Showing the Squatters Out…

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New Material: This, That, and the Other

How do I get rid of homeless people in my neighbor’s foreclosed home?

Homeless woman asleep with dogs in public park.

Goooood luck!

First, know that in the U.S. the house is NOT a public place, as one Quora commenter has offered. It belongs to the bank or lending institution that foreclosed it. So…

  1. Call the police. Call every time you see the transients in there, because these folks will keep coming back, no matter how many times the cops tell them to move along or arrest them for trespassing (the latter is unlikely to happen unless they’re clearly using and selling drugs or storing stolen property in the building).
  2. Find out who owns it. This is public record. You should be able to find out through your county assessor’s office. If not, ask someone at the county assessor where you go to learn who the owner of record is.
  3. Contact the owner and ask that they secure the structure against trespassing and occupation by transients.
  4. They will not do this, so now you call your city council representative and raise hob. Demand that the city pressure the owner to secure the structure, and that the police patrol the area and evict the squatters regularly — at least several times a week.
  5. Meanwhile — this is crucial — organize the neighbors. If you do not already have a neighborhood organization, take the lead in forming one. Have this group put pressure on the city and the building’s owner, too. Consistently and repeatedly.
  6. Keep complaining. Put the immediate neighbors up to complaining to the police, the city, and the building owners, and keep up the complaints yourself. Persist! Success will not happen overnight.
  7. Find out if your city has a social service outreach agency for the homeless. Ours had to form one, as our city has the second- or third-worst homeless rate in the country. These people have proved to be surprisingly effective. They reach out to help people who are sick, addicted, or down on their luck, assisting with treatment and shelter.
  8. Keep it up, keep it up, keep it up, and then keep it up some more. Remember: the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

We’ve had similar issues here. It has taken a LONG time to get the problem properties cleaned up and secured, but eventually you can make it happen. If you make enough noise about it…

Dogs and Benadryl

Just for you: a chapter from If You’d Asked Me…the ultimate collection of bathroom or waiting room reading, A new chapter appears here every three weeks, usually by Friday. You can get a complete copy, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. For details, visit our Books page or send a request through our Contact form.

Section II: Going to the Dogs
(Or Cats)

29. Can dogs take Benadryl for allergies?

My vet recommended it for a dog that had an allergic reaction—briefly, only for an acute episode. Wouldn’t recommend it without a veterinarian’s advice, though: the pills you buy in a drugstore are formulated for a critter the size of a human and probably would amount to an overdose for most dogs.

More recently, my agèd Pembroke corgi became extremely ill after having been misdiagnosed and given incorrect medication for broncho-pneumonia, which caused adrenal gland dysfunction, labored breathing, and seizures. By accident, I learned that a half-tablet of Benadryl helps her sleep and eases her breathing problems.

Which is More Protective: Male or Female Dog

Just for you: a chapter from If You’d Asked Me…the ultimate collection of bathroom or waiting room reading, A new chapter appears here every three weeks, usually by Friday. You can get a complete copy, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. For details, visit our Books page or send a request through our Contact form.

Section II: Going to the Dogs
(Or Cats)

28. Are male dogs more protective than females?

Unlike the case with humans, female dogs are more dominant than males. That doesn’t mean a male dog is not protective, because the dog is a pack animal and pack animals collaborate in defending members and in defending their territory. But a female dog is likely to take the lead in defense.

Come to think of it, I’ve had a female corgi do her Defender of the Realm act when a workman entered the house, while a large male retriever emitted an alarm bark but hung back through the whole encounter.

What If a Cat Were as Big as a Labrador?

Just for you: a chapter from If You’d Asked Me…the ultimate collection of bathroom or waiting room reading, A new chapter appears here every three weeks, usually by Friday. You can get a complete copy, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. For details, visit our Books page or send a request through our Contact form.

Section II: Going to the Dogs
(Or Cats)

27. If domestic home cats were as big as large dogs . . .would it be safe to keep them as a pet? Could it be dangerous?

This question brought to mind my mother’s demented Siamese cat. Said kitty did not like my boyfriend. It was back in the day when young men liked to wear a buzz haircut, so his hair was cut about a quarter-inch long all over his head, leaving his scalp . . . shall we say, vulnerable.

The cat was an animal that recognized vulnerability when she saw it.

The boyfriend liked to hang out in the kitchen when my mother was cooking, partly because he loved food and partly because my mother was friendly and a cheerful conversation partner.

The cat would quietly take up a position on the top of the refrigerator, where she would lurk in silence until the boyfriend, forgetting the danger that he was in, would stand near the fridge and, oblivious, would become engaged in chatting. When he was suitably distracted, the cat would lash out and SWAT him on the head, all five claws extended. He would yelp and leap for safety.

Just imagine what that critter could have done to him if she’d been the size of a German shepherd!

Best Dogs for Policing

Just for you: a chapter from If You’d Asked Me…the ultimate collection of bathroom or waiting room reading, A new chapter appears here every three weeks, usually by Friday. You can get a complete copy, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. For details, visit our Books page or send a request through our Contact form.

Section II: Going to the Dogs
(Or Cats)

26. Are German Shepherd dogs the best dogs for security forces?

My last GerShep was trained by a woman who trained dogs for the police and the feds. When I would visit, she’d have a number of breeds that she was working for. Hunting dogs—esp. gun dogs like retrievers—seemed to be candidates for drug sniffing.

The local cops in our parts tend to favor German shepherds for harrying the perps. They sicced their K-9 pal on a home invader who had made it into my garage. It really wasn’t very good for the poor schmuck. Oh well. Don’t stick up pawn shops, kidnap the patrons, and run away from the cops.

