Single mum responds to neighbour's letter about 'unsettling' dog act

The Sydney mum addressed the long complaint letter from neighbours in her local Facebook group.

A single mum is at a loss as to how she can appease neighbours complaining about her barking dog in a long, anonymous letter she found pinned to her back gate.

The woman in Sydney's eastern suburbs responded to the letter in a local Facebook group as she did not know which neighbours were responsible for the letter that claimed to address the concerns of people on three different streets in Randwick.

The seemingly-polite letter began by apologising for writing the complaint before addressing the concerns of neighbours who found her dog's barking "unsettling".

A photo of Jasper and a photo of the letter the Sydney woman received.
A Sydney woman received a long letter from frustrated neighbours about her dog Jasper's barking. Source: Facebook/Coogee and Randwick Local Loop

"We understand that dogs will bark but some neighbours feel it is a little unfair and a little inconsiderate that the dogs are allowed outside to do so from 6am, which is awakening neighbours as the barking is echoing throughout the neighbouring streets," it read.

"You have some neighbours who are police, nurses and other shift workers who have just finished a night shift and are trying to get some sleep at this time of the early morning. We also have two elderly care homes nearby to which this is causing some residents to become distressed due to being woken in the early morning.

They asked the dog's owner if she could consider taking her dog for a walk at 6am if she's "already up and about".

They also said they had reached out to the RSPCA who advised they "make a complaint to council", however decided to write the letter instead hoping the "concern is taken seriously" and a solution can be found. The neighbours said they tried on several occasions to come to the woman's home to discuss the matter.

Mum explains her side to the story

After receiving the note, the mum took to social media to address the neighbours, who hadn't left their names or numbers. She also attached a photo of her dog Jasper.

"You’ve suggested that since I am up at 6am when neighbours are trying to sleep, I walk him at that time... it simply isn’t possible," she wrote, also mentioning Jasper is walked at least once a day.

"As a single mother, I am up at 5.15am preparing school lunches, breakfasts, organising school bags and getting two children ready for sports training and/or school and myself either to clients offices, or at my home office for the day."

She labelled Jasper's barking as "territorial" and "rare late at night". She said she tries to do everything possible to quieten him such as "call or reassure him" when he does bark.

"Since delivery vehicles and personnel almost always park by our gate or garage for everyone’s deliveries, he is still likely to bark at the gate when they are around during the day because I would be reported to the RSPCA for cruelty to animals if I kept him inside all day," she continued.

"Inevitably night shift workers sleep when deliveries are made by day so it’s a tricky coexistence."

Mum takes 'immediate' action, no response from neighbours

The mum encouraged the "unhappy" neighbours to come forward to discuss the matter in person, finding the choice of an anonymous letter both "disappointing" and "distressing," however told Yahoo News Australia that she is still waiting a week later.

"I’ve reached out to my anonymous neighbour by leaving them a note ... and addressing their concerns where they left theirs on my gate, but almost a week later they have not collected it," she said.

"That suggests to me they are not interested in real collaboration or resolution. It’s a shame when some of us just genuinely wish to promote sincere neighbourly relations."

She also kindly made a few changes. "Because I don’t like the idea of others suffering, I took immediate step. I locked his access to the outside after 8pm, and before 7am."

"On the advice of response to my post I immediately began training him with a calm/quiet command when he goes to bark at people at the back gate — even if he’s doing so from inside —using treats. It’s working well."

Social media blast neighbour's complaint

Most people commenting online thought the neighbours were being "condescending" and impractical.

"Dogs bark. We live in a densely populated area and as such, it is noisy. 6am is the start of the day and its certainly not uncommon to hear dogs barking, toddlers crying, loud motorbikes, cars reversing out of driveways, birds chirping, noisy neighbours coming in and out of apartment buildings," one person said.

"Clearly that letter was written by a single busybody Karen (or male version of same). It’s absolute garbage to suggest that this letter is on behalf of a collective of neighbours," another person said. While a few thought "barking dogs are a pain in the butt".

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