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About JenDigs

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  • Located Darmstadt
  • Nationality American

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  1. JenDigs added a post in a topic: Neighbour's cats use my yard as litterbox   

    Katrina: I am training the dog and for the most part he is a very good lad. Like I said, we have absolutely no issues when he is with us walking (doesn't even give anything a second sniff, much less try to eat it!) The problem is letting him roam our fenced-in yard (as is our right and his) unattended.
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  2. JenDigs added a post in a topic: Neighbour's cats use my yard as litterbox   

    Shotte: Thanks and don't worry, I plan to talk to them before doing anything at all, but I have found that educating myself first as to the general rules, social mores and legal obligations is best. (My husband just wants to take their initial question of "You are not going to shoot our cats, are you?" and turn it into a reality... but- though I am not an "animal in the house" person, I am an animal-lover and would never harm the cats.)
    Annek: Just so I understand... if I were to, perhaps, get video footage of the neighbors various cats (4 for sure, might now be a 5th) using my yard as a litterbox, would I then be able to request action per the law? (I'd have to check with my Landkreis I guess... my German is not very good, but I'll give it a go!)

    Again, don't worry folks, not jumping to anything yet... will have a friendly chat with the neighbors first... I'm a planner and like to have my wee ducks in a row before setting on a path... (Just have to make sure I have that chat before the hubby starts to get really twisted out of shape... as the warm weather approaches, he is more likely to be in the yard on the weekend finding lovely kitty gifts and interacting with the cats...)
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  3. JenDigs added a post in a topic: Neighbour's cats use my yard as litterbox   

    Peter496 - how did you find that!?? Hysterical!! Thanks for the laugh!!
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  4. JenDigs added a post in a topic: Neighbour's cats use my yard as litterbox   

    Krieg- the whole point is that I have a dog who cannot roam freely on my own property... the goal is to get the cats to stop and let loose the hound...not to have something that scares away the cats AND DOGS... (Even an interim solution to stop the cats would be good, because once the pooch is in the yard, he'll chase them out!) :-)

    OK- nevermind!! :-)
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  5. JenDigs added a post in a topic: Neighbour's cats use my yard as litterbox   

    Stangabreck: If my dog went over and pooped in the neighbors yard, would I not be responsible for cleaning it up? Am I not responsible for cleaning-up after my dog if he poops on the sidewalk? Why are cats different? Reminder, there are 5 of them!! That is at least 5 poops a day in my yard! And, I have already talked to the vet and he says the dog is in perfect health and he imagines either 1) the dog will outgrow it or 2) "he's just one of those dogs who likes poop." (oh God...please not #2...)
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  6. JenDigs added a post in a topic: Neighbour's cats use my yard as litterbox   

    Thanks all! Some good thoughts there!

    Franklan & Emkay: I may not be a "dog person", but please understand- I treat this dog like a member of the family- he's really quite a lovely animal. He spends all day following me around the house as I clean, we take long walks together (not because I like it, but because it is what he wants and needs) and he is very well attached to every member of the family. He is truly, truly happy and calm and relaxed when we are all in the room together. I do not send him outside all day- he only goes out on a lead due to the poop issue- but I would like to leave him in the yard for a few hours at a time this summer so I can take my son to the pool or lake or whatever...

    His eating poop is, I feel, unrelated to anything other than an impulse to put things in his mouth...and once it is in there, hey, why not swallow? (He is 8 months old.) He has plenty of attention (positive), I did not rub his nose in poop when he had his only 2 accidents during house-training, I did not let him see me clean-up his poop... I read all those lovely advice columns before he arrived and my own 35 years of experience with animals has provided me with plenty of my own counsel. (I just am not an "animal in the house" person... grew up with dogs, cats, birds, horses, etc and really got my fill as a kid... just trying to provide a full experience for my child by allowing him the same positive experiences I had...)

    The problem, as my vet explained it, is that now, the soil is contaminated with nematode eggs which are nearly impossible to kill and live for YEARS in the soil waiting to be ingested. The only chance to rid the soil of the infestation is to burn it or remove it; and as the cats have apparently been using every inch of my 500 m2 garden for the last 6 years, this would not be a real possibility.

