions where she is confronting you aggressively. Lastly, tell her straight up that if she talks to you like that again you will make no effort to work with her and your dog to improve the situation.

    If she refuses then do what I do as a fellow asian and just say passive aggressive statements you know will piss her off, while recording of course, to instigate a situation that you can use to call the cops on her first.

  30. Look up your municipal bylaws or HOA rules if you’re part of one.

    I’d also strongly consider getting a security camera with sound for your yard. I’d like to think they wouldn’t fuck with your dog but you never know. Also the camera could be used to verify your claim that your dog only barks occasionally if you ever need to prove that.

  31. Fuck i have 5 dogs my neighbour has 20 another has 7 aint no body complaining,if shes telling you to be quiter and that she will call the cops she has no legal ground and i bet she will call peta or some shit watch out for that

  32. I think that if the police were come because of this, they’d call her a bitch and walk off.

    I don’t believe that if your dog barks then it can be taken away, that is just insane if they can do that

    I recommend telling her how it is, now, expect her husband, Craig, to come over and try to fight, but just try not to fight and make sure that he swings first if there will be a physical altercation. But then her husband might be a Mike and go “I know, she’s a bitch” and make you some burgers a week later.

    Just stand up to her, and follow society morals

  33. The one thing a karen can’t stand is facts. She is assuming you don’t bother to research local laws and call her out for her made up karen laws. She is assuming you view her as a authoritative figure that speaks for the neighborhood. Research what is harrasment on her end. Film her when she confronts you. Build a case.

    The extra work is worth it to see her face when she realizes that none of her bullshit is valid. They also can’t take a joke imagine her face if she bugs you in the front yard “i told you, im not interested in you. Go away”

  34. Get a ring or other type of camera that you can keep trained on your property line. Someone like this wouldn’t hesitate to make something up about your dog/you. I’d definitely try not to be alone with her if you can help it.

    An intermittently barking dog will not trigger police/animal control action but be careful with HOAs.

  35. Contrary to the advice in this is thread, it is not acceptable for a dog to be a persistent ongoing nuisance. There are rules which prohibit it.

    When a neigbour complains about another neighbours dog there is generally a basis to it. Rather than just responding along the lines of “fuck that bitch, dogs bark, deal with it”, it may be worth considering the impact your dog’s barking has on other people.

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