Milestone update here. Just wanted to share a bit of good news and haven't had time to post anything until now.
The battle has been won, my friends! After almost 2 years of hell, our perseverance has paid off and the BAD neighbors have moved away!!! They are back on the run, as is their pattern. Eventually the people that they burn and treat like the trash that surrounded them over the years tracked them down. It's actually quite ironic. For people who claimed to be so likable, they sure amassed a lot of enemies over the years... That combined with our MANY calls to OPP, bylaw and animal/child welfare, plus our refusal to back down, was enough to evoke change. There was obviously much more to it than that but let's just say this is the abridged version.
It was not easy by any means. Civil disputes of this nature are rare and certainly not for the faint of heart. But it's DONE, at long last. I am thrilled to report that the once calm and peaceful nature of our property has returned. 🥰 The other residents are relieved and thanked us for all our efforts. While I would have preferred their support instead of their thanks, I'll accept the gratitude.
A line has now been drawn in the dirt. We've made a clear statement that these sorts of people, such as the BAD neighbors and their activities will not be tolerated in our neighborhood. It also serves as fair warning to any other low lives or other such opportunists that try to pull the same sh*t. I doubt it would ever happen again, but if it does, we'll be ready for them this time.
I have a lot of people to thank: my parents, my in-laws, my extended family and friends, the permies community for your amazing advice, The Heir (you know who you are), and so many others, for all the heartfelt support. But most of all, we have ourselves to thank for not giving up or giving in, and seeing this thing through until the end. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do and at times I thought the depression and anger would consume me whole. I don't share this with anyone lightly, but my wife and I almost got divorced as this was all playing out. The stress levels were incredibly high at times. We also almost sold our house just to get away from them and the general situation. It was VERY close! We didn't feel at ease in our own home or in our own yard anymore. It was terrible, and no way to live! Thankfully, the universe, God, nature, Gaia, whatever you want to call it, was looking out for us and giving us regular, consistent signs. We are so lucky to have been able to see and understand those signs or this could have played out much differently. I could easily have been writing this post from a jail cell, with a completely different outcome and ending to the story. Over the last few months, it came extremely close to getting violent. I feel very fortunate that no one got hurt. But I would not roll those dice again if I had to. It was all way too close for comfort.
On the other end of the action/reaction spectrum, those few that deserve absolutely NO THANKS, did absolutely nothing to help us and made the whole situation much more difficult than it needed to be are:
1. The landlord and property manager. We tried to reach out to them several times to help us resolve the matter with their tenants like civilized people. But every time we tried, they did nothing but defend their tenants and basically call us liars. Like we had nothing better to do than destroy our own property, make up stories about people and dogs constantly trespassing, harrassed and stalked ourselves around town and strung up barbed wire across our own trail in hopes of clotheslining or decapitating someone. In the end, they got what they deserved and karma caught up with them just like it did their tenants. The house they rented out to those losers got completely trashed! We warned them too but they wouldn't listen. They have been trying to fix it up for 2 months now and won't be able to rent it out or sell it until they've invested thousands of dollars on materials and contractors. Cosmic justice at its finest.
2. The bylaw and township. I have one word for them: useless! Actually, I take it back. They are really good at two things: lying to you and taking your money. That's about it. We called them dozens of times, every time there was an incident. We had no choice but to call and waste our time and theirs in order to document everything and get it on record. Yet all they ever did was pass the buck to OPP (who would pass it back to bylaw), tell us COVID-19 was sheltering the neighbors from taking down their operation and issue "warnings" to them. What a joke! It was complete and utter bureaucratic BS. I believe there was only one occasion when bylaw actually did something and fined the neighbors for $75 because of repeated complaints about dogs at large. That's great and all but when you're selling husky puppies at $3,000 a pop and breeding the females 3 or 4 times a year with their siblings or other relatives, a $75 fine is a slap on the wrist. The neighbors vile and disgusting behavior was basically tolerated, accepted and even encouraged at times, and lasted far longer than it should have. Which takes me to the next group of useless tax money consumers...
3. OPP. I've never been so frustrated with law enforcement in my life! If trespassing and criminal harassment were not enough to do something, repeatedly creepily staring at our kids from a truck with tinted windows, obvious child/animal abuse going on or attempting to kill someone should be enough, but it wasn't. Every time we, the victims of criminal behavior, had the burden of proof. And even when we produced more than adequate proof in the forms of indisputable pictures or video footage, it was never enough to charge them with anything. Our BAD neighbors never got anything more than a warning. Their behavior was basically justified by them which only reinforced it and made matters worse. This is exactly why people end up taking matters into their own hands when police refuse to do their jobs. OPP even lied to us many times about what they did or what they were supposedly going to do but nothing was done. They just played both sides hoping that someone would be dumb enough to freely admit their offense. I'll tell you, I didn't have a lot of faith in politics or law enforcement to begin with, but now my faith and trust levels are in the negatives. I now have a deep disdain for cops and all the mounting police brutality cases are definitely not helping. Unfortunately, cops are not really there to help us. I see through the charade now. Law enforcement is nothing more than a money-making sham of a system that punishes the law-abiding citizen and forgives/absolves the criminals. Police are there to merely offer a false sense of security and will only get involved AFTER the fact, when someone is already hurt, or worse, dead. Don't trust law enforcement. Trust yourself. Protect yourself and your family BEFORE something happens. Sometimes it's worth being a little more proactive and a little less reactive, especially when there's so much at stake.
I want to end this by saying, if anyone out there is going through something similar, please don't give up! You're not alone! Lots of people have dealt with bad neighbors to all kinds of varying degrees and it's never easy. But you CAN win. If you try your best to be a good person, you care about the Earth and its inhabitants and you are decent, respectful and law-abiding citizen, trust that the universe will take care of you. I'm not a big bible reader or religious per se, but there's one passage that always stuck with me throughout this ordeal:
"Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"
Matthew 6:26, King James Version
With that passage and the help of good old Taoism, which I now believe to be the natural evolution of Anarchism, got us through it. Have faith in the law of attraction, that is, in a non-materialistic sort of way. We stuck to it until the end and it paid off. We did nothing to these people that we are ashamed of, nor did we ever put their family in harm's way. Despite our furiousness and rage at times over the injustice we were facing, we stayed true to our morals, ethics and good judgement, which is a lot more than they can say. We didn't let them get the best of us, and that's so important! What's a victory if it was attained by compromising your standards? This was a clean win, with no shots below the belt from our side, and I'm proud of us for that. Although, that's not to say we didn't have dark fantasies at times. But I think that's normal and somehow therapeutic. 😉
Thank you again for reading and for all the support as we went through this ugly chapter of our homesteading journey.
In conclusion, to answer the question of: How to Deal with BAD Neighbors? The answer is simple: Keep on fighting and don't give up! Do whatever it takes to protect yourself and your family from harm. Don't rely on anyone else to do it. Stand up for yourself. Don't back down! Don't take no for an answer. Be direct and unwavering in your stance but also be respectful to those that might help.
Do no harm. Take no sh*t.
That's the moral of the story.