By Ruthie DiTucci
Featured image: Shutterstock Licensed to SyndicatedNews. The only purpose images with scantily clad women appear in this article is because most people who violate poop laws won’t read the article otherwise.
In unincorporated Orange County, along Killarney Drive, in Winter Park, Florida an uninformed neighbor who lives on an adjacent street, was reportedly telling local dog owners that the lake side properties along Killarney Drive, were “public property” and thus, they could take their dogs there to poop.
The opposite is true – every property along Killarney Drive, that is “lakeside” belongs to the home right across from it – none of the lakeside property is public – it is all privately owned, weeded regularly, watered regularly, chemically treated, landscaped and mowed.
The “mistaken” neighbor was approached and questioned by authorities about whether or not he was sending people to walk their dogs on private property. Not only did he deny it, but the authorities are certain he will never send anyone again.
What may not be commonly known is that home owners along Killarney Drive, pay real estate taxes for the privilege of owning the lake side parcel that sits directly across the street from each of their homes.
THE MAN WHO FOUGHT CITY HALL
One of the homeowners on Killarney Drive in Winter Park, Florida (who still lives in the original home) made a formal request to the County Commission of Orange County Florida, 45+ years ago asking for permission for the property owners along Killarney Drive to purchase the lakeside properties because it was not being well cared for by its original owners.
The owners of homes along Killarney Drive (between Ohio and Clay streets) do not know that one neighbor made a logical, sensible presentation to City Hall on behalf of all the homeowners – he did not just benefit himself – and won the neighbors along Killarney Drive, the right to purchase the lakeside property. Those families aren’t just taking advantage of their proximity to the lake – they pay real estate taxes for that property.
The property had been bequeathed by a private family to the Kiwanis (almost 100 years ago) so that the Boy Scouts would have a place to picnic and have sleepovers. The Kiwanis + Boyscouts programs failed miserably (hence the multi-billion dollar lawsuits).
It was a very good fiduciary move to have the local families take over the lake edge properties because that entire strip of land adjacent to Lake Killarney has been producing real estate tax revenue for the county ever since.
Yet almost daily, dog walkers and pet owners bring their dogs, (sometimes on leashes sometimes not) to poop on the private properties along Killarney Drive. Pet owner rights versus real estate property owner rights is what this article is about.
WHOSE RIGHTS TAKE PRECEDENT?
You can bet that every time a dog walker or a pet owner has brought his or her pet to relieve itself on public or private property, some camera nearby has recorded the incident. The “RING effect” is present all over the world (both on commercial and residential real estate).
If you are on someone’s private property, your rights are not more important than the property rights you are violating. The property owner on whose land you are trespassing owns your photograph once you come onto the property owner’s land and are photographed or videotaped. The property owner has the last word and final say as to how the photograph is used. It’s their land after all.
Globally, there are no “right to poop” laws for domesticated animals (pets). The only right to poop laws that exist internationally, are the rights of a land owner to allow his or her own pet or livestock to poop on his or her own land. There is no legal right for anyone else to bring anything or anyone on someone else’s land – not for any reason – none whatsoever!
THE INNOCENCE OF WALKING A PET
Consider that when a pet owner is walking a dog, that pet owner has no malicious intentions. The only thing on that pet owner’s mind is for the pet to relieve itself (and to do so quickly).
On the other hand, consider what the property owner must be thinking as he or she watch pet owners bring their pets to poop on the very property that they have spent hours weeding, watering, mowing, chemically treating, landscaping and paying taxes on.
Land owners often ask themselves, why pet owners don’t have their beloved pets poop on their own back yards and front lawns – at the locations where the pet owners and their pets actually reside.
During the last eighty years or so, the words “POSTED, NO TRESPASSING or PRIVATE PROPERTY” on any property (whether written in “PURPLE PAINT” or any color) was sufficient to keep the public away from private or restricted property.
In the past, the word POSTED (by itself alone) encouraged members of the public to walk on by, versus having their pets poop on the property. People certainly did not let their dogs loose on any one else’s property because in the past, property owners faced no legal penalties or prosecution when they shot animals wandering onto their property. It wasn’t a friendly thing to do by today’s standards, but property owners paid no penalties back then for killing someone else’s animal or pet when it wandered onto their land.
Image Source: Shutterstock licensed to SyndicatedNews featuring an irresponsible pet owner.
