Friday, June 29, 2012

Teaching Dogs to Tell Time

In a lot of areas, barking laws have some sort of time element.

What this means is that a dog is only allowed to bark for so long before its noise is considered to be in violation of the law. In response to such silliness, let's engage in the following thought experiment:

Let's say you're in a community where there's a 15-minute limit on barking. Can you visualize a dog glancing at his watch and thinking "I've been barking for 14 minutes. If I cut it out in the next minute, I'll still be legal."

Of course you can't. Because dogs don't wear watches. And, unless they're really smart and can be taught to do so, they can't tell time.

I'm of the mind that these laws are yet another non-solution to the problem of chronic barking.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. If all of those dogs that can't tell time are making your life miserable, have I got a store for you. At the QuietBarkingDogs store, you'll find all sorts of simple, to-the-point fashions for peace and quiet activists. Such as this tee shirt -- "Is this a neighborhood or a kennel?" Wear that one to your next block party. I guarantee that you'll get some interesting reactions.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 06/28/12

Document Barking Dogs for Court Chesterfield Police Say

Excerpt: The main thing to do if you find a neighbor, for example, has persistent barking dogs, is to take it upon yourself to document the times and duration of the disturbance. This could be as simple as writing it down. Video with sound, and photos are helpful, yet still log the time of day, and how long the barking goes on. Don't trespass to get evidence.

Tip: This news story is open for comments. Follow the above link to add yours.

Dog barking complaints silenced for the summer

Excerpt: They may be all bark and no bite, but it is their yapping that has landed them in trouble with selectmen.

Tip: This news story is open for comments. Follow the above link to add yours.

Barking dog? Try psychiatry

Excerpt: ''We are seeing more and more behaviour problems in our companion animals,'' she added. ''We all have busy lifestyles, so quite often cats and dogs are spending less time with their owners and less time being socialised.

From the Advice Department, we have this question...

Dear Prudie: My boyfriend hates dogs. Should I postpone our marriage until mine dies?

Excerpt: I have a 9-year-old cocker spaniel. I've raised him since he was a puppy and I think of him as my four-legged son. However, my boyfriend of 10 months is allergic to dogs. He also dislikes them. He was attacked by one as a child and now won't go near dogs at all. As such, he almost never comes to my place. We are very committed to each other and wish to get married soon. [Yada-yada. Yada-yada.] Am I really nuts for putting my furry baby ahead of human babies?

My Answer: Yes you are nuts. Your cocker spaniel is a dog, not a human son. Nor is it a baby. When it was very young, it was a puppy. Since you're already a chronological adult, work on becoming an emotional adult.

Tip: This question awaits your answer. Follow the above link and offer it.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion.  Are your neighbor's yappy dogs driving you bonkers. Instead of spending your money on a psychiatrist, why not do something much more fun? Head over to my QuietBarkingDogs store, where you'll find tee shirts like this one -- "Your Dog's Yapping Isn't Cute - It's Annoying."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 06/20/12

Town suing Maine woman over barking dogs

Excerpt: The town's animal control officer... said neighbors who live directly behind [the defendant] on Hallowell Road have complained about the noise.

"The dogs are exhibiting uncontrollable barking in the neighborhood," [the animal control officer] said. "The neighbors actually got together with me and gave some statements regarding the situation and I served her a summons."

Tip: This news story is open for comments. Follow the above link to add yours.

Barking dogs on short leash in Jackson

Excerpt: Faced by a rising tide of complaints about barking dogs, Jackson County commissioners indicated this week that they would consider passing an ordinance that would muzzle the offenders.

Tip: This news story is open for comments. Follow the above link to add yours.

Barking dog could cost big penalty 

Excerpt: Apparently the town of Selma's $20 penalty for dogs running at large or barking isn't getting the owners' attention.

So, last month during its regular monthly meeting, Council upped the penalty for nuisance animals with the minimum fee now at $100, which will go to $300 on a third complaint. 

Tip: This news story is open for comments. Follow the above link to add yours.

From the Advice Department, we have the following questions...

Question: Looking for advice - a few doors from my house is a house where 4 dogs (and their owner) live. The dogs are outside around 6:30AM every morning for a few hours and then around 4:30PM - 8 or 9 PM every night (probably no water bowls) with no human in sight. They wake us up 7 days a week barking. They bark incessantly. They've never been out of their yard and spend most of their time it seems in a kennel/cage inside. Seems that way from their contained and continued barking inside thier home. We can't have a conversation outside or inside our house when they're outside, we need to close windows which doesn't help much and are feeling very stressed. Often times we can't talk to each other inside our home. How crazy is that!

