Thursday, May 4, 2017

Another Useless Barking Ordinance

With great fanfare, Hillsborough County, Florida has announced a new anti-barking ordinance. Sounds good, huh?

Well, like many things, the devil is in the details.This is yet another one of those ordinances with a multiple household rule. Meaning that if you're bothered by barking, you must get two of your neighbors to go along with you before a complaint can be filed.

Talk about a recipe for inaction. Quite often, the owners of barking dogs will turn the entire neighborhood against the barking-bedeviled person who dares to complain about the sacred utterances of Fifi or Fido.

After all, the dog owner is the victim! And Fifi and Fido? Well, they are beyond reproach because they are dogs! Everyone knows that dogs are always wonderful! All the time! So, we must not complain about them! Ever!

Well, dog worshipers, here's a news flash: Barking is noise. There are other types of noise that are dealt with quite harshly. And promptly.

Take, for example, my own city of Tucson. Place sounds like a kennel. But, when it comes to loud parties, there's the red tag ordinance. You hear a loud party? Is it keeping you up half the night? You call 911, and the police come. Oh, do they ever! The party house gets slapped with a red tag -- it goes on a front window where e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y can see it. The fines start at $500.

Why is this approach not used for barking complaints? The Hillsborough story offers a clue. The local rescue angels are up in arms because this new ordinance might reduce the adoption of dogs. After all, people might get in trouble with the law because of barking.

Rescue angels, here's another news flash: There's this thing called responsibility. You talk about it often. Responsibility includes having consideration for one's neighbors. If your potential adopters can't control a dog's barking, then maybe they shouldn't have a dog.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Subprime dog loans?

So, another night of waking up too early, and not being able to get back to sleep. The reason? Let me spell it out for you:


And here's something that should cause all of us to lose sleep: Subprime loans for buying a dog.

People, if you can't afford the price of the dog, don't buy it. It's that simple. Don't let the pet industry propaganda manipulate you.

On the other hand, subprime dog loans could be a sign of Peak Fido. (Hat to my dog blogging colleague, Animal Uncontrol, for coining this phrase.)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Barking Dog Lawsuits

Key point from my county's animal noise complaint process page:

"Complainants may also pursue civil action of their own."

Which raises the question: Can one be successful with such an action? Answer: YES!

Here are two recent examples from the Pacific Northwest:
  1. Disgruntled couple awarded $240,000 from neighbor in DOG BARKING lawsuit after claiming the Tibetan mastiffs caused them a decade of unrest
  2. Seattle family may lose house over barking dog
In order to win in civil court, you must prove that you have suffered some sort of harm. Take, for example, your health.

If the barking has caused you to lose sleep to the point where you've become ill, you may be able to recover damages. Here's an Illinois case where that is being attempted.

And here's a Colorado case that's even more egregious. Unfortunately, this man had ineffective legal counsel. Beware of that.

Then there's the financial angle. Has the barking caused you to suffer monetary loss? Is it affecting your ability to do business? You may be able to recover damages.

If you don't think that your barking issue rises to the level of a civil court trial, consider small claims court. This book may be helpful.