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Old 01.09.2011, 10:15
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the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

so we moved to switzerland last year with our dog (border collie) and obviously we live in an apartment building since that is the only form of housing that is available in switzerland. we are quiet and mind our own business, but we've had some issues with our lovely swiss neighbors regarding our dog...
we've gotten complaints that our dog makes the stairwell dirty. we got this complaint in the winter, when EVERYONE makes the stairwell dirty with all of the snow & dirt that they bring in. our dog did not contribute to making any more of a mess than i did with my wet winter boots.
then we've gotten letters from our rental agency for complaints of our dog barking. this is not true, he is not a barker. in fact, we got this complaint when we were out of the country for a few months and our dog was in the netherlands with my motherinlaw. before that, my fiance studied at home so he was home during the day and would obviously know if our dog barks. we also asked our direct neighbor if they ever heard him, and they vouched for us saying not once.
the next complaint was that there is too much dog hair in the laundry room. ok, this is valid since we share the laundry room with 7 other flats and everyone has a right to a clean wash room. since receiving this complaint, i have made sure to scrub down the machines and leave it spotless after we do our laundry.
last week, i got a handwritten note in my mailbox asking me to clean the rug outside by the mailboxes because it is full of dog hair. first off, this is an outdoor straw mat made for people to wipe their dirty feet on before entering the building. 2nd, it is not full of dog hair? i have no idea what they are referring to. and 3rd..it is not my responsibility to keep it clean! our rental agency has building maintenance that is responsible for that kind of stuff..go bother them!

i can't be positive who is harassing me with this ridiculous nonsense, but i have a feeling its the old cranky man on the 2nd floor. GET A LIFE!

i sent in a letter to our rental agency with a copy of the note and pictures of the rug and asking them to help resolve these ongoing issues because they are just getting out of hand. since receiving these initial complaints, we've gotten warnings that if we don't clean up our act we will be evicted. this just isn't fair! we have not done anything wrong and i feel that it is our word (expats) vs. swiss and we are going to lose!
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:20
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

Someone doesn't like your dog and wants you out. Find out who it is and see if you can get them to like, or at least, make peace with your dog.

Good luck.
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:21
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

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so we moved to switzerland last year with our dog (border collie) and obviously we live in an apartment building since that is the only form of housing that is available in switzerland.
That is absolute rubbish. None of my clients with dogs live in apartments because apartment life with a dog, as you have discovered, can be complicated. There may be exceptions to this, but very few.
Dog owners need to compromise on where they live in order to find dog friendly housing.

Warning letters are generally followed by a notice to move because the agency/landlord has enough reasons to want you out. In your shoes I would start looking now for somewhere else to live, and if you do find something, you might be able to make a deal on the notice period, etc.
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:23
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

Have you also talked to the renting agency regarding the apparently unfounded complains about the dog barking, providing the proof of not being in the country to make sure no one refutes it?

I am sorry you are having to so much trouble, but you need to keep calm and polite. Talk to the housing office in person and document everything you get regarding complains and proof of your innocense.

Bad neighbours exist unfortunatelly everywhere I have a couple of them too
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:32
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

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Bad neighbours exist unfortunatelly everywhere I have a couple of them too
Neighbours can be any nationality as well and this thread has nothing to do with whether your neigbours are Swiss or not.

One of my neighbours who has lived here for 30 years seems not to get along with most of the other neighbours. We get along just fine. Yesterday he brought me some apples from his garden and 6 jars of homemade jam.
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:33
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

That is just like our Swiss neighbour. She is such a miserable old hag that everytime we're there she brings round a cake for us; lets the wood pellet man in for delivery; lets the plumber; lets the chimney sweep in; gives us the history of the house; gives us cuttings for the garden.

And then there is the old man across the road. Awful guy, lets me borrow his chainsaw whenever we need it; removes tree stumps for us; gets us a cheap deal with the lumberjack to remove a huge tree; lets us climb the fruit trees for as much as we want.

The woman in the Kaserei is pain as well - we turned up 10 minutes after closing - and she reopened for us. How mean spirited is that??

Bloody horrible Swiss!

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Old 01.09.2011, 10:34
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

You need to move out.

If a neighbor dislikes dogs, your life will be hell. It's a simple fact of life in here. The phrase that I often hear is: 'Hundehalter haben viele Pflicht, kein Recht.' (Dog owners have many responsibilities, no rights.)

This won't get better. That you have been given a warning from the agency shows that they too want you out - they will not help you, they are only setting a paper trail so that they can evict you later. If you try to fight it things will only escalate - and your dog will be the one to bear the brunt of the mobbing.