Tip: This question awaits your answer. Follow the above link and offer it.

And, just when you thought it was safe to go out for a dog-free evening, along comes this...

We Should Be Encouraging People to Rescue Dogs, Not Presenting the Idea of Having One as a Social Kiss of Death.

Excerpt: My local coffee shop, Street Coffee on Bermondsey Street, even has treats on the bar. I take Potato there all the time and if I sense that I'm sitting next to someone who isn't comfortable with him, I keep him on my lap or ask them if they would like me to move. They rarely do.

This level of dog friendliness doesn't really happen in many other parts of London, especially not in Soho, which I think is a real shame.

 Tip: This opinion piece is open for comments. Follow the above link to add yours.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. As tempting as yelling at your neighbors' barking dogs may seem, you'll probably hurt your vocal cords. I've done that. In the interest of taking a different approach, I've created the QuietBarkingDogs store. Come on in for bumper stickers like this one -- "Yes I Do Mind If Your Dog Barks." Or be a peace and quiet fashionista by posing this question -- "Is this a neighborhood or a kennel?"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Blind Spot in Their Eco-Consciousness

'Twas about 4:50 a.m. when I heard a barking outburst from across the street. Ah, yes, it's the oh-so-green-and-sustainable neighbors' dog, announcing itself to the work.

Oops. Excuse me. What's that? An hour later, the dog's having another front yard conniption. People, let the dog back into the house. I'm sure it's been outside long enough to do its business.

I don't know the dog's owners very well -- they live behind a high wall that reverberates every time their dog barks. I don't know anyone else around here who's friendly with them. They don't spend a lot of time chatting with the neighbors.

What I do know is that the dog owners are a couple who are quite into the eco-consciousness movement. To the point of both being employed by the same environmental organization.

However, I'm here to tell you that I think that they have a blind spot in their eco-consciousness. I find it hard to believe that they can ignore all the barking that their dog is doing. The list of things that set this dog off is quite long. Here are just five of its barking triggers:
  1. Children walking to the school bus stop
  2. A disabled adult in a motorized scooter
  3. A couple pushing a baby in a stroller
  4. Teenagers bouncing a basketball as they're heading over to the courts in the city park
  5. A lady walking her dog on a leash
Mind you, none of these things pose the slightest threat to the dog or the property where it is kept. So, what's up with all the barking? Are the owners too busy saving the earth to train their dog?

I suspect that this dog was adopted from a shelter. The eco-consciousness people tend to be into that sort of thing. No going to the breeders for them. That's unsustainable.

However, I think that more than a few of the eco people have something in common with those who are involved with the animal rights movement. I've noticed that a lot of them have difficulty relating to people, so they immerse themselves in big causes like The Earth or Saving Animals.

Okay, neighbors, so you've saved this dog from euthanasia. Good for you. Now, could you save your neighbors from the chronic barking?

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. At the risk of repeating myself, here I go again. The goal of this blog is to make chronic barking as unfashionable as secondhand smoke. Which, as we know, is a form of pollution.

For your ecologically conscious neighbors who can't quite make the leap from one type of pollution to another, here's a bumper sticker for your car. Perhaps they'll read it and take the hint -- "Barking Is Noise Pollution." Or how about a tee shirt for your pleasant strolls through the neighborhood? Your "Barking - Ruining Our Quality of Life - One Neighborhood at a Time" shirt will surely get some attention.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Dog in the Neighborhood

So the rental that's been vacant since March has new tenants. This is the same place I wrote about in my "Getting a Clue, Barking Edition" post.

What I didn't share in that post was my struggle with the property management company. I made numerous phone calls, begging even pleading, with the company to get control of the chronic barking situation. My efforts were fruitless.

That's why I went to court. What else was I to do? Continue to allow those irresponsible dog owning tenants to continue to destroy my quality of life?

Since the overly entitled college girls with the deaf dog moved out in the summer of 2010, there's been another set of dog-owning tenants. And yes, another robo-barker. Which was a pit bull. Since a lot of landlords won't rent to tenants with pit bulls, I saw an opportunity.