Luckily for today’s pet owners, society has evolved and in general, the public at large demonstrate care and consideration for lost pets. Today, strangers actually help pet owners find lost animals when pets are lost, stolen or just go astray. Even the security system known as RING has a “lost pets” section.
According to the American Pet Products Association, about 85 million American families (or 60% of the population) own some kind of pet. That still leaves 40% of the population that DO NOT own pets of any kind (and have absolutely no interest in pet ownership).
DOG FECES & URINE AFFECT DOGS, HUMANS, LAND
Dog owners do not realize that dog feces carries dangerous pathogens and dog urine’s acidity content is high enough to burn lawn grass in large patches.
- Brucellosis: Is a bacterial disease in dog feces that causes flu-like illness in humans.
- Campylobacteriosis: This bacterial infection can be spread to humans via contact with feces from both dogs and cats carrying the bacteria.
- Leptospirosis: The common clinical signs reported in dogs include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, refusal to eat, severe weakness and depression, stiffness, or severe muscle pain.
- Rabies: Being bitten by a rabid animal is only one method for your dog to contract rabies. Coming in contact with the saliva, feces or urine of an infected animal (whether it is dead or alive and whether the saliva is dry or wet) is the easiest way to contract rabies which can enter your dog’s system through its eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound or scratch. It’s most commonly contracted right through paw pads and between their toes.
- Ringworm: In dogs ringworm can spread through direct contact with the fungus. This can happen when a dog comes in direct contact with an infected animal or person or touches a contaminated object like a couch, comb, food bowls, bedding, or carpeting.
- Salmonella: Spreads mainly through feces from infected individuals and infects new individuals via the mouth. Dogs can become infected through contaminated food and contaminated water. International veterinary publications indicate the feeding of raw meat as the most common route of transmission in dogs.
- Giardiasis: This is a parasitic infection that can cause diarrhea, gas, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting in humans and dogs. It can be spread through contact with contaminated water or soil that contains dog feces .
- Hookworms: These are intestinal parasites that can infect dogs and humans through the skin. They can cause anemia, weight loss, skin irritation, and intestinal bleeding in dogs, and skin rashes, abdominal pain, and diarrhea in humans .
- Toxocariasis: This is a disease caused by roundworms that can infect dogs and humans. In dogs, it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and poor growth. In humans, it can cause fever, cough, wheezing, abdominal pain, and eye damage .
- What are other diseases caught from dog poop? E. Coli, and Campylobacter are bacteria that are excreted in the feces of even healthy dogs!
Image Source Shutterstock licensed to SyndicatedNews featuring a responsible pet owner.
EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY IN PUBLIC DOES NOT EXIST
Whether a private property has signs with the words POSTED, NO TRESPASSING or PRIVATE PROPERTY on it does not affect the owner’s property rights. Those “signs” apply to the trespasser whether the trespasser knew their meaning or not. As for your pet, well pets can’t read.
And remember, that in the eyes of the law, your pet is merely “a piece of property,” the same as a snow blower, a bicycle or an umbrella.
A pet is a beloved family member “to its owner” only but holds absolutely no commercial or emotional value to other members of the community.
Some pet owners even carry life and accident insurance for their pets, medical insurance for veterinary care and even traveler’s insurance for when they take their pets on vacation. Refer to this “Paw Policy” page for pet related insurance offerings. The Pawlicy Wizard page features METLIFE, EMBRACE, ASPCA, PUMPKIN, FETCH, HEALTHYPAWS, WAGMO and METLIFE as pet insurance choices. Many pet owners refer to their pets as “fur babies” or “their children”. Keep in mind that while a pet owner may love his or her pet – the pet is not a human being and has no significance in the law other than the value it has as property.
But in reality, once the pet (which legally is only considered property) has roamed onto private property where there are visible signs that read; POSTED, NO TRESPASSING or PRIVATE PROPERTY, the property owner’s rights supersede the pet owner’s rights. The pet owner is endangering his or her own pet’s safety when allowed to roam on other people’s property.
Take precautions and do not hide behind a Pet Insurance policy either. When you examine your pet insurance policy carefully, you will find that the majority of the policy is mostly unenforceable on someone else’s private property.
Globally, property owners now install RING cameras on all properties from private homes to their businesses or even their home’s back yards and garages.
