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Discussion Starter #81
Yup- a dog at large ticket. I told them I had no knowledge of any incident. I do use those trails- but they refused to give me time or place, so it's conceivable someone did see us-- maybe? Even if someone saw us, my dogs are allows under voice control... always. And even by their own description the report was a guy saw a female owner with two shepherds, dogs didn't approach him, weren't out of control. In fact I am starting to wonder if he even called the police or even saw us or...?

Just for a bit of background- the police in this town- this officer in particular- only have a HS Diploma and background check when they start and this guy is very new.

As my boss said he (or anyone) could call into the PD tomorrow morning and say he was chased by dogs near my house and they'd write another ticket --- or worse, with zero proof. He is pushing hard for me to go after the town for harassment. He said there is no way the law is designed to work this way.

I'm going to hire a different lawyer, for sure. Even if it will cost me.

JChrest- how could dog at large be a criminal charge! That's crazy- I'll need to do some research but I'm sure my lawyer will be able to give me all that information. I do wish I'd gone to court over the first bogus complaint but I thought it wasn't worth the hassle. Of course, live and learn!
 

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Isn't it a crime to file a false police report?
Yes. It very much is. When I was in high school, I had a cop pull me out of work to tell me some whippy chick who thought I was after her boyfriend called the SP to say I was vandalizing cars. Only...they already knew who was doing it. So the officer pulled me out of work to tell me I could press charges and advised I do so, until he found out she was under age as well. I didn't get to press charges but I did have a police officer who protected me after that ;)
 

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Yup- a dog at large ticket. I told them I had no knowledge of any incident. I do use those trails- but they refused to give me time or place, so it's conceivable someone did see us-- maybe? Even if someone saw us, my dogs are allows under voice control... always. And even by their own description the report was a guy saw a female owner with two shepherds, dogs didn't approach him, weren't out of control. In fact I am starting to wonder if he even called the police or even saw us or...?

Just for a bit of background- the police in this town- this officer in particular- only have a HS Diploma and background check when they start and this guy is very new.

As my boss said he (or anyone) could call into the PD tomorrow morning and say he was chased by dogs near my house and they'd write another ticket --- or worse, with zero proof. He is pushing hard for me to go after the town for harassment. He said there is no way the law is designed to work this way.

I'm going to hire a different lawyer, for sure. Even if it will cost me.

How can they give you a ticket without any proof that it was you? Not only would I fight this one but I might see if I can get the one you pled guilty to reversed since there was nothing more than a complaint without actual proof.
 

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This is terrible, and bizarre!
It's sad that when you gave in and just "paid" to get it off your back, now that seems to confirm to them that there is an issue and now things got even worse.

Anyway...
I think Steve's advice is sound and level-headed...
may have to keep them on leash until things settle down.
 

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How can they give you a ticket without any proof that it was you? Not only would I fight this one but I might see if I can get the one you pled guilty to reversed since there was nothing more than a complaint without actual proof.
They don't out here. The go out and observe once they have complaints. People get carried away letting their dogs run loose, animal control tickets a few, people spread the word. It goes in streaks.
 

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They don't out here. The go out and observe once they have complaints. People get carried away letting their dogs run loose, animal control tickets a few, people spread the word. It goes in streaks.

They don't here either. I guess our police like to have actual documentation before they are required to do paperwork.

A lawyer talking to the chief of police might end this kind of stupid.
 

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Discussion Starter #89
I talked to the Animal Control officer in the town next door. She said they reserve "dog at large" tickets for the dog raiding the neighbor's trash while the owner is asleep on the couch type incidents. Anything else, usually a different law applies (or nothing applies, and there is no ticket). For example, dog raiding a chicken coop would not be at large, but either a menace or vicious- different ticket.

This whole thing seems like such a waste of time and effort- but I am of course taking it very seriously now. With dogs' safety #1 priority.
 

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I had neighbors who hated my children and dogs because they played outside and made a little noise. Not a lot. The dogs barked in excitement when playing and the children talked and laughed. Normal noises for a family neighborhood. They couldn't do a thing about my children, so they started complaining about my barking dogs. I explained I have herding breeds and they bark when they are excited, that they needed exercise during the day and I would keep one dog inside as much as possible. The other dog, not a GSD, was an outdoor dog by choice. That inflamed them and they started reporting me to AC. AC would not come out for barking unless the got complaints from more than one household, so they lied and said my dogs were running loose. AC came out to see the dogs. I would not let them into the yard, but I got my GSD who was sitting politely by the front door and he met her. He saw she was trained and under control. I explained the situation. I also told him they had threatened my children (another long story) and he said he would flag our address so complaints from that couple about noise or loose dogs were not acted on. He said not to let them get away with threats, but we weren’t sure what to do. I finally had enough and confronted them about the children. I said if they ever said one negative thing again about my kids, I would file a police report for harassment. They backed off but they made our lives very unpleasant. Eventually I called the police on them for another problem, which miraculously resolved itself after that, but the police refused to write them up. The threat was enough. Sometimes you have to fight back.
 

