, Derry, New Hampshire


April 18, 2012

Time to mend fences

Two Derry residents might do well to review Robert Frost's "Mending Wall."

The longtime neighbors — and former fast friends — are wallowing in a feud involving one man's dogs and the other's wish for a yard free of someone else's pets.

While "Good fences make good neighbors" may be the best-known line of the poem, it's really about the role the dividing wall plays in two neighbors' relationship. These two residents could take a page from Frost's book.

In this case, too, there is a fence, but it's not enough to keep the curious pooches on their own side of the barricade. They dig, wriggle and work their way into what they apparently perceive as the greener pastures next door.

The feud has been simmering for some time. Photographs of the marauding dogs have been sent to town officials. The dog owner himself says his pets are being unfairly singled out when other neighborhood canines step out of bounds, too.

The fight became public last week when one of the men contacted this newspaper to publicly air his grievances.

The police chief says it's a shame, that a frank conversation between the two men ought to be enough to work things out. He also offered a look at Derry's dog ordinance. The animal control officer wanted no part of a public discussion of the dispute. Who could blame her?

Whether it's dogs, boisterous grandchildren, frequent pool parties or teenagers' music, what happens in one back yard can often prove disruptive and annoying to people in the next.

Figuring out how people can enjoy their own yard without infringing on the enjoyment of others is what makes a neighborhood work.

Derry doesn't have a leash law, but it does have a dog control ordinance. Under that ordinance, dog owners must control their pets at all times and not allow them to "dig, scratch or excrete on property other than their owners."

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