I wrote a cease and desist letter to the property management company. Letter stated that there was a pit bull on the property, that the dog's aggressive barking was disturbing the peace and quiet of the neighborhood, and that there are city and county ordinances against animal noise that goes beyond a property line.

Final paragraph said that if the property management company had any questions, they were welcome to contact my attorney. His name was on the cc: line.

Shortly after I sent the letter via certified mail, return receipt requested, that pit bull disappeared. And no, the tenants did not get another dog. They moved back in March.

Yesterday evening, I noticed a black dog inside the front yard of this property. So far, it has been quiet. And that's a good thing. I hope that the good behavior continues.

But I also know that this particular property has been vacant for 10 months during the last two years. And there's a lot of rental vacancy here. Last I heard, the local rental vacancy rate was way up there at 16%.

High vacancy rates can lead to landlords being less than choosy about who they lease to. And, since they want to keep those rent checks a-coming in, they're not going to be too concerned about the neighbors being disturbed by tenants' dogs.

But we, the neighbors, are not without resources. The cease and desist letter is a very powerful tool. Believe me, landlords don't enjoy getting these letters. 

Because the possibility of having to deal with a neighbor's attorney could cost them money. Lots of money. And a lot of landlords aren't making much money on their rentals. Especially in a high vacancy market.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Top of the page says that this blog's goal is to to make chronic barking as unfashionable as secondhand smoke. And you know what? The trend is very much our friend. All over the world, people are getting fed up with the noise. Tell the world you're on the bandwagon by heading over to my QuietBarkingDogs store. Tell those dog owners something very simple -- "Yes You Can Keep Your Dog Quiet."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 06/13/12

SWAT arrests Fort Collins man over barking dog dispute

Excerpt: [The suspect], who is medically disabled and struggles to sleep due to chronic eye pain, began complaining about his neighbor’s dogs almost immediately after moving into the upscale West Vine Bungalows neighborhood with his wife in February 2009.

He complained that his neighbors’ two dogs barked all day long while their owners were away. He sent what he called “kindly notes” asking the owners to quiet their dogs. He consulted an animal behaviorist and suggested the dogs’ owners buy bark collars.

He got no satisfaction.

Tip: This news story is open for comments via Facebook.

Gearhart gives tentative approval to beefed up barking dog ordinance

Excerpt: The Gearhart City Council has tentatively approved a revised ordinance that would levy fines against the owner of a dog which persistently barks or howls, indoors or outdoors, for five minutes or more four times within an hour.

Coming up next: Gearhart dogs learn how to tell time.

Tip: This news story is open for comments. Follow the above link to add yours.

Try a shock collar

Excerpt: Dog owners put their dogs in the backyard, tied up or in a kennel, and then go off to work. And the dogs bark all day. Most of us live in close quarters, and it is rude, unneighborly and illegal to let your dogs bark.
Tip: This letter to the editor is open for comments. Follow the above link to add yours.

Dog ownership and urban living

Excerpt:  I recall one incident in particular where a dog’s barking drove me up the wall one morning while I was trying to do some writing at home in Sherwood. After an hour of putting up with the barking, I decided enough was enough, and went out to search for the source of the noise. An elderly neighbour soon joined me, saying she was going to give the dog owner a piece of her mind for the ruckus the animal was creating.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Tired of all the noise? And the excuses from irresponsible dog owners and officialdom? Step into my QuietBarkingDogs store for bumper stickers like this one -- "Responsible owners keep their dogs quiet." Or wear your sentiments on tee shirts and other clothing. You might enjoy making your point with a "Peace and Quiet - What a Concept" shirt.

Early Morning Anguish

It's an everyday occurrence around here. In the hours before dawn, the air is filled with the sound of barking. In some cases, endless barking. After the sun rises, the noise gets even worse. And, at this time of the year, the sun rises shortly after 5 a.m.

What are these dogs so upset about? Who knows.

But does the sleep of the rest of us need to be disturbed by it? I think not.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. If your neighborhood sounds like a kennel during the hours that you're trying to sleep, you have my sympathy. From my QuietBarkingDogs store, here's a tee shirt that might get the message across to your clueless neighbors -- "In the wee hours of the morning, I don't need to hear your barking dog." And here's a clue that you can add to your car's bumper -- "Yes I Do Mind If Your Dog Barks."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Robo-Yapper

Well, it's a lovely Sunday evening, it's getting on toward bedtime, and here I am at the computer.

Why might that be?