Whether you have been treated fairly or not is not the pressing issue - first you need to protect your dog, and that means moving out. I am serious; many dog haters feel they have the moral high ground, society validates that view, and some folks will go to great lengths to get rid of dogs/dog owners.

I'll say it again: you need to protect your dog - which means moving out.
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:38
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

If you do decide to move out, make sure you visit your old place once in a while and leave the old bastard a few filled Robidog bags in his letter box as a memento .
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:48
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

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Dog owners need to compromise on where they live in order to find dog friendly housing.
Dog owners are forced to compromise on where they live because they are dog owners in the first place. If people who don't like dogs don't want to be bothered by barking or dog hair or tracking of dirt into the common areas, then THEY need to compromise on where they live and seek out accomodations that don't allow dogs and/or cats in the building, as there are plenty more options for them than there are for those who have pets.

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so we moved to switzerland last year with our dog (border collie) and obviously we live in an apartment building since that is the only form of housing that is available in switzerland. we are quiet and mind our own business, but we've had some issues with our lovely swiss neighbors regarding our dog...
You can go back to some of my threads from the month of May and see that you are not alone in this regard. in fact I had some heated exchanges with some of the people offering you advice now regarding this very topic.

I had nightmarish neighbors when I first arrived. Fortunately I had supportive, Swiss colleagues who gave me different perspectives outside of EF.

Fortunately, my nightmarish experience was in a temporary apartment and I knew it would end. My permanent apartment has been much more positive and there are other dog owners in the building, and overall my neighbors are much more understanding about the nature of dog behavior and the fact that dogs bring a rewarding and positive experience to life.

Getting out may not be easy for you, though. When is your lease up? Can you give your 3 months notice (or whatever your obligation is) and get out?
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:54
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

we definitely want to (and will) move out. currently, our apartment is a 3 minute walk from my work so I am able to take my dog out during lunch and save us the costs of dogwalking services. however, my fiance just started a new job in Nyon (took a small studio in Lausanne for during the week) and when my contract is over in February, we plan to make a more permanent move to the Geneva area together. until then, i don't want to find a new apartment in the burbs of Zürich for only 6 months.

the worst that could happen is that we get evicted before my contract is over and have to go through the trouble of finding a temporary living situation, which will be expensive and a total pain.
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Old 01.09.2011, 11:01
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

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the worst that could happen is that we get evicted before my contract is over and have to go through the trouble of finding a temporary living situation, which will be expensive and a total pain.
No, the worst that could happen is that someone poisons your dog.

If you are only looking at living there a few months more, inform the agency (formally) and your neighbors (informally) that you are moving. Knowing that you are going should get the worst of the complainers off your back and buy you some breathing space.

And until then, be careful - and take very good care of your dog.
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Old 01.09.2011, 11:04
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We also had problems with our cranky neighbor in the apartment building we recently moved from. She had all of her friends in the building sign a letter saying the dog was barking from 7 am to 11 pm all day every day (were not even up at 7 am so we knew she was lying there) and the gave 3 days as examples, one day we were out of town, the second she was at dog daycare and the third I was home all day. I sent the agency proof the woman was lying. I asked other people who lived above us and the wife was home all day, no barking. Next I set up a recording for 5 days while we were at work, and sent it to them for proof. You could hear the buses, the trains, the planes, the screaming kids, the dog on the first floor barking and the owner yelling at the dog - but my dog didn't bark. The agency was satisfied it wasn't my dog and said they would talk to her.

A few months went by, nothing from her. Then she started leaving notes on the door, when the dog wasn't even there, so I called the agency and told them I was going to contact a lawyer if the woman didn't stop. They talked to her and we didn't hear anything again.

The agency did tell me however, that they can't evict you for a barking dog, that it was illegal to do so. All they can do is tell you the dog can't stay home alone if you're not there. Maybe this isn't the case, but that's what I was told. If you really want to stay in your flat, then fight. Use your laptop to record the noises and send the files to the agency. Tell them you want proof of the barking/hair/whatever because you're doing everything you can to clean, etc. Moving probably is your best bet, but just because a building allows dogs doesn't mean it's dog friendly. You could still end up with that nasty person next to you who hates dogs.

Good luck, the whole situation sucks and adds a lot of unnecessary stress, I hope it gets better.
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Old 01.09.2011, 11:14
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

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The agency did tell me however, that they can't evict you for a barking dog, that it was illegal to do so. All they can do is tell you the dog can't stay home alone if you're not there. Maybe this isn't the case, but that's what I was told.
Jan, they can also force you to get rid of the dog. This means going to court, so most agencies will want to avoid that - but one should be aware that it can happen.

