Friday, July 15, 2016

Goodbye and Good Riddance to Mediation!

Our local newspaper just shared this wonderful news:

Pima Animal Care drops barking dog mediation contract

Quoting from the story:

“Reviewing five years of ‘barking’ complaints we could demonstrate no decrease in the number of complaints or related citations that correlated in any way with our contract expenditures in this area,” Health Department Director Dr. Francisco Garcia wrote in a July 8 letter.

So, there you have it. The health department director is admitting that barking dog mediation was a waste of taxpayer dollars. Here's hoping that other jurisdictions come to the same conclusion.

Not that I'm against mediation. It does work when both parties are interested in achieving a positive result. For barking dog disputes? Uh-uh.

In these cases, the mediation involves a perpetrator (owner of the robo-barking dog) and a victim (the neighbor who's on the receiving end of the noise).

In other words, it's bullying.

And you can't mediate with bullies. You need to use the power of law enforcement -- and civil and criminal penalties -- to get the bullying to stop.

My previous posts on this topic:
  1. Mediation: The Non-Solution
  2. The Futility of Mediation

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Barking Dogs and Lawsuits

Speak to any personal injury lawyer, and you'll learn that dog bite cases are their bread and butter.

Barking dog cases? They're pretty rare.

However, that may be changing. Here's a case from Illinois:

Barking Dog Drove Up Sleep-Deprived Old Lady’s Blood Pressure: Lawsuit

Quoting from the story:

[The plaintiff] "has a right to the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of her condominium,” the suit said, but the barking dog is depriving her of that. So she wants at least $50,000."

I hope she wins.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Barking Dogs and Property Values

So, you've had it up to here with your neighbors' barking dogs. To the point where you're ready to sell the house and move.

Well, not so fast.

You might find that the home selling process is a lot more difficult than you think. In case you're wondering why, here's the reason:


Case in point: News coverage of a proposed dog park and the unhappy neighbors. Money quote from a real estate agent, who was included in the story:

"Those of us in the real estate business know that if you are showing a property and there is a barking dog, it is very unlikely someone will buy or rent it."

Show of hands: Who wants to move to a dog-free community?

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.