Cherry, you are starting to sound as didactic and heavy-handed as Mark. All you needed to say was “Don’t cross the fence, Rusty!” By the time you got to the main point, he was already over and gone. Still, I suppose it was necessary to further the story.
I wonder if Rivera is deliberately spoofing one of the old-time foibles of this strip in panel 3, where Rusty’s thought balloon is “ambiguously” pointing either to him or the chipmunk. So, what is Rusty thinking of: “Spotted the sign by that Ernest guy!” I’m not sure what sign Ernest was “by”, but Rusty is onto something, all right. That diamond shape on the lawn signs appears on the bottles of Honest Ernest’s lawn treatment. Clearly, this property belongs to Ernest and must double as his testing lab.
Maybe that’s also why the chipmunk is stuck on that tree stump. It’s too afraid to cut across the lawn.