    I am hoping the dog stops this behaviour as he ages, but in the meantime, my husband is planting a vegetable garden in this poop-ridden plot and I am gagging... I'll talk to the neighbor as gently as I can (not really one of my strengths)and if they don't come up with better suggestions, I'll try the pepper spray (but of course, don't want this to affect my poor dog!) and invest in a few super-soakers. Summer entertainment for the boy...
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  7. JenDigs added a post in a topic: Neighbour's cats use my yard as litterbox   

    Hi all! I've looked around and could not find this topic, so I started a new one in the hopes people would see it and comment...

    Background: We bought our house almost a year ago. We got a dog (chocolate Labrador) about 6 months ago. My neighbour has 4 or 5 cats. These are mostly outside (only come in at night) and they use our yard as a giant litterbox. Our dog, being a dog, just loves to go hunting for those little cat treats buried under a sprinkling of dirt... We've been to the vet a bunch of times due to vomiting and worms and the vet says it is most likely because the dog is eating the cat "leavings". Charming. (I'm gagging as I type...I am not a dog person- got this lovely goofball because the son and hubby wanted him so badly... but I am the one home with him all day dealing...) The dog only eats this stuff from our yard when he escapes the lead/runs out the door before we can grab him... we walk him on a lead and he never eats anything off the ground under our supervision, so we know it is the cat poop!

    So, my question is: Can I hold my neighbours responsible for (any portion of) my vet bills and for the purchase of some system to keep their animals out of my yard? This problem will continue and I think it is insane that my dog cannot roam free within my fenced yard. (The cats just climb over the fence...) I am looking into the Catwatch system, but I really think the neighbour should pay!! I can't do the lion poop as the dog will just eat that! (Oh man...)

    It seems to me that I cannot fully enjoy the use of my land due to their cats pooping EVERYWHERE, so there should be some recourse.

    No, I have not yet spoken to the neighbours - they seem reasonable, BUT- when we bought the house, the first thing the asked us is "You are not going to shoot our cats are you?" Apparently, all Americans come with guns and use them to defend the borders of their property.
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  8. JenDigs added a post in a topic: Private Haftpflichtversicherung Classic   

    Hi all! I have a question concerning Haftpflicht... I am well-insured (have just about everything - probably don't need it all, but as I don't speak German fluently, nor does DH, we thought it best to be over-insured...)

    We had two cases where our son accidentally caused damage: once to a window at school (kicked a rock, hit a window- what luck!) and once while practising for his bicycle test he fell against a car and scratched the bumper. In the first case, the school claimed our insurance should cover the window. I thought that since the school was responsible for supervising him at the time of the accident, it was on their insurance; but when I contacted my insurance company, they said they would cover it. (I asked if this would reflect negatively on us or raise our premiums- they said no and not to worry, "this is just how it is done in Germany...") On the second occasion, our son was under the supervision of a police officer (and it was during school hours); so again, I thought either the school or the police insurance policy would cover... according to my son, the officer asked him if we had haftpflicht, my son said yes and the policeman then left my son's name and my contact details for the driver of the car and filed a police report saying that the incident was my responsibility. My insurance again said they would pay, no problem, no increase in premiums or negative affect on our standing.

    So... long story made short (too late!) I am just curious if this is all correct. Once you have Haftpflicht, does it just pay no matter who is really responsible at the time of the incident?

    Thanks all- Happy Sunny Saturday!
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  9. JenDigs added a post in a topic: Study finds Germans incapable of enjoying life   

    I was recently told (by a German) that there is a phrase in Germany which roughly translates to: When I want to laugh, I go to the basement. Anyone know this one? (I think this phrase says a whole lot about Germans.) Also, a German friend loaned me a book ("When in Germany, do as the Germans do") which said that you should not smile too much because Germans consider someone who smiles a lot to be mentally incompetent. Seriously!!
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  10. JenDigs added a post in a topic: Differences between Real Estate transactions US-DE   

    Thanks for that! (Sorry about the paragraph breaks- I was doing several other things while trying to time, I'll actually close the office door and have a good review before clicking "post"!!)
    I did not know a Steuerberater could do that! (I assumed they were really only tax/financial consultants... never would've thought real estate transactions could be coordinated by one!)
    Best- J.
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  11. JenDigs added a post in a topic: Differences between Real Estate transactions US-DE   