Because my lovely neighbors have once again left their robo-yapper outside. This dog has one of those loud, piercing barks that penetrates every area of my house. Only place I can go to get away from the racket is right here, at my computer, where I can don a nice pair of studio headphones and drown out the dog with music.

Helluva way to live, isn't it?

And it's not like I haven't tried to do something about this situation. I've written letters to the owners. Called the police to report noise disturbances. Turned them in to animal control, oh, four or five times. Went to barking dog mediation shortly after the first animal control report, and that was a waste of time. I even hired a lawyer to write them a cease-and-desist letter.

My lawyer's letter noted their two home-based businesses. One's a day care that, quite frankly, I wouldn't leave a kid with unless I really hated that kid. Front yard with all the toys is filthy. Dog's kept in the back yard, where it can pump its noise right into my house.

The other business was/is (I'm not sure which) one of those shuttle vans that plies the Nogales-Tucson-Phoenix route, and let's just say that it isn't taking airline passengers up to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. A couple of years ago, the parent company of my neighbors' shuttle van business got taken down in a big federal raid on human traffickers.

According to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement news release, the raid was called '"Operation In Plain Sight" because of the brazen nature of the transportation companies' activities. Authorities characterized the case as the most comprehensive human smuggling investigation in ICE history."

The release went on to say, "The search locations in Arizona included the offices of four Tucson shuttle services - Saguaro Roadrunner Shuttles, America's Shuttles, Sonoran Shuttles and Nogales Express Shuttles - and a fifth shuttle company in Phoenix, Sergio's Shuttle. According to court documents unsealed Thursday, the aliens transported by the shuttle services were given pre-printed fare receipts in the amount of $30 in an effort to make the shuttle trips appear legitimate."

What's worse, the people taking those shuttle trips were charged more like a hundred dollars. Nothing like getting a receipt for a third of what you actually paid.

But that's in keeping with what I've experienced with these neighbors. When I first tried to get them to control their dog's noise, you think I was asking them to move Mount Everest with a teaspoon. One of them even came over here and said, "Nothing can be done."

Those were his exact words. Nothing can be done to quiet a barking dog. Not training. Not leaving it in the house where it won't bother the neighbors. Or, get this, not having a dog in the first place.

Back to that letter sent by my lawyer. It mentioned my neighbors' two businesses, but, interestingly enough, the letter that their attorney wrote in reply only referenced the day care. Not a word about the shuttle van business.

Well, wouldn't you know it, shortly after my attorney shared a copy of the letter he got from the neighbors' lawyer, the Operation In Plain Sight raid went down. That was on Tax Day, April 15, 2010. And, around here, it got real quiet. To the point where I thought that the neighbors had re-homed the robo-yapper.

In January 2011, the shuttle van disappeared from their property. I have no idea where it went, or if the neighbors are still in that business.

What I do know is that the day care still exists, and that a lot of fix-up work has been done on the house. I have no clue where they're getting the money from. I wasn't aware that home-based day cares were that lucrative.

Well, it's been almost an hour since I first started writing this post. Robo-yapper is still going strong.

Which brings me to something that one of its owners told me during that useless mediation session back in July 2005. He boasted that the dog was a part of their family. Mind you, right before this mediation, the dog had been left outside in triple-digit heat. Must be one loving family, huh?

And in January 2007, when I made my second animal control report, the dog had been left outside at night in near-freezing temperatures. Boy, am I glad I'm not part of this family.

But I am growing quite weary of them as neighbors. Perhaps they're doing all the fix-up work to get their house ready for sale. I sure hope so. And, neighbors, when you leave this area, I hope that the door doesn't hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

As for your dog, it deserves much better owners than you've ever been.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. I have to hand it to these neighbors. If it wasn't their continued persistence in depriving me of my right to the quiet use and peaceful enjoyment of my home, I probably wouldn't have started this blog.

And I never would have gotten the inspiration to fill a QuietBarkingDogs store full of products for the bark-beleagured. So, thanks, neighbors. I couldn't have done it without you. To you, I dedicate this tee shirt, which says "Your dog's yapping isn't cute - it's annoying." Or, since you're so convinced that nothing can be done, here's a bumper sticker, "Yes You Can Keep Your Dog Quiet."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rescue Braggarts

A while back, I read a news story about some neighbors. Story said that they were involved in animal rescue. They were doing all they could to save 'em from euthanasia.