TRESPASSER’S IMAGES WILL BE PUBLISHED
In our Florida neighborhood, we have asked people not to bring their animals onto our property to poop or pee because poop and urine, burn grass. Nevertheless, they parade their animals on others’ property anyway, so we have decided to publish the images of the willful people that choose to bring their dogs onto private property to drop their loads.
And be well aware, that property owners are within their legal rights to publish all and any of the photographs and videos their RING cameras capture of people parading their dogs onto their private property to pee or take a dump.
When a pet owner lets his or her dog poop in someone else’s yard, or worse, he or she brings the pet onto private property on a leash, he or she is publicly stating to everyone that they have no regard for property owner rights. It means they are only concerned with their own immediate convenience.
The act of allowing a pet to poop on someone else’s property, says…
- I don’t care about violating trespass laws and I know the owner may trespass me and my dog.
- I don’t care that my pet’s waste leaves pathogens or that its urine burns my neighbor’s grass.
- I don’t care that my neighbor spends hours weeding, landscaping and mowing his or her property.
- I don’t care about bringing my dog on someone else’s land to poop and pee – sue me!
- My priority is my own and my dog’s convenience – not my neighbor’s property rights.
If you live in the unincorporated lake side area of Killarney Drive in Winter Park, Florida (on any lake), do go ahead and call the Orange County Florida non-emergency police number to find out about your nonexistent pet rights when your pet roams onto or is brought by dog owners (or walkers) onto private property for any reason.
NIGHT TIME TRESPASSERS
The night of Saturday September 16, 2023 at exactly at 11:41 PM, these two trespassers walked right in with a flashlight like a pair of burglars! You can clearly hear them say that they are concerned that somebody’s watching them”. The possibility that they’re breaking the law by ignoring all the ‘PRIVATE PROPERTY – NO TRESPASSING” signs doesn’t cross their mind. Do you recognize either of these men?
The non-emergency number for the Orange County, Florida Sheriff’s Department is: 407 836 4357. We were able to reach a well educated Sheriff that is highly familiar with Florida’s trespass laws. He clearly identified himself and gave his assurance that trespasser’s pictures may be posted on the Internet (and our lawyers all agree).
And it turns out, that when a trespasser continues trespassing by bringing their dogs on to private property repeatedly, their photographs and videos alone will be sufficient to file a trespass law violation against the dog’s owner. The property owner does not even have to know the trespasser’s name!
Most communities have a non-emergency police number. You should call your neighborhood’s non-emergency police number to find out what your community’s poop laws are so that your pet ownership winds up being a joyful pleasure instead of a legal courtroom nightmare.
And as families go, the families living on Killarney Drive are not averse to pets. One of the neighbor’s dogs, (Ollie a champion Glenn of Imaal Irish terrier) has squatter’s rights. He comes in and plops himself against the cool tile and often falls asleep there. That tile floor is one of his favorite “cool” places.
The other dog, (Dakota the Dachshund), has vacation rental rights whenever her parents travel to visit relatives, etc. The dachshund is a totally entitled diva princess. We even have to warm her food for 10 seconds for her to make it more appealing!
Above image source: The pet owners provided photos of their family pets. On the left is Ollie the Glenn of Imaal Irish terrier (owned by the Brenner family) and on the right is Dakota the Dachshund (owned by the Yetter family).
TRESPASSING CREATES A CRIMINAL RECORD
When a person willfully walks onto someone else’s private property, that person does so at his or her own risk. Under Florida law, criminal trespass is defined as the willful entry into or remaining upon property without the express or implied permission of the owner or an agent. Trespass in a structure or conveyance that carries penalties that may include jail, probation, and a permanent criminal record.
THE WORD “WILLFUL” HAS A LEGAL DEFINITION
What defines willful? The legal dictionary defines the word willful as: “having or showing a stubborn and determined intention to do as one wants, regardless of the consequences or effects.”
The home owners do not even have to be home to tell you to get off their property. If the property has signs on it that say POSTED or NO TRESPASSING or PRIVATE PROPERTY, the property owner has met his or her legal obligation to “warn” people not to trespass.
In today’s highly technological world, many property owners have cameras videotaping all their properties whether they are present or not. That means that if you choose to walk onto private property with signage, and the property cameras record your visit, the property owner need not even contact you after the fact or even bother to learn your name.
