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 StopBullying.gov 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?