DennisBeaverSeptember 1, 2017 • By Dennis Beaver  

 “About a month ago new tenants moved into a house in our cul-de-sac and it has been a nightmare ever since. The couple who own the rental–both in their late 70’s and suddenly in ill health–admitted to not doing any background on these new renters. I did, finding multiple evictions and felonies.

“Problems started at 6:00 in the morning the day after Mr. and Mrs. Lowlife, their two adult sons and menagerie of cats, dogs and a macaw moved in.

Macaws are giant bird alarm clocks, screaming at dawn. We heard this God-awful noise, looked out the window to see Mr. Lowlife putting the bird’s cage outside on their deck where it woke up the entire neighborhood, screeching and swearing for 10 minutes. And it does this several times a day!

“Daily, we hear this obviously drunk couple screaming at each other, the wife begging him not to hit her again. Twice, father and both sons got into a fight, rolling around on their front lawn which of course led to the police being called, but nothing happened. Weekends are non-stop parties with music so loud we can barely hear ourselves talk, traffic clogging the streets.

“What really is most upsetting–and why I am writing–is how their dogs and cats are treated. Here in California’s Central Valley it’s hot in summer and you’ve got to provide water for your pets if they are outside.

“We’ve heard these monsters yell at their cute little Chihuahuas, open the back door and literally kick the poor animals outside where there is no water! Their cats look like they are starving. We’ve bought cat food and tossed it over the fence and let our garden hose run, under the fence, to get them water. What can we do to help protect the animals? Thanks, Carmen.”

A history of violence in a home is often accompanied by cruelty to animals

“This is a far more common situation than most people realize,” commented Stephanie Bell, Senior Director of Cruelty Casework at Norfolk, Virginia based PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. There is a direct connection between human violence and cruelty to animals. In any home where there is a history of violence–to a spouse or children–often animals are being abused. It goes both ways. In a home where animals are being abused, often we have the same concerns about human residents in that household.

“There are jurisdictions which have mandated reporting. If Child Protective Services goes into a home and finds children abused with animals present, they are required to file a report with animal services. In some jurisdictions where animal services go into a home and children are present, CPS must be notified.”

Reporting suspicions of animal cruelty is absolutely vital

To Bell, violence or the threat of violence to people or animals is a red flag. “Report any such incidents to local law enforcement, and I cannot over-emphasize just how vital reporting is. Even without hard evidence, just a suspicion reported creates a record for law enforcement and a likely investigation. Later, if violence is witnessed, that existing report could be useful to the investigation,” she points out.

Of course, it’s easy to say, “Make a report,” but with neighbors like our reader is describing, fear of becoming their next target is a real issue. Is it possible to report anonymously? And if so, who should be called?

“Most law enforcement agencies will take an anonymous report and we recommend calling them first. But if they are unresponsive, call PETA immediately at 757-622-7382.”

Any animal wandering unsupervised is an easy victim

Bell notes that cats and dogs being allowed to wander unsupervised are often victimized.

“We find that some people perceive cats to be a nuisance. They don’t want them digging in their garden, or cat paw prints on their vehicle, and use them as target practice simply because they are there! We have seen dogs poisoned, shot, impaled with arrows, and intentionally hit by cars.”

So, what should be done when you see, especially dogs, wandering through the neighborhood, unsupervised? “Call animal control or 911.”She stresses the obligation dog owners have to “Not allow this to happen. If it is getting out of the yard, take steps to prevent it from occurring again.

If you love your pets, then act as if you really do.”

Legal steps to take

Videos of Carmen’s monsters next door will be great proof this family is a public nuisance to the entire neighborhood. A lawyer needs to be consulted, letter sent to the landlords, and calls to 911 every time the creeps step over the line. In time, it will work.

Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.