PROPERTY OWNERS ONLY NEED AN IMAGE
Your photograph trespassing on private property with or without your dog is all the property owner needs in order to file a trespass complaint against the trespasser. Delivering the photograph to local law enforcement (police or sheriff) is all a property owner needs to do in order to file a “Trespasser Complaint”. And that’s not a little thing. Getting a trespass complaint off your formal record will likely cost you money!
After the owner of the property has made it known to the trespasser that he or she is not welcome on the property, and the trespasser does it “again”, the trespasser has just given the authorities all they legally need to file a trespassing case. That photograph is the first step towards a legal trespass case.
This matter has little to do with poop or pee – it has to do with the trespass laws in your community and the respect you offer your neighbors! Having your animal use your neighbor’s property as a toilet is the most efficient way of communicating that you don’t care about your neighbor’s property rights.
You should also know, that the photographs in this dog “Walk of Shame” parade does not mean the human is about to be charged with trespassing; it only means that “the person is on notice”.
It is not a coincidence that the trespassers are mostly the same people who repeat the offensive behavior even though each of them lives in a home with front and back yards where their dogs can easily poop and pee.
The images prove these trespassers violate the trespass law (even though there are clearly posted signs on the properties they trespass).
We visited one of the trespassers at her home. She gave us her word that she would never bring her dogs to poop again. She’s welcome of course, to stop by if we’re out there, to share a glass of wine or a sandwich (sans dogs). Hence, her images have been removed from the above carousel.
If you were equally arrogant and now find yourself or your dog on our “trespasser’s picture carousel” and want your picture taken down, just let us know. If you will agree never to trespass again, we will joyously remove your image immediately and we can instead, shake hands and treat each other like good neighbors!
With the facial recognition software available to law enforcement today, it would take very little time before the person walking the dog (or the dog itself) is identified. No dog walking service will pay for the legal defense of one of their dog walkers when the dog walker decides to walk pets on private property. And the dog walker and the dog walking service can be sued individually or jointly. The dog owner may ultimately wind up paying the dog walker’s and the dog walker’s employer’s legal fees for violating the trespass laws.
The answer is “yes”, were we to proceed, we would trespass the owner – the pet is innocent.
The act of trespassing does not require the property owner to stop the trespasser to discuss “whether or not” the pet walker trespassed on purpose or by mistake. It does not matter. The property owner’s recorded image or a video of the person trespassing speaks for itself.
CRIMINAL VERSUS CIVIL TRESPASS
Anyone walking a pet on private property that does so in spite of the signage, has already entered the wrong side of the law. You can easily be charged with criminal trespass or civil trespass and you should learn the difference because a property owner can charge you with either criminal or civil trespass, or both. Read the trespass law here…
The “no trespassing” signs themselves “are the original trespass warnings”. Once the person chooses to walk past the signs onto private property, the owner may begin a trespass case against that trespasser immediately if that owner so chooses.
What that really means to the trespassing dog owner, is that if you elect to violate a trespass law thinking it is a minor infraction and or a victimless crime (since you feel you are not hurting anyone), you are actually building a criminal trespass case against yourself.
The property owner need not chase you down the street or even bother to contact you. You have basically handed the authorities the evidence against yourself by willingly or carelessly trespassing.
- Criminal trespass is prosecuted by the municipality where the crime was committed, and the law is enforced by police and prosecuting attorneys. If convicted, you may face jail time, pay fines (or both).
- Civil trespass is pursued by the aggrieved land owner, and a private citizen enforces the law by bringing a lawsuit. If you lose the lawsuit, you typically have to pay the other person money, court costs, attorneys fees and the case may not come off your record for years (if ever).
Property owners may choose to sue you themselves (and all they need is your photograph with your dog on or off a leash on their private property to serve as evidence). Property owners may choose to call the police every time you trespass and demand the dog be taken into custody by animal control and for you to be arrested by your local law enforcement. You may think that’s a minor event except that these pesky trespass records do not just go away.
LANDSCAPE CHEMICALS ARE TOXIC TO YOUR PETS
Some people willfully continue to walk their dogs on private property even when they know the property owners don’t like it. Land owners that don’t care for dog crap have learned to chemically landscape their properties. Those compounds won’t just make your pet sick, landscaping chemicals can actually be lethal to your pet!