It happened to a friend of ours. She was taken to court over the noise her birds made - she had permission to keep her aviary written into her lease - and ordered to give up her birds, or move out. She moved out, of course - and then fought the landlord over the notice period, and won. Tossing her out ultimately cost the landlord a packet.

(Good on you for going to the lengths you did to protect your dog from the nasty neighbors!)
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Old 01.09.2011, 11:22
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

Maybe it's because I'm a not-very-objective dog lover (currently without 4-pawed partner) but I'm gobsmacked at the lengths some people will go to to get rid of a doggy in the district (either through the courts or OMG! through poisoning ). WTF is up with people these days??

Even when it's proven that the dog isn't actually bothering anyone and they are lying about the problem, they still pull out all the stops to get rid of it. Shameful.
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Old 01.09.2011, 11:27
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

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Maybe it's because I'm a not-very-objective dog lover (currently without 4-pawed partner) but I'm gobsmacked at the lengths some people will go to to get rid of a doggy in the district (either through the courts or OMG! through poisoning ). WTF is up with people these days??

Even when it's proven that the dog isn't actually bothering anyone and they are lying about the problem, they still pull out all the stops to get rid of it. Shameful.
My guess is that it's those small, shared, overcrowded spaces. At times I think we are on the edge of a 'behavioral sink'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Calhoun
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Old 01.09.2011, 12:01
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

What a sad and unpleasant situation for you all. As said though, not particularly Swiss. Poisonings and shooting of cats and dogs is much much more prevalent in France, for instance. And as said, you complaining neighbours may, or may not, be Swiss. Our Swiss neighbours all love dogs, and we all look after each other's animals all the time (+ garden, house, etc).

My daughter in the UK had many complaints about her dog barking when she left it alone in her flat. She was adamant that it did NOT bark - but then the neighbour (a nice guy who worked at home just above her) - did a video and there was no refuting the evidence- as soon as her car had gone around the corner, he started barking and this went on for hours. We live in our own house, but we always have an old towels to clean and dry our dog's underbelly and paws before coming in when we've been out for a 'wet and muddy' walk, easy peasy. In the meantime, try to find another rentor to take over your lease and find accommodation suitable for your dog. Being a bit further than town with a lower rent may well more than compensate for paying someone to take pooch out at lunch-times.
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Old 01.09.2011, 12:03
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

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My guess is that it's those small, shared, overcrowded spaces. At times I think we are on the edge of a 'behavioral sink'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Calhoun
It's not the small spaces, since there are cultures who decently and civilly live even in smaller spaces, without any of this poisoning rubbish, entitlement stuff.

It's about what people think they can get away with. Lack of kindness, egocentric antics, self importance. It manifests itself against weak members of the chain, as are pets, kids, etc. It still sometimes leaves me in a shock.

Last edited by MusicChick; 01.09.2011 at 15:43.
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Old 01.09.2011, 14:39
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

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we definitely want to (and will) move out. currently, our apartment is a 3 minute walk from my work so I am able to take my dog out during lunch and save us the costs of dogwalking services. however, my fiance just started a new job in Nyon (took a small studio in Lausanne for during the week) and when my contract is over in February, we plan to make a more permanent move to the Geneva area together. until then, i don't want to find a new apartment in the burbs of Zürich for only 6 months.

the worst that could happen is that we get evicted before my contract is over and have to go through the trouble of finding a temporary living situation, which will be expensive and a total pain.
And when that happens you will sent me a message and get our dogs together for a play date.

Im lucky in the sense that my neighbour has an annoying dog that barks all the time. It doesnt bother me though. And we taught Whiskey not to bark from when he was a baby.
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Old 01.09.2011, 14:45
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

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That is just like our Swiss neighbour. She is such a miserable old hag that everytime we're there she brings round a cake for us; lets the wood pellet man in for delivery; lets the plumber; lets the chimney sweep in; gives us the history of the house; gives us cuttings for the garden.

And then there is the old man across the road. Awful guy, lets me borrow his chainsaw whenever we need it; removes tree stumps for us; gets us a cheap deal with the lumberjack to remove a huge tree; lets us climb the fruit trees for as much as we want.

The woman in the Kaserei is pain as well - we turned up 10 minutes after closing - and she reopened for us. How mean spirited is that??

Bloody horrible Swiss!



I like our numerous Sicilian neighbors better
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Old 05.09.2011, 13:28
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Re: the Swiss make the best neighbors...NOT!

Thank goodness we have a farm. Our rural Swiss neighbors are a great group of people who respect our privacy as much as we do theirs but are always willing to lend a hand when needed. I give them all a thumbs up albeit it took quite a few years to meet some of them.

I couldn't stand to live around a bunch of busy-bodies!
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