Why Do Some People Favor Cats over Dogs?

25. Why do a lot of people prefer cats to dogs?

Cats carry a parasite that infects the mammalian brain—including that of humans. It causes its host to adore the cat, thereby facilitating the parasite’s reproductive cycle (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/rage-disorder-linked-with-parasite-found-in-cat-feces/ ).

This is one reason you’ll hear people telling you cats are cleaner than dogs (they’re not; they’ll urinate and poop all over your house, and the stink is impossible to remove), smarter than dogs (they’re certainly not), that their cats must be allowed to run loose to pee, poop, and depredate wildlife on your property, and on and on and on. Their minds may have been altered by infection with this unpleasant parasite.

The parasite, by the way, has been fingered as a cause of schizophrenia, among other mental illnesses:

Dogs may annoy you, but they don’t make you crazy.

Neighbor’s Barking Dog!

Just for you: a chapter from If You’d Asked Me…the ultimate collection of bathroom or waiting room reading, A new chapter appears here every three weeks, usually by Friday. You can get a complete copy, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. For details, visit our Books page or send a request through our Contact form.

Section II: Going to the Dogs
(Or Cats)

 24. Is it normal for the neighbor’s dog to bark at nothing every time it gets let outside?

It’s possible to train a dog not to yap, but it’s difficult. There are devices such as citronella-spraying collars and collars that dispense a mild shock that discourage a dog from yapping. While you can put these unpleasant gadgets on your own pet (if you must and if cruelty is your thing), you can’t inflict them on the neighbors’ animals.

Try taking a recorder—digital or otherwise—and placing it on the wall between your house and the neighbor’s. Then politely take it over to the person and run it, and explain that the noise is waking you up at an unacceptable hour and that the dog needs to be trained to quit yapping. Possibly you could share some printouts from Amazon showing a few reasonably humane gadgets designed to help with that training.

Good luck. Some people are reasonable about their pets and some are just not.

Protecting Pets in Natural Disasters

Just for you: a chapter from If You’d Asked Me…the ultimate collection of bathroom or waiting room reading, A new chapter appears here every three weeks, usually by Friday. You can get a complete copy, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. For details, visit our Books page or send a request through our Contact form.

Section II: Going to the Dogs
(Or Cats)

23. How can a pet owner protect animals during natural disasters?

What type of pet; what type of disaster?

If you are fleeing floods or wildfires, you will probably not be able to take your animal into an emergency shelter for people who have been unhomed. Thus you will need either to have sturdy camping gear or a couple of credit cards to cover the cost of a motel that will let you bring your dog or cat.

In an earthquake, you probably will not be able to move fast enough to get your animal under a table or into a bathroom where the plumbing may hold the walls in place.

Mercifully I have had no experience with tornadoes but expect that if you have a storm shelter you should take the animals in there with you and pray for the best.

In general, though, I’d say if you have a dog or a cat, you should keep leashes or harnesses in the car along with the usual stuff you should have for yourself: ample water, blankets, and a first-aid kit. Before fleeing, package up enough kibble or canned pet food to last for at least a week. Bring cash and more than one credit card. Bring a functioning cell phone and a charger that will recharge the thing from your car. Have a “go bag” that includes paperwork for yourself and your animals—for example, proof of rabies and other vaccinations.

In a really serious disaster that affects large numbers of people (the New Orleans flooding after Hurricane Katrina comes to mind), the police may not be friendly (they will be extremely stressed) and the weather may be inclement. Bring rain gear for yourself and towels to wipe down your dogs. Be prepared to fend for yourself, as your pets will not be welcome in emergency shelters.

When Your Dog Damages Your Friend’s Stuff

Just for you: a chapter from If You’d Asked Me…the ultimate collection of bathroom or waiting room reading, A new chapter appears here every three weeks, usually by Friday. You can get a complete copy, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. For details, visit our Books page or send a request through our Contact form.

Section II: Going to the Dogs
(Or Cats)

22. What is the right thing to do when my dog damages a friend’s property while visiting in their home?

Oh, horrors! You should have offered to buy or repair the damaged item.

One of my German shepherds once ate a friend’s (expensive!) sunglasses. Ingratiatingly strolled over, lolled around my friend’s chair, snuck up on her purse, snabbed the shades, and chewed the darn things up.

Of course I offered to buy her a new pair. My friend declined . . . but I’m afraid she wasn’t very happy with that dog. Or me.

Why Does My Dog Sit on Me?

Just for you: a chapter from If You’d Asked Me…the ultimate collection of bathroom or waiting room reading, A new chapter appears here every three weeks, usually by Friday. You can get a complete copy, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. For details, visit our Books page or send a request through our Contact form.

Section II: Going to the Dogs
(Or Cats)

20. Why does my dog sit on me?

She’s bigger than me but continues to sit on my chest. Is she protecting me?

I do not know what urge suggests to your dog that she should sit on your chest, but I’d suggest if you don’t like it, you should simply train her not to do that. Remove the pooch from the throne and set her aside gently but firmly. Say, without yelling or sounding unduly annoyed, “No. Do not sit on me.” (Believe it or not, if you combine a short sentence with a term or phrase the dog already knows, such as no or good dog, a dog can pick up the meaning of a short sentence fairly quickly. You have to repeat it a few times but she’ll get the idea.)

This behavior will probably not stop soon, and it will require you to respond consistently Every time she takes up her position on your boobs. But eventually it will work.

The dog is sitting on you because you allow her to sit on you.