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I am experiencing the same problems as most of you have discussed regarding dog mess in my yard. The neighbors have no respect for other peoples property and every time we do improvements to our yard or home some type of vandalism occurs. Whether it is smearing dog poop on the patio, deck , tie walls, benches, in the flower beds and on top of one particular plant.
It is quite obvious that it is a human placing the nasty stuff throughout our yard, but it is a matter of catching them red-handed. I have a dog of my own who I clean up after each time it goes. We used to think that there was a really talented dog in the neighborhood to be able to squat and go on top of the tie walls that is 2 1/2 to 3 ft. off the ground (on level ground that is) and to pick the same plant to go on each time.
I can tell it is the neighbors dog mess, it is quite evident because of the size and dog fibers (color of the dogs hair) in the stool. Now they are spreading some type of lure that puts off a scent of dog feces followed by the smell of something dead or decayed. I suppose this is to lure in other strays and other types of wildlife.
You do realize you can take photographic evidence, or a video, print them up or burn the video on a dvd, and email the evidence to the dog owner's landlord. Most Landlords will not tolerate such behavior and typically wants to remain on the good side of neighbors and home owner associations.
The Landlord's address is usually easily found via your local property appraiser/tax collector website.
Film them and mail a copy to them. Ask if they would like a copy sent to the local newspaper or one of those funniest home video shows. Call your insurance company with a copy and see if you are covered against vandalism, let them take care of it. Finally show it to the police and ask them what steps you can take. Dog feces carries disease and bacteria. This endangers your health and is criminal.I have other solutions, but they are not legal.
We had a problem with neighbors behind us throwing black walnuts (which are like baseballs!) at the back of our house. Same thing John says, set up a video camera in a window, film them and call the police (non emergency number) to let them know you have a complaint and proof on tape.
I would want to get them in trouble legally but in the mean time...I think you can buy a motion sensor device that you screw into flood lights between the socket and bulb. Check at a place like Home Depot. Maybe you can point it so it would shine on them as soon as they enter the yard. Also, in the areas where they like to place the poop (such as the plant), I would string fishing line in a criss-cross pattern about 6-12 inches off the ground to trip them up. This may just make them angry but may give you the chance to get them on tape. If asked by the police, I'd say I was trying to keep my dog/cat off of the grass since I was having problems getting it to grow in that area. You make me feel so lucky so have fairly 'normal' neighbors. Good luck!