How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71154
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
Type Your Law Question Here...
Jo C. is online now

Question regarding a neighbour provoking our dogs through a

This answer was rated:

Question regarding a neighbour provoking our dogs through a garden gate.
Hello, my wife and I own 4 little terrier dogs and my family own a few houses (some in construction) on one large site in the country. We live next door to a senior couple (in their 70's) we have known for years (about 30 years).
In the past, the gentleman who I shall call Max, has provoked a negative reaction from one of my dogs whom he knows to be easily agitated by such behaviour. We asked him to stop and actually, both my parents have suggested how it is unwise to act in such a way to the dog. This seemed to do the trick.
Since those days, my dog has had a litter of pups and we kept a few as we live on a nice bit of secure land we can exercise them in. Our property is fully fenced and my dogs do not stray (cannot stray!!) on to this neighbour's property. Our family has been building houses and honestly, I think he's a bit jealous and has said some jelly belly things to my parents about the new houses. My father being the utter clever clogs he is, has never risen to the occasion which we know he hates even more.
Recently, my neighbour has been setting the dogs off barking which I'm pretty certain is deliberate but hey ho, we all have strange neighbours and one can put up with that to an extent! However, a recent incident of this behaviour has happened which concerns me.
During this incident, 3 of my 4 dogs were outside roaming and basking in the sun. Max came down his driveway on foot which is securely fenced off from ours. Naturally, the dogs started to have a little bark but nothing remotely unsettling and that wouldn't have stopped normally. However, Max then came up to the fence where one of my dogs was and stared at the eldest dog (the dog from the incidents before described above). As you can imagine, my dog was barking furiously at him and clearly felt threatened.
My pregnant wife, whilst holding injured dog no.4 (paw injury that had just happened) asked him to kindly move away from the fence so that our dog would stop barking. Max refused and actually got quite verbally aggressive with my wife for really no reason at all. Once again she told him to move away from the fence as he was goading my dog, something he knew all too well. He refused and ordered her to 'come here and remove your dog'.
Having witnessed this, I came out of my nearby office and calmly walked towards my dog to be greeted by Max telling me my dogs were "out of control" and this is a "real problem that you need to solve".
I repeated my wife in asking him to walk away as he was provoking this barking reaction from my dog. Max became quite unreasonably bolshy where he told me "I don't want that thing on my land, she's already been over today". This is a complete false accusation. One again he refused to budge so I called my dog and in an instant my dog stopped barking and went straight in the house. My dogs were supervised the entire time and we were in complete control of them.
At this moment, I told Max how unhelpful he had been and asked him again to refrain from winding my dogs up as it was incredibly unnecessary. Whilst he was still aggressively arguing with me I walked away from what was clearly going to be a confrontation as this seems to be what he wants a lot of the time (remember my father not reacting to anything above).
So, my staggered question is, what can I do to protect my dogs and ourselves from this man?
We have wire fencing around the entire property and yes, if we erect 6ft high, wooden fencing around 3 acres that would largely solve this but it is financially unviable. As I think this neighbour is slightly senile and a shade jealous I am concerned that he could report my dogs and cause real aggravation to us when actually, this man repeatedly goads my livestock and is the one that insights a defensive reaction from my dogs.
Is there anything I can do to protect myself or any way I can draw a line in the sand with him via a letter. Should I tell a government body about this to protect my dogs from any legal assault from him?
Would much appreciate your detailed answer!!
Kind regards
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
So, in short, your dogs bark at him?
I'm not sure what you are hoping to achieve? I presume he can't get into the garden so the dogs couldn't bite him anyway?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo,

In short my dogs bark at him occasionally as you might expect from time to time but it's very minimal, perhaps 15 seconds and it's all over.

Today, Max goaded one particular dog into barking very aggressively at him which I'm convinced was done to also provoke a reaction from my family for reasons described. I guess it doesn't matter why he did it, but he did it. After a prolonged moment and after some intimidation on Max's part, the dog lunged at the fence once but continued to bark. Having witnessed the affair it was clear Max provoked my dogs.