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In my case, it was misfiled after judgement. It should have never been filed as criminal. It was a puppy, not an adult dog, so there were certainly no complaints of bites or anything, just a loose dog. I moved to FL not long after, and was there and GA for 13yrs, then CA for two, so it didn’t make sense to fight it then, I would have had to make an appearance in court. So I did do that when I finally moved back to AZ, but they are taking their slow time to get it changed. The judge didn’t even ask me to speak, he said it should have never been filed as criminal, and apologized for mistake, but it’s still there when I search. I haven’t had a background check since then, so I don’t know if it still comes up as criminal when employers do a background check.

Our AC here is the police dept. They only way there are able to issue a ticket to you is if AC actually comes out and has to catch your dog, or someone else does and turns it over to AC, and they run the chip to you. It’s crazy to hear they issued one do you based on a description of two GSD’s and a female owner. Unless you’re the only one in the town with GSD’s. Even then, the officers would have to have proof of some sort that it was in fact, you and your dogs.

False reporting is a very serious offense. My neighbor got the book thrown at her fine wise, had to pay the city for all the times they came out (I got the invoice first, $500 for first offense, $800 for second, and $1,000 for the third) and I believe her husband lost his position as chief. I know he still works there, but he never brings home the big red chief truck anymore, so I’m just assuming on that part. The judge asked if I wanted to file charges, I didn’t, as what she did was already on record, and I still have to live next door to them. Them paying the fine and me proving in court it was not me was enough. They haven’t bothered us since. Even when we did have a fire going in our fire pit (completely legal).

I am a bit of a walking Murphy’s Law though. If it can, it will happen to me. My mom always told me if it wasn’t for my bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

I would fight my behind off if this were me. They are going to continue to harass you unless something is done. Are any of your dogs reactive around people on your property? If not, maybe invite the neighbors and some friends and town members over for a bbq where they will see interaction with your dogs, and maybe that will help ease the fears of the misconception they have about the breed. Just a random thought.

But yes, get another lawyer and fight. File harassment charges, file complaints against the officer, have your lawyer send Cease-and-desist orders to both the neighbor and chief of police. Make a long paper trail so you have backup if they try to file any additional charges. As for moving, if you both own, filing the restraining order overrules home ownership, and if you get the restraining order in place, the neighbor would have to “move out” of his/her home until the restraining order expires, or they realize you’re not giving up and will decide to sell. Worth looking into.
 

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Discussion Starter #97
Steve- yes. There is no real number of complaints, as a far as taking dogs goes, but certainly this is not a good thing and needs to be addressed immediately. This is why I need to hire a lawyer who will take this very seriously and is not afraid to call out the local police (in other words, not a local lawyer like I had originally who wants to keep good relations with police to work out deals for clients).

I will be moving, at some point, but it's not super easy to find appropriate property that is affordable close to work... we have a real affordable housing crisis being a tourist town - within driving distance of a city where people often earn double what you'd make here for the same job... and then buy a vacation home and AirBnB it... same old story lots of places.

Luv Shepherds- if this was being dealt with by an Animal Control officer I think the outcome would be very different. That sounds miserable!
 

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I could fill the whole 10 pages of this with the drama that went on for a couple of years across the street. To gain some sanity, I called the SO and got two officers out who advised me to take photos of the dogs on my property (they weren't supposed to be loose at all). I did and subsequently they were charged. It took something like three citations & that many times in court (any party that doesn't show up looses) --- and then because of the behavior of one of the family, I got a restraining order on him. The story is long, tortured, but resolved.



It's easy to tell someone else to move. It's easy to tell someone else what to do. It's time consuming, somewhat intimidating and a bother to stand up. When I began my action against my neighbor, they had been not-quite-this-bad but "bad neighbors" for years. (we're on 5 acre minimum lots with one 20, one 15 and two 10s in my immediate "neighborhood") People were afraid of retaliation. I don't recall that I've ever worked that way. Even in grade school -- threaten me & I'll tell!
 

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Discussion Starter #99
There's a history of false/wrong complaints, too.

This winter, the crazy neighbor up the hill saw dog tracks on his property and swore it was my dogs.

I knew it wasn't. And told the police that, but even so was threatened with dog at large ticket and a whole lot of other stuff. Called a liar.

So one officer actually went up there and followed the tracks home. It was another neighbor's lab and golden. Who got loose and ran off and she had to go get them. No apologies from police.

This happened one more time. Dog tracks, neighbor called police swearing up and down it was me, and again it was the other neighbor.

While this was happening the cops also apparently went door to door asking if anyone had problems with my dogs. Apparently, nobody did except the neighbor with the labs said my dogs were 'scary looking'. Well, I can't really do anything about that. And I doubt strongly she got any tickets for her offenses which actually did have proof. And admission of guilt.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I realize, back then, I should have hired a lawyer. Live and learn.
 

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It is very easy to make suggestions- this is true. It’s probably the only thing in life that is easy. In the end you have to do with what brings you and your dog the most peace what ever that is for you.
 
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