    Hi all! I searched for a few hours and could not find these specific issues addressed, so if I missed them, please indulge me... I'd like to have a discussion on the practical differences between real estate transactions in the US (or any other country, feel free to chime in) and Germany. Specifically, differences in terminology which may be misleading or confusing when only translated and not defined. We suffered a few shocks in our real estate transaction (despite contracting a Notar, a professional translator and conscripting several friends with more time & experience in Germany).
    I would appreciate input from lawyers (Notar) or real estate agents (Makler) licensed to practice here in Germany too!!
    First, in the US, a real estate agent may either represent the seller or buyer (or sometimes both, but there are specific safeguards to ensure the agent acts fairly for both parties.) In this arrangement (individual buyer and seller agents), each agent has a fiduciary duty to act in the best possible interests of the client paying them. (Which means the buyer's agent asks a lot of questions first-time home buyers may not think of, processes all of the paperwork, works hand-in-hand with the Lawyer and the bank and basically keeps the whole process moving along in a timely manner.) The same concept of fiduciary duty goes for Lawyers in the US. When the buyer contracts a lawyer, the lawyer has the same responsibility to act in the client's best interests. This is not the same in Germany. I have been advised that the Notar in Germany is not there to act in anyone's best interest and is in effect a neutral party there simply to ensure that the contracts are legally binding. This means that (in effect) the only person looking out for the best interest of the buyer in Germany is the buyer. This means if you have a specific time frame (say you need to give 3 months notice at your apartment), the only person watching that timeline is YOU. The Notar will not act quickly even if you ask- they will process your sale as all others, no quicker (hopefully, no slower). This is important to note because most Americans do not necessarily realize how long some transactions can take here and may not budget a full 3 months rent into the equation. (Assuming you only have a 3-month "Kundigung" or notification period to the landlord... some people have longer ones, I know. I've since talked to several German friends who said they would never give notice at their apartment until the contract was signed, finalized, entered into the Grundbuch and the keys turned over- even though that means they could loose 3+ months rent or have to find a quick nachmieter themselves.) Additionally, if you do not speak German fluently, you must have a translator- but here again, be careful! I recently learned that there are some words which translate into perfectly understandable English words, but the actual MEANING may be different as the practices and conventions are different here. An example is "gemeinen Wertes", which was translated by our translator as "fair market value", but actually has two very different meanings in German "legalese"- one is fair value- the other is material cost. As the term was not defined further for me, I took it to mean exactly what I know as fair market value in the US. (Fair market value in the US is calculated- usually by a professional licensed, insured appraiser- based on 2 approaches: cost and comparison. The cost approach measures the quality of the construction, size and maintenance, deducts wear & tear and depreciation. The comparison approach uses houses of similar size, quality and location and adjusts the subject price based on the actual sale price of these comparisons. In the end, the two approaches should be equal and provide a solid estimate of the true market value of the subject property.) In Germany, apparently, this is not done and you must be careful to find out which method is being used to calculate the value of your subject property, if a valuation is included in your contract (as it was in our rather complicated one). Just having a translator at the contract reading did us no good in this case as no one could have told us there was a different approach used in Germany as no one in the room was familiar with US real estate, as we were unfamiliar with German rules and conventions.
    There have already been a lot of other threads talking about the fact that in Germany, the process and timing is different than in the US, so I won't go into those details, but here is a summary as I've experienced it:
    In Germany- All is done by the buyer: call makler to see house, tell makler you want to buy, find Notar & give name to Makler, find mortgage provider & give info to Makler and Notar, keep calling everyone until a date is set for the contract signing (including a court-certified translator if you are not fluent in German), sign contract, arrange handover process with owner, wait for Notar to process Grundschuld, wait for bills, pay all bills, etc.
    In the US, all this is handled by your buyer's agent (who typically only gets 2-3% of the sale price as commission for all this- what a deal!)
    This is an on-going saga, so we might still come up with more issues (I really, really hope not); and if we do, I'll add more to this thread. In the meantime, anyone know of other such things I or anyone else should look for in the future?
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