This is a little vignette of a cat story from middle England and the middle class. I wonder how Americans would behave in comparison to these two Brits. It depends on the person; that must be the answer.
A dispute arose between two middle class neighbours when they came to blows over that perennially tricky problem between neighbours when one of them looks after a cat while the other does not and the cat defecates in the garden belonging to the person who does not have a cat.
In this instance, Douglas Pidgeon, aged 60, became infuriated with his next door neighbour because his neighbour’s cat was fouling his garden. I can understand Mr Pidgeon’s feelings. He quite probably has a nice garden and takes pride in it.
Mr Pidgeon threw the cat poop back over the hedge that divided the two properties. The man with the cat, Matthew Lucas, aged 38, discovered what had happened and then confronted Mr Pidgeon. An argument ensued which progressed to a tussle which in turn led to blood being spilled when there was a clash of heads.
It appears – and I am reading between the lines – that Mr Lucas made a complaint to the police which led to Mr Pidgeon being prosecuted for assault. Mr Pidgeon was cleared of assault in the Magistrate’s Court.
As mentioned, this is the kind of problem which can cause conflict between neighbours which is always highly unfortunate because they have to live close to each other – they need to get along. The big question is this: who is primarily at fault?
Perhaps the answer, as usual, is a common sense one and a compromise. Mr Lucas could and probably should have done more to ensure that his cat did not defecate on Mr Pidgeon’s garden if he was aware of his neighbour’s feelings about it. And Mr Pidgeon possibly could have dealt with the matter more diplomatically. The only solution, now, in this instance, would be to prevent the cat going onto the neighbour’s garden.
A lot of people don’t mind other people’s cats coming into their garden but some people do mind and I think their opinion should be respected. There is no law in the UK which says that a cat is trespassing when he or she goes into another person’s garden. Neither is the cat owner vicariously liable for the trespass of his cat and therefore there is nothing illegal in the process. Ultimately it is down to the people doing their best to act as a reasonably as possible.