Oops, excuse me. Another neighbor's rescue dog just went ballistic. Let me crack the blinds and see what the problem is.

Can't see a darn thing moving outside. Must be the wind rustling in the trees. Again.

Anyway, back to those other rescuers.

Before they moved in, they dropped the dogs off at their rental house down the street. Where the dog pack proceeded to bark at every living thing. I think they even barked at coyotes howling down along the Mexican border.

Things didn't improve after the owners moved in. Our block turned into a veritable kennel.

I reported the barking dogs to animal control, which sent the owners a Sternly Worded Letter. Yeah, that'll fix things.

Wasn't but a few days later when I saw an animal control officer down at the Rescue Haven. The man of the house was standing outside the wall around the property, and he was m-a-d. Shaking his fist, hollering at the animal control officer. I kept an eye on the proceedings -- you never know when you might have to call 911 to report an assault in progress.

Then came the calls from the Community Mediation Service. I ignored the first one, but picked up the second one. Guy on the other end said that the dog owners really wanted to mediate with me. Oh, did they ever.

Well, having been through the barking dog mediation process once before and finding it a complete waste of time and energy, I wasn't too eager to repeat the experience. And, wouldn't you know it, after the animal control officer paid them a call, they did quiet the dogs down.

So, I told our intrepid mediation guy that the people had quieted their barking dogs, so there was nothing to mediate. What I didn't tell him was that I didn't feel comfortable facing people who were so insistent on finding out who I was. Sounded like they were more interested in intimidation than mediation.

Things stayed relatively quiet for a few months. Then, total bark-cophony.

I hired a lawyer to write a letter to the property owner and the rescuer-tenants.

That prompted the landlord to make a personal visit to my attorney. Where he regaled my attorney with all the tales of troubles he'd had with these tenants. Why, he even tried to get them to move out, but that didn't work.

My lawyer clued him in on Arizona landlord-tenant law. In this state, landlords have many rights, including the right to evict problem tenants.

Oh, there goes that other rescue dog from across the street. Again. This time, it's taking umbrage at a jogger. Who's jogging down this side of this street. I guess the oh-so-hip, environmentally conscious owners are too busy saving the earth to let their dog back into the house.

Back to the landlord-tenant situation.

The tenants were so irate that I'd hired a lawyer to chastise their behavior that the lady of the house penned a lengthy diatribe that she personally delivered to my attorney's office. Let's just say that she had an arm's length relationship with the proper use of English grammar. And spelling. That was another class she missed.

But she did say that the dogs were there to protect them from all the criminals in the neighborhood. That passage resonated with me when I saw the lowlifes coming around to that place during the following summer.

It was easy to know when the lowlifes were visiting because the dogs never failed to announce their arrival. Nothing like being greeted with a chorus of barking.

What those people didn't know is that there are people around here who are quite concerned about criminal activity. So, when we see lowlifes frequenting a rental, we sense trouble and alert the police. Who paid the doggie rescue heroes a call.

Wouldn't you know it, a few days afterward, the lowlifes disappeared. And they didn't come back until right before these lovely neighbors moved.

After they moved out, they left the dogs behind. One of the lowlifes came around to feed them and do who-knows-what-else on the empty property. Sure didn't look to me like he was cleaning the house and the yard.

What really rang my alarm bells was the time he came by at midnight. Another neighbor's dog woke me up, and I cracked the blinds to see what the problem was.

Down the street, it was Mr. Lowlife leading some of the neighborhood kids off the street, through a gate, and I don't know if they went into the vacant house. There's a tall wall around this property, and you can't see who's going on unless you're right next to one of the gates.

What in the hell were the children doing with that guy at that hour? Were they being molested? Sure would have been easy for Mr. Lowlife to do that. No witnesses, after all.

Well, once again, the authorities were alerted, dogs were removed a few days later, and Mr. Lowlife stopped coming around.

The rescue people now live up a few blocks away. Last I heard, they were running some sort of pit bull rescue in their back yard. One of my friends went over there to check it out, and he said that one of the wigglebutts playfully nipped him.

