Living next to the neighbor from hell

My neighbors and I just went through a three-week ordeal of our absentee “neighbor from hell” using her empty house for out-of-town guests, and a day care center with a pool, three barking dogs, and three rowdy children that belonged to another out-of-town guest. The noise began at about 8 a.m. and continued until 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., almost every day. There were parties, scream-fests, crying — all outdoors for all of us to endure.

The icing on our cake was when we found about seven four-inch round rocks that had been thrown into our yard. They were large enough to seriously injury a dog or break our glass table. It was clear they came from our offending neighbor’s house.

I went so far has to buy a copy of “Neighbor Law,” which was recommended by an attorney friend. I was shocked to find that there were few laws about noise, but not noise from children, and that throwing rocks by a minor wasn’t an offense that the police could respond to. We also found out that the city of Glendale doesn’t have any laws protecting people from loud, rowdy, misbehaved children.

A recommendation in the book was to write a note, which we did, saying that we believed someone had thrown rocks that could be damaging to our house or dogs and were very concerned. Not only did the neighbor not respond, but she refused to answer her door when my husband went to speak nicely with her.

In the past, we tried talking to our offending neighbor, emailing her, but with no response that was useful other then she had a “big” life and her visitors only came once a year and we should be patient.

My husband and I do not have children, but we have dogs that we keep a close watch on to make sure they don’t bark and bother our neighbors. Our neighbors are diverse, some are old and not feeling well, others have a newborn baby, and other families have up to four children. All except the absentee one are mostly respectful to each other.

Who knows why she’s so thoughtless? We have wracked our brains and have decided that maybe not living in the neighborhood makes her less likely to care. It is upsetting that in our own home, we have to deal with this. But I found out from a conversation with a nice police officer that we are not alone. Bad neighbors are all over, with children and dogs, who they feel they don’t have to parent.

Civility starts at home and whatever happens at your home affects your neighbors. Bad behavior can be stressful, making people angry, upset, sick, not able to sleep, etc. Often when someone is upset they act upset toward others around them. Before you know it, there are a bunch of angry people.

With a month and a half of summer left, I would ask each one of you to ask yourself, “Am I a good neighbor? Do I set limits of my children’s behavior? Do I keep my dog from barking?”

Roana Thornock

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