No, no biting. No injuries. I am very concerned as I read he could report me/my dog(s) to the Council/Environmental Health/Police (whoever takes care of 'dangerous dogs') and he could potentially cause real upset as in his eyes the dogs are 'out of control' and he could say he 'feels threatened'.

What I want to know is can Max report me to someone/something that warrants attention from an authority on the above basis.

And I guess I'm asking, is there some piece of law I can use to tell him to stop provoking my livestock. Is it animal cruelty for example, or being a nuisance?

Many thanks

What I need to know is are your dogs able to reach him?
Please don't put yourself to detail. Just one sentence will be fine. If they were intent could they bite him?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No. Only if he put his hands through the fence or he climbed over the fence uninvited.

Alternatively, if there is a hole in the fence that I'm not aware of there is of course that unlikely worry.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 should not apply. It now does apply to private land even when people are trespassers unless they actually enter your dwelling house. However, it only applies to situations where a dog injures or gives rise to reasonable apprehension of injury. If your dogs can't cause injury then that falls away and the defintion of giving 'reasonable apprehension' is fairly clear within S10 DDA 1991 and it certainly demands that a dog is able to cause injury. If it is just barking behind a fence then there is no offence.
What he could do is complain to the council about noise nuisance. All they will do is tell him to keep a noise diary for twenty eight days and then if he does investigate themselves. Dogs do bark. That is the purpose in life. For it to amount to a noise nuisance it would have to be continuous in excess of twenty minutes or thereabouts depending on the council. There is no defence in saying that your dogs are being provoked and there isn't under the DDA 1991 either.
I suppose he could make a complain to the dog warden at the council but he won't be interested.
If he is going to claim that your dogs are getting into his property then that is different although nobody is going to act unless there is some evidence that is happening.
You can make a report but it is a waste of your time I'm afraid. i suppose you could get a solicitor to write to him on the basis that he is harassing you but it is a stretch. At least it would put it on record.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks a lot Jo - I just want to clarify a few points.

1. "You can make a report but it is a waste of your time I'm afraid." - just so I know, who would I report to if I were to do this at some stage?

2. I'm 100% certain my dogs do not enter his property as they are either with me in the paddock or indoors. However, if they do break loose, what constitutes evidence for him? Video, eye witness other than himself and his wife? Dog poo?

3. As we have had a few instances now verbally, I think we're not going to get anywhere talking face to face. I want to write to him to draw a line in the sand on this in an effort to say 'back off'. But also for the way in which he spoke to my wife. Will a recorded delivery letter be enough to essentially have something 'on record' should anything develop later in life?

4. Lastly, if my dog bit him but on my property (let's say he jumped the fence uninvited), do I have a defence?


1 Well, it is really a pre emptive report. I suppose you could call 101 or write to the council. Essentially the complaint would be on the basis of harassment.
2 If he is going to give evidence that your dogs do get into his property he is going to have to show some form of anti social behaviour when there - like causing injury or giving rise to reasonable apprehension or causing damage. You might want to secure the fence.
3 I wouldn't even think of talking face to face. You can't prove what was said. The written word has benefits because you can prove what you said.
4 No. The DDA 1991 now applies. Unless he actually enters your dwelling.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks a lot Jo - this really is the last question before I let you go...

Can you tell me what act and section the harassment comes under please.

Many thanks

Well, to be wholly honest, I'm not sure it is harassment but when you are grasping at straws S2 harassment is very useful.
It can apply to false allegations. It does usually require a very large number of false allegations. It can also cover any form of vexatious contact.
He would have a fairly good defence on the point which is that he is challenging you about a legitimate issue but if it is your wish to try to turn the whole thing upon him and set down early that you dispute the allegations then S2 harassment is the best hope.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Jo - you're a star.

Thanks so much and have a great evening!

The only other thing I can think of is CCTV. You can get audio recording devices now for just over £100.
No problem and all the best.
Please remember to rate my answer.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jomo1972’.