TREE HUGGER article details how chemicals
can infect your pet’s bladder
Do you take as much pride in your lawn as you do in your adorable pooch? A recent study found that dogs exposed to lawn care chemicals can have a higher bladder cancer risk. Once contaminated with those chemicals, dogs can easily pass these chemicals to their owners, children that live or frequent their homes and their other family pets as well.
CIVIL OR CRIMINAL TRESPASS RECORDS ARE PERMANENT
Most people have not yet realized that many property owners with RING service have already authorized their local police departments to view their home video security systems. Many communities share their home and business security cameras with their local authorities. In Orange County Florida, the Sheriff’s Department will ask for the property owner’s permission before they view home cameras.
If you’re a home or business owner in Orange County Florida, register your private security cameras with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Imagine having a great laugh with your partner as the two of you trespass your neighbor’s property and your photographs wind up at your local police station with a civil or criminal trespass complaint filed against you or your photographs wind up in the FDLE database.
Having a civil or criminal trespass action filed against you could haunt your professional life or interrupt it entirely. Imagine a corporation offering you a management position with a huge pay raise and when they run the mandatory background check on you, that pesky trespass event shows up.
MOST PETS ARE LOCKED UP AT HOME ALL DAY
The deep-rooted guilt that the majority of “working” pet owners experience, blinds them from respecting leash laws, private property signs and even the rights and safety of children and the elderly. Unless a dog owner uses a dog walking service, dog owners leave for work every morning and lock their dogs in their apartments where their pets remain all day – all alone.
The pet owner is well aware that he or she does not properly exercise their animal as they should. When these dog owners come home from work, they want to alleviate their guilt by taking their dogs out and letting them run loose and free to poop wherever the dog wants to go.
Sadly, but realistically speaking, people who have to lock their dogs up in apartments all day should not own pets at all. The guilt they carry transforms a normally reasonable dog owner into an unapologetic “bad dog behavior” enabler.
Rather than apologize for their pets pooping and peeing and keeping the friendship of the land owner, by immediately controlling their animal, the dog owner will try to stand behind an embarrassingly weak excuse to justify their trespassing behavior.
I politely asked a very professional looking man just last week, not to let his dog poop on the property. I told him it was an act of trespass. He became visibly angry and let the leash out an additional 6 feet so that his dog could go poop further into the property. I told him that it was disrespectful since I had just asked him to remove the dog. He replied, “No, my dog will shit where ever he wants to. I’ll pick it up”. But realistically speaking, we don’t want anyone’s dogs pooping on the property – the owner’s willingness to pick it up is of no consequence. If your dog can only go on grass then take it home where you live and have your pet go on your own lawn!
I explained trespass law and he sharply responded with “Look at my feet, I’m standing on the road. I’m not trespassing your property. My dog is trespassing. What are you going to do? Trespass my dog”?
Well of course not – he’s just a dog! The dog is an innocent animal, but this is a perfect example of how a guilty dog owner can try to justify being a nuisance neighbor (by using verbal force). We would never dream of trespassing an animal – only its owner.
And judging by how nicely the young man was dressed, I am willing to bet that if I scooped his dog’s poop up from my yard and returned it to his driveway where he lives – he would likely suffer a cardiac episode and call the police!
‘WILL YOUR EMPLOYER LIKE IT WHEN YOU FAIL DUE DILIGENCE?’
I’m not going to mention the law firm by name but I will say it is highly reputable and based in Orlando, Florida. A very promising associate being considered for a partnership had his dreams derailed by a long-forgotten trespass. His law firm partnership dreams were not dashed by a DWI or a Domestic Violence incident in college.
His dreams were derailed by his foolish insistence of taking his dog to poop on his neighbor’s property after he had been repeatedly asked not to do so. The neighbor trespassed him.
The law firm partners felt that if the associate could not respect his own neighbors’ property rights, there was little likelihood that the associate would respect the law firm’s partnership expectations once the associate settled into the partnership role.
The trespassing case had occurred way back when the associate was in college (9 years previous).
The associate had forgotten all about that trespassing incident that revealed his character flaw. That willfulness came back to bite him in the ass.
As for Killarney Drive, we will continue protecting our neighbors properties as we have always done, we will continue giving them a hand when they need tools and we will even cook them a meal when they need it. Nothing about us is changing – except our stance on your animals. Let them pee and poop in your own yard where you live.
We are all, our brother’s keeper!