Eric E. Durnan - Letter to the editor


To the Editor:

What is to be done about a neighbor who lets their dogs do their business in your yard without cleaning it up? It’s easy to see in the snow where the problem is coming from. It stands out like a sore thumb in the white snow. This isn’t an intermittent problem, either. 

I understand that living in town means having to deal with annoyances. I grew up in a large family and learned from an early age to put up with all sorts of annoyances. However, there are times where an annoyance crosses the line into something more. In this case, it’s something filthy.

I’m generally a tolerant person. I usually tolerate people’s animals running through my yard as long as they don’t threaten my children or tear up my plants. I may holler at the animal to keep moving, and the reason I do that is because I don’t want them using  my yard for a toilet or tearing stuff up around here. I’ve already had one kid bitten by a black Lab running loose a couple of years ago. 

I have other people’s dogs and cats coming into my yard all the time. It’s just the way it is here in Wadena. Everyone seems to let their animals run. Cats and dogs alike come and pee on a pine tree near my property line. This, too, is a minor annoyance, but my kids don’t step on the tree. Rain washes pee away, but dog doo sticks around for a long time. It’s disgusting to step in, and I’ve got kids who play out in the yard and have to deal with it. I’ve had to deal with barking animals, loud music (we run chainsaws, so we’re not much better), loud parties, and a bright spot-light that shines into my yard incessantly, which caused me to switch bedrooms just so I could sleep at night. It’s like somebody’s high beam headlight constantly shining at the house. The list goes on. I’ve dealt with it all. It’s part of living in town. 

I also know there are things that I do that annoy some of my neighbors. We had a cat that was an outside cat for awhile. I know she went into other people’s yards. She was fixed and had her shots and was even declawed.  I never saw her do her business in anyone’s yard but mine. She had her favorite spot by a woodpile out back in my yard, and she buried it. Nobody walked there. The worst thing she ever did that I’m aware of was leave paw prints which I understand is an annoyance to some. 

I have fires out back in my fire pit, which causes smoke; my kids are noisy; and sometimes my son doesn’t point the lawn mower the correct way when he mows. Of course, when people push snow into my yard, it also means pushing rocks into it, and that doesn’t help with the lawn mower situation any. I burn firewood and have wood piles. I run a log splitter which is noisy and of course, the aforementioned chainsaws.

My mere existence seems to be a source of annoyance for some. I get that. However, I do try to be accommodating if someone comes to me with a complaint.  

My neighbors do things to annoy me, and I do things to annoy them. That’s life in town. The dog excrement crosses the line because it’s more than an annoyance at this point. It’s filthy. It’s also disrespectful. It’s a problem that my neighbors could easily remedy by simply cleaning up after their dogs. It’s not hard to see the problem in the white snow. The paw prints are easy to see, as well.

They know it’s a problem, yet they don’t do anything about it. I’m not asking them to change their way of life other than to respect my property rights and clean up after their animals. Am I to put up a fence? Is that an expense that I should incur? The dogs would probably just run around any fence that I’d put up, as they seem to like my yard for their business for some reason or another. 

I was raised to respect other people’s property. I have always tried to keep my stuff on my property, and I have always hoped others would respect my property rights in return. Whether a person likes me or not is beside the point. This is about responsibility.

Eric E. Durnan





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