03/10/2014 08:44 EDT | Updated 05/10/2014 05:59 EDT

Vancouver condo owners upset neighbourhood is going to the dogs

There's a dog fight going on between neighbours in a Vancouver neighbourhood, but it's a scenario that could be repeated throughout Metro Vancouver.

As the density of urban populations increases, the number of dogs grows — and dogs have to go pee somewhere and, in this case, it's happening on someone else's property.

In Fairview, near South Granville, a battle is underway between residents of a rental building that allows pets, and owners of a condo building next door, where the grass is ruined.

Marc Baker, a condo owner, says ever since the neighbouring apartment building replaced its outside grass with stones, more dogs have been urinating outside his building.

"It's basically their washroom. They come out the from door, ours is the closest lawn so that's where they go," he said.

Jeanette Frost, another condo owner, says it's been difficult asking the dog owners to go somewhere else.

"If we query them on why they are allowing their dogs to pee on our lawn, they get confrontational and get quite angry and tell us it's their right to allow their dog to pee," she said.

Outside the buildings, dog owner Alex Nichol told CBC News he has little patience for his neighbours.

"These guys have hounded almost everyone in this building and they have been nothing but rude, short of chasing people," he said. "I've done what I can, but sometimes when he's gotta go, he goes."

What complicates matters in the dispute is that the strip of grass in question is on the curb-side of the sidewalk, and is, in fact, owned by the city of Vancouver.

Under city bylaws, adjacent property owners have to look after those strips of grass. In this case, the condo owners would be willing to replace the presently-unsightly grass with ornamental rocks of some kind — just as the rental apartment where the dogs live has done.

But they'd have to get permission from the city to make alterations to the strip of city-owned land, and the city's first choice for filling those areas is grass.

Across the city, in places where signs and plantings have failed to deter dogs from doing their business, plastic grass or sometimes rubber mats have been installed.

Condo owner Ron Usher said they are meeting with city officials to come up with a solution.

"It's a bit of a hard sell for us to take the green out and put in rocks, but that may be all we can do," he said.

The city told CBC News that it is working on a comprehensive policy on city-owned land adjacent to properties, which should be place by the end of the year.

In the meantime, the city said officials are available to meet with individual property owners to find solutions that will work for them — and for their four-legged neighbours.