Canine 'Calling Card' Woes

Dog owners and their neighbors square off about meeting nature’s call on front lawns
Fridays on the Homefront
Dogs and their walkers find Eichler neighborhoods ideal—long, friendly stretches with so much to sniff about. But at least one unsettling pet peeve has been known to erupt—over dogs lifting their leg on lawns. While battles on the topic rage on
internet chat rooms, the photo spread of Eichler owners featured here seems to suggest there's some peace in the 'hood. All photos: David Toerge
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront

We've profiled scores of Eichler neighborhoods over the years, and while doing so our photographers always manage to bring back cute shots of dogs and their owners happily strolling together up and down sidewalks.

After all, dogs and their walkers find Eichler neighborhoods ideal—long, friendly stretches with so much to sniff about…front lawn after front lawn. But, we've been told, at least one unsettling pet peeve has been known to erupt along the way.

It's about the house call that, you know, no one is grateful for and the calling card that no one saves. It's the scourge of unfenced front yards and easements everywhere, and these four-legged visitors have sent many a companion and neighbor to internet chat boards with grievances.

"Does anyone know if there are laws against your dog peeing on a property owner's sidewalk grass?" innocently inquired a post on the Yelp San Francisco board by 'Nilu r' a while back. They added hastily that the inquiry was "not for my dogs," but for "a friend [who] had a psycho neighbor stalk her" about it.

Apparently, hell hath no fury like a homeowner scorned, because a number of responses were quite heated. A few came to the "friend's" support, with one suggesting they "mace the hell out of him the next time." Most were not so supportive.

"The property owner is responsible and must maintain the sidewalk," grumped one. "He should be able to cut off your dog's nuts for that."

"I take my dog for walks, as you do," starts a Reddit.com legal advice thread from 2017, "and sometimes she pees in someone's yard. I've had too [sic] angry neighbors who yell at me to get her off their lawn. Is this trespassing if my dog walks into their lawn while on leash? While off leash?"

While most would agree that a homeowner's territoriality certainly should preclude unleashed canines, again, many replies were blunt as a pile of, uh, fertilizer.

"Yes, it's trespassing. Yes, it's illegal," sputtered 'SenorJuansie.' "You can go on people's lawns to deliver your paper route or to ring their doorbell to say hello. You can't go on their lawn to deliver piss."

No similar post set off a cyber wildfire, though, like one on an Ask.com board called Metafilter about 'Pets and Animals.' The post was subtly titled, "Pissed off: How to respond to neighbor asking my dog not to pee?"

This pet owner, beatifically tagged 'loveallaround,' was battling a neighbor whose rental home fronts their companion's preferred grassy 'uri-knoll.'

"I could purposefully avoid that five-foot stretch of sidewalk in front of her house, but I don't see why I should have to," sniffed loveallaround in a lengthy, hopefully cathartic diatribe. "My dog isn't hurting anything, we are obeying the law, and it's her crazy."