Friday, November 13, 2015

Mediation: The Non-Solution

Three years ago, I blogged about the futility of using mediation to resolving barking dog problems.

Well, guess what. I just made a couple of complaints to animal control about, you guessed it, barking dogs. Their letter package included this bit of advice:

First and foremost, we encourage neighbors to talk to each other.

Well, animal control, if you're trying to get people injured or killed, that is excellent advice. However, there's this thing called reality. Which includes news stories like this:

Barking Dog Dispute Leads To Stabbing

I don't know about you, but if the stabber was my neighbor, the last thing I'd try to do is talk to him about his barking dogs.

And here's another goodie from animal control's letter package:

We do not investigate the noise complaints.

To which I say: Then what in the hell are you doing with my tax money? Besides sending sternly worded letters to irresponsible dog owners and encouraging me to talk to them?

Oh, yes. There's one more thing that I'm encouraged to do: Mediation. It's no longer mandatory, but it just won't go away. And, according to animal control, mediation has an 85% success rate.

To which I say: Bullshit.

I've been involved in the battle against barking for more than a decade, and I've talked to countless people who have tried mediation and found it wanting. Most of them are like me. They vow to never use mediation again.

The website has this to say about mediation:

"Conflict resolution and peer mediation don’t work for bullying. Bullying is not a conflict between people of equal power who share equal blame."

And what is uncontrolled barking but another form of bullying?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Turning People Against Dogs

I'd like to start this post by saying that I used to be a dog lover.

What caused me to change my mind about dogs? Well, I'll spell it out, slowly and carefully, so that there's no misunderstanding:


And, yes, I have tried to talk to the owners of these dogs. Fat lotta good that did.

To a man and woman, they were indignant that I would dare to bring up such a thing. After all, I was criticizing the sacred utterances of their fur baby!

Officialdom was no better. I've lost count of all the barking dog reports I've made to animal control. You know what they do? They send a Sternly Worded Letter to the dog owners.

Things go downhill from there.

Along the way, you can experience the joys of keeping a barking log (nothing like victimizing the victim even further), optional mediation with the dog owner (been there, done that, and it was a waste of time), and, if you're really lucky, there's a hearing with the dog owner that maybe-just-maybe will result in fines.

If there's any good news in all of this, here it is: I'm not the only one.

Unlike 10 years ago, when I first became concerned about this issue, there's quite a movement. Call it the Quiet Homes Movement if you want. We aren't coalescing around a single activist website like (happy 8th birthday, DBO), but our numbers are growing.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Questioning the Cult of Dog

So, there I was, reading our city's alternative news weekly. It's one of those publications that seldom has anything bad to say about dog or their owners. This despite the fact that Tucson frequently sounds like a 24-hour barking kennel.

Then there was this op-ed piece:

Tom has a thing for dog people, OK, crazy dog people, and it isn’t very positive

In one article, he takes on the "dogs everywhere" craze, which has led to dogs in grocery stores and other places where they don't belong, and fake service dogs.

Way to go, Tom!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Shelters Lie

To illustrate, I'm sharing this recent story from Tucson.

It all started at our local humane society. Couple of girls reach into a pen and steal a "lab mix" puppy. Cue up the public outcry about dognapping.

And why am I putting the type of dog in quotes? Because that puppy sure as hell isn't a lab mix. It's a pit bull. It was probably stolen so that it could be bred and/or used in dogfighting. Nary a news media word about that inconvenient truth.

Why do shelters lie like this? Simple reason: Money.

If they admitted that this -- and other dogs like it -- was a pit bull, it wouldn't be adopted. They'd have to put it down, and you know what?

That's a good thing.

Why do I say that? Because pit bulls and their close mixes account for more human deaths, maimings, and serious injuries than any other type of dog.

For the sake of the public health and safety, those dogs should cease to exist. If that means euthanasia at animal shelters, so be it.

Let's get back to the money for a moment. I used to donate to this humane society, but I stopped. Why? Because they started promoting pit bulls as safe family dogs.

And they're not the only humane society that's doing this. The delusion about the safety of pit bulls has spread to other shelters. And to national organizations like the ASPCA and Best Friends. None of them are worthy of a single cent of my money.

Quite frankly, I'd rather give to organizations that help people. In my world, people matter more than dogs.

Monday, May 18, 2015

And they wonder why some people hate dogs

This just in: Baying Bassett Hound drives neighbors to distraction

And it's yet another story that features an overly entitled dog owner and a whole bunch of neighbors who've had enough of the noise. The dog owner can't imagine why others aren't as enthralled with precious Lucy's baying as he is.

One neighbor, a retired NYPD detective, has been subjected to noise-athons that have lasted for for more than five hours. Nothing like being forced to listen to that, is there?

And they wonder why some people hate dogs.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hark! Another Winner!

One of the greatest hopes of the bark-plagued is the legal system. As in, one of these days, it will notice our plight.

Well, guess what. We are being noticed. To the tune of six-figure lawsuits against the owners of barking dogs. Here's another victory:

The bad news? Animal control cited the dog owners twice, with the most recent citation happening in 2004. Which meant that the plaintiffs had to endure more than a decade of additional sonic sewage before justice was served.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Follow the Money

Readers old enough to remember the Watergate scandal remember Deep Throat, the senior government official who worked with The Washington Post reporters covering the story. (He was later revealed to be Mark Felt, associate director of the FBI.)

In the movie "All the President's Men," the Deep Throat character advised Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward (played by Robert Redford) to follow the money. He was referring to the secret Nixon campaign money that was used to pay the Watergate burglars.

And that's our mini-history lesson. This post is about following the money behind the out-of-control barking plague.

First in our rogue's gallery of big money pots: The pet industry. In the U.S., it's a big money-maker. To the point where estimates point to a 2015 expenditure of $60-plus billion. Yes, that's billion with a B. That's how much Americans spend on their pets. In one year.

Keep in mind that this is the same industry that comes up with logic-bending terminology like "pet parents." That's right. If you have a dog, you're Rover's mommy. Or daddy.

All I can say is "Puh-LEEZ!" And I'm not the only one.

But think of what happens if we, the neighbors, are kept awake by Rover's barking. We try to talk to Rover's owners and how dare we do such a thing! Who are we to question the precious utterances of their little four-legged baby?

If we take our complaint to our local animal control agency, we hit another roadblock. Which is the name of this agency.

If your area is like mine, it's no longer in the control business, it's all about animal care. Which means that it has placed the welfare of animals over public health and safety. Can you say "Dereliction of Duty?" I sure can -- because I have experienced it. Many times, in fact.

What's behind this change of focus? Well, it's time to meet the second big money pot: The animal rights extremist movement. It's the movement that places the rights of dogs above humans, often with tragic results.

What's needed to counter these two big pots of money? How about a human rights movement?