How to address mysterious angry neighbor

moxiewild

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Hey everyone,

Yesterday my boyfriend and I were feeding one of our colonies and trapping kittens, and we had an unexpected visitor.

This colony is in a very wooded area behind a neighborhood. We feed behind the fence line.

It’s hard to describe, but we access this wooded area through a couple foot gap in fencing between some houses and just off a sidewalk that no one (typically) seems to notice.

Yesterday morning we heard yelling from outside of that gap.

There were a lot of expletives, and something about “I don’t 🤬 around behind your 🤬 house, so don’t 🤬 around behind mine” and “Do this somewhere 🤬 else” and all sorts of things like that. Very, very angry.

My boyfriend immediately went to go chat with the guy while I unset the traps to join him, but the guy had a been yelling from his car, and by the time my boyfriend reached him, he had turned around and driven off.

So… we have no idea who this is, what they know as far as what we’re doing, if something could be worked out, etc.

This was my boyfriend’s first brush with an angry person and it really freaked him out. Currently, we’re in heavy disagreement over how to proceed.

He wants to feed and trap during the day now, but I’m opposed to that idea for multiple reasons.

First, it’s extremely inconvenient, and I’m not sure if it’s even possible with work. Right now I’m not working because of medical issues, and he’s been working and going to school from home to take care of me, but that will be ending in the next month or so in all likelihood.

Secondly, it’s also much less discreet. (The evening is also much less discreet, as it’s a busy/active family neighborhood, otherwise, it might’ve worked).

And, we live in South Central Texas… most of the year it is truly, unbearably hot and humid. Feeding the colonies in the morning works for us because even though we still sweat our butts off every morning out there at 6am, it’s not a big deal because we just come home and shower before heading to work/school. I can’t take a (rather short) lunch break and come back to work a hot, sweaty mess, and he works/goes to school way too far to do it himself.

So, I’m of the mind of just trying to feed everyone an hour or so earlier.

My boyfriend is too afraid to do that though.

Basically, since this neighbor did not allow us the opportunity to respond and we have no idea who they are or where exactly they live, I’m not sure how to go about this and could use some input or fresh ideas. We have a lot of cats to trap back there so I need to figure this out as soon as possible.

I also want to note that in the year+ we’ve been caring for this colony, no one has ever disturbed the feeding stations, shelters, or traps we have back there.

We also have TNR tags with our contact info on the traps, as well as on the tree next to the feeding station in case anyone does go back there and has questions/concerns, and no one has ever contacted us. So it appears that no one really goes back there usually (or just doesn’t care about it).

That said, a few weeks ago our game camera back there did go missing. It’s possible the cats or kittens played with it and dragged it off somewhere (it wasn’t very secure and is a mini game camera), but I think it’s more likely that someone stole it, and the timing makes me think it might have been this angry neighbor.
 

Willowy

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Maybe a door stuffer made up with info about TNR, what you're doing in that neighborhood specifically, your contact info, etc. would help. If the contact info is on the traps they already have the option to contact you, so they probably won't, but it might at least make them feel more comfortable with you being around the neighborhood.
 
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moxiewild

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I thought about that too, but we don’t have permission to be doing this, and TNR/colony caretaking is also in a legal grey area here.

We try very hard to not bring attention to our colonies, and I have found that speaking in person specifically to those concerned has gone a lot better than passing pamphlets around to a general area.

In the past, that’s opened me up to criticism by people who had no idea what I was doing or that the cats were even there prior to alerting them :/
 

game misconduct

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i would just and just go talk to that neighbor man to man(your bf/not you) explain whats going on the reason /purpose of what i am doing to settle/workout any issues(property lines crossed etc.) without this yelling from a car like a punk and driving away kinda thing.
 

fionasmom

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I recall your other posts about this ongoing situation and am sorry that you have a new issue. I do agree with your idea about when to trap though given the heat and other conditions that you have to deal with. This guy drove up and waited for you?
 
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moxiewild

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i would just and just go talk to that neighbor man to man(your bf/not you) explain whats going on the reason /purpose of what i am doing to settle/workout any issues(property lines crossed etc.) without this yelling from a car like a punk and driving away kinda thing.
I would LOVE to talk to the guy, but we just do t know who he is or where he lives!

I’m waaaay more versed in TNR than my boyfriend, so it’s not a conversation he’d be prepared to have on his own. Many, many questions he could not answer, many suggestions he wouldn’t know to make, etc.

The driving away and not allowing us an opportunity to respond/engage, or at least quickly trade contact info, was really annoying! Maybe he was late for work 🤷🏻‍♀️

Also want to mention that we are certain that we are absolutely not trespassing on any of these neighbors properties.
 
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moxiewild

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Is it possible that the camera recording device was seen as an invasion of privacy?
Could this individual think you placed it to watch/catch him? Even if he was not doing anything, yet just objected to the camera?
It is impossible for the game camera to see into anyone’s property whatsoever since we either have it low and facing toward the fence from in front of the feeding station, or we film on the other side of the feeding station, which means it’s pointed to the woods.

There is absolutely no way someone could mistake it as being able to record anything on their property, it’s just very obviously impossible from those vantage points.

Plus, the feeding stations, traps, and contact tags should be more than enough to imply our only interest is animals.

I would understand the concern regardless (about the camera OR our being there!), but maybe leave a note and ask or something? If you know what time we come, then stop by and calmly inquire (like most people do).

We actually had someone else steal our camera and bowls from another colony and turn them into the police less than a year ago for the same reason…

I completely get the concern, I just wish people would be willing to engage before stealing, yelling, or going to authorities
 
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moxiewild

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I recall your other posts about this ongoing situation and am sorry that you have a new issue. I do agree with your idea about when to trap though given the heat and other conditions that you have to deal with. This guy drove up and waited for you?
That issue was actually a different colony where an angry neighbor also stole the camera! That happened almost a year ago.

But after talking to the guy a few times, explaining what we’re doing, and him being able to verify with our spay/neuter clinic that yes, TNR is a thing, and yes, I am a frequent client of theirs, we were able to resolve the situation.

Until very recently, we haven’t had any human-related issues with this colony in the woods.

I’m not exactly sure what the guy did… if he saw us and specifically left his house to find us (rather than talking to us over the fence, like another nice neighbor there did) and just yelled and then took off (definitely no waiting or pulling over), or if he knew about us and that morning just happened to see our headlamps in the distance as he was leaving for work, so turned around, yelled at us, then turned back around

it all happened so fast. He did see my boyfriend on his way to approach him, and he chose not to wait or pull over.

He also had to see when my boyfriend got to the street in his rear view, and we waited a couple of minutes to see if he’d pull over or loop back around, but no such luck.

I just don’t know how this guy thinks that what he did is going to solve anything.

I mean, he was so far away, that my brain tuned it out thinkIng it was just someone in their yard. Once my boyfriend gave me a look, I realized more what was going on, but I personally did not understand one single word he said and would not have even known he was angry.

He yelled at us from pretty far, he had to know there was a strong possibility we wouldn’t be able to hear or I understand anything!
 

fionasmom

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Another member with another thread was confronted by a neighbor who did not want missing cat signs on his telephone pole and did not want her to park in the alley near his house....neither of which he owns. This guy sounds like a similar mentality. I hope that was the end of it...he got it off his chest, was in a bad mood that day because he had a fight with his wife, etc.
 
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