If it had been me getting nipped, the owner of that property would be dealing with my attorney. And this time, there'd be a lawsuit.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Do you have neighbors who still haven't gotten the memo about chronic barking? Are you less than impressed by their doggie rescue heroism? Well, click on over to my QuietBarkingDogs store. Share your viewpoint with a "Responsible Owners Keep Their Dogs Quiet" bumper sticker. Or how about a "Barking Dogs Don't Reduce Crime - People Do" hooded sweatshirt for your lovely evening walks.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Getting a Clue, Barking Edition

Being a nearby neighbor of the University of Arizona, I've been more than a little a bit critical of the behavior of its students. Nothing like being rousted out of a sound sleep by drunken revelry happening down the street. Methinks those kiddies don't have enough homework.

If the out of control partying isn't enough, let's say that UA students haven't exactly distinguished themselves as dog owners.

Case in point: A few years ago, a young lass decided to acquire a deaf dog. Which was then warehoused in the front yard, where all of us neighbors could hear its robo-barking. One memorable evening, the dog kept the noise going for three hours straight.

The good news is that the police actually responded to my noise disturbance call while the dog was still barking. Officer ticketed the roommate of the dog owner, who seemed to be clueless on the notion of letting the dog back into the house.

Dog owner and roomie went to court to contest the ticket. Since I was the victim, I had to be there too, and what a travesty. Cop who wrote the ticket couldn't have been more blase if he tried. The judge chastised him for his attitude.

The judge seemed to be quite interested in my identifying which of these neighbors' two dogs was doing all the barking. Without my launching a drone from my backyard and flying it over two other properties before it reached the young ladies' yard, how was I to know? Besides, the barking was happening after dark. This is yet another example of the unreasonable burden of proof that barking noise victims are subjected to.

The dog owner, who was dressed in a fashion that only could be described as "wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen" did her best to score points with the judge. Among other things, she said that she adopted the deaf dog because she was majoring in special education at the UA. She wanted to gain experience in dealing with the disabled.

I felt pity for the human students who would eventually have her as a teacher. She certainly seemed short on the compassion front.

The "butter wouldn't melt in her mouth" strategy worked. The judge disregarded my detailed barking logs and threw out the ticket. But he did give the girls a stern warning about the barking, saying that he suspected that he'd see us all back in his courtroom again.

Fortunately, that didn't happen. The girls got it through their pretty little heads that the barking might possibly be annoying others. I heard very little out of their dogs after our day in court, and they moved a few months later.

Well, that was then. This is now. I just picked up a copy of the UA's off-campus housing guide. There's a whole page devoted to pet ownership. It asks questions like:
  1. Can you afford a pet?
  2. Are pets allowed where you live?
  3. Is your place big enough?
Not like the "Dogs are wonderful -- get two or three!" propaganda we see coming from the pet industry, is it? And here's my favorite part:

"Pets can put a damper on your current lifestyle. They need regular feeding schedules, time for walks and/or play, exercise and grooming. Leaving a pet alone may lead to behavioral problems like barking, destructiveness and spraying inside."

Kudos to the UA for noting that students might not be in the best position to own dogs and other pets. That's something we neighbors have been trying to tell their students for years.

If that isn't enough, this guide also offers an unofficial excerpt from the Arizona Landlord and Tenant Act. Article 3 - Tenant Obligations notes that renters -- and most students are renters -- must not disturb the neighbors.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Top of the page says that this blog's goal is to to make chronic barking as unfashionable as secondhand smoke.

You can join the peace and quiet fashion trend by heading over to my QuietBarkingDogs store. Educate your neighbors with "Your Dog's Barking Isn't Music to My Ears" tee shirt. Or drive your sentiments all over town with a "Barking Is Noise Pollution" bumper sticker.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 06/06/12

Bogus 'barking dog' letter circulating in Huron

Excerpt: Authorities say the city does send out letters to residents if there have been complaints about barking dogs or other noise. But the letters are on city letterhead and include contact information. Police say the "barking dog" letter being circulated in Huron doesn't have that information.

My comment: I have no doubt that whoever is sending these letters is tired of having barking force-fed into his or her living space. Perhaps local officials could take note. Showing true respect for our right to the quiet use and peaceful enjoyment of our homes would keep stories like this one out of the news.

Chandler man accused of threatening to kill barking dog

Excerpt: The former Marine said he was upset about his neighbor's Chihuahua's constant barking for the past year and said shooting the dog with his 12-gauge shotgun would be "old-school justice," according to police.

Tip: This blog post is open for comments. Follow the above link to add yours.

County makes it easier to find relief from barking dogs

Excerpt: If a resident complains about a neighbor’s dog, Animal Control checks to make sure the pet’s tags and shots are current. They talk with the owner and discuss ways of addressing the problem. Often, that doesn’t solve anything, particularly when there’s ill will amongst the neighbors.

