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.


  1. Love the 3 points in the housing guide. It really DOES seem like the culture and politics of dog ownership are changing, and the drift seems to be AWAY from mindless promotion.

    The thing for us to do is, KEEP PUSHING. Don't let up!

  2. I do like the housing guide points, but at the same time, I cannot fathom college students owning and caring for dogs. I grew up with dogs, and missed them terribly when I went to college. But, I never once thought that my lifestyle as a college student was compatible with dog owning. My brother lived off campus with a roommate that had a dog, and that was a disaster.

    Again, its a matter of thinking about the dog's best interests. I can't imagine having a deaf dog as a college student. I have had two dogs go deaf in old age, and there is a lot of accommodation that must be made.

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Animal Uncontrol and snack sized dog. Really appreciate your feedback.

    The thing that really struck me about the girl adopting the deaf dog, then taking such lousy care of it, was how she acted like she ought to be praised.

    I mean, come on. You're going to be a special ed teacher, but you can't properly tend to your DOG? Yeesh. I feel sorry for your future students.

    As for the blase police officer, well, you haven't heard the last from him. He's going to make another appearance in an upcoming post.

  4. I just came across your blog, and I love it! I'm working on my own anti-dog blog, and I post frequently on ''Top 10 Reasons Why I Hate Dogs.''

    I'm in the same situation as you, in which we're surrounded by rental houses, and the people who rent them don't quiet their barking dogs. Last summer we had a pit bull breeder live two houses down the street from us, which concerned me, because I have two small children.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say ''great blog!'' I'll subscribe and keep on reading!''