My comment: I simply can't imagine what might be causing ill will amongst the neighbors, can you? Could it possibly be spelled b-a-r-k-i-n-g?

Parma pulls back the leash on two dog parks

Excerpt: In 2007, Rocky River filed a lawsuit over a dog park in neighboring Lakewood. The suit said the dog park was a nuisance due to barking dogs. Four years later, in February 2011, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge ruled that the Lakewood park was not a nuisance.

Tip: This news story is open for comments. Follow the above link to add yours.

From the Advice Department, we have the following questions...

Why does a 1-year-old Bichon bark all night? He’s been doing this for a few months now. He was recently neutered, because he is just full of energy. He has calmed down some but the barking continues.

The dog’s name is Cody and he belongs to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. This is their first dog and because of this problem they’ve been talking about giving the dog away. I’ve had dogs all my life and I love them. I’m afraid this experience will turn their 7-year-old son off to ever having a dog.

My comment: In this case, a dog-free household might be better for the whole family. If nothing else, everyone will be able to sleep at night.

I was wondering what is everyone['s] experience with getting a dog to stop barking while outside. She never barks when she is inside. Right now I have been bringing her inside anytime she starts to bark (she doesn't want to come in) at something but it doesn't seem to be helping any.

My comment: Now you know how the neighbors feel, sweetie.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Does sending a barking dog letter seem like a waste of postage? It sure was for me! You can share your opinion of needless barking with a much wider audience via the tee shirts and other clothing in my QuietBarkingDogs store. Or would you rather drive your point home -- and everywhere else? Pick up a bumper sticker like this one: "One Barking Dog Can Ruin an Entire Neighborhood."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Just missed getting attacked by a loose pit bull!

As much as I'd like to keep this blog focused on problems caused by nuisance barking, I've been forced to digress. The reason: A near attack by a pit bull yesterday evening.

During the 7 o'clock hour, I was coming home from my weekly walk around Downtown Tucson. What should I see running loose on my street but a pit bull. White dog with tan markings. It charged at me in my driveway.

I put my bicycle between my body and the dog. (Thank you,, for the safety tip.) That proved to be enough of a distraction for the dog, which was giving me that cold, reptilian stare for which pit bulls are infamous. It turned away from me and ran into the city park at the end of the street.

I hustled myself and bike inside my house, closed and locked the door, and called 911 and animal control. Since the dog was running loose in a city park full of joggers, children playing, and people walking their leashed dogs, I didn't want anyone to get injured or killed. One mauling death in this area is enough.

Shortly thereafter, a police officer came to my house. He said that he saw the pit bull running loose. I advised him to be careful, as pit bulls lead this county's bite count by a wide margin.

This morning, I noticed that, in the public record of police incidents, the pit bull was not caught. So, my neighbors and I could still be in danger.

It's getting to the point that we can't even be safe on our own property from pit bulls. And, to me, that is unacceptable. That is why I strongly support the upcoming Walk for Victims of Pit Bulls and Other Dangerous Dogs.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rescuing a Word

One of the more annoying excuses for a barking dog is the rescue excuse. As in, the dog is a "rescue," so how dare you criticize its behavior?

In this context, the word "rescue" means that the dog was adopted from a shelter and, therefore, saved from euthanasia. Since behavior problems like barking are among the most common reasons why dogs are taken to shelters by their previous owners, it's no surprise that adopted dogs continue to have issues in their new homes.

But that's no excuse for failing to train the dog. Or to keep it inside the house where its barking will not disturb the neighbors.

I also think that it's time to restore the word "rescue" to its proper context. To me, it implies heroism. Like Newark Mayor Cory Booker bringing his neighbor out of her burning house. Or the Coast Guard pulling New Orleans residents off the roofs of their flooded houses after Hurricane Katrina.

Sorry, but adopting a dog doesn't rise to that level of heroism. It's a business transaction -- money changes hands.

There also is a responsibility that comes along with this transaction. I'd like to see more dog owners live up to that responsibility.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Need to be rescued from all the barking dog noise in your neighborhood? Take heart, barking is becoming as unfashionable as secondhand smoke. You can help spread the word via the tee shirts and other clothing in my QuietBarkingDogs store. Or adorn your car with a bumper sticker like this one -- " Yes I Do Mind If Your DogBarks."