Monday, July 17, 2017

Don't like dogs? It's okay now.

There was a time, and it wasn't too long ago, when it was almost mandatory to start your criticism of dogs and their owners by saying "I love dogs, but ..."

Well, I'm here to tell you that it's okay to not love dogs. Hey, you don't even have to like them.

Here's an example of how public opinion is changing. From the Pacific Northwest:

Not wild about dogs? How to cope in mutt-mad Seattle

Kudos to the Seattle Times for publishing this piece.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Victory!

Despite what many well-meaning people say, I do NOT recommend trying to talk to the owner(s) of barking dog(s). That very thing has gotten people killed.

What do I recommend? Start by checking out this website:

http://barkingdogs.net/

I also suggest a reading of the excellent book, Neighbors from Hell. You can borrow it from the library. Author Bob Borzotta advises that you not deal directly with your problematic neighbors. Use local authorities for that. Here are two helpful phone numbers:

911. Yes, you can report barking. Just make that call. You can remain anonymous.

Animal control. Here in Tucson, the number is 520-724-5900. They'll start the complaint process by sending a Sternly Worded Letter to the dog owner. Yeah, I know. A letter. How scary. Well, you know what? Sometimes this works!

Case in point: Last year, I reported neighbors for failing to control a barking dog and for having a yard full of junk. Shortly after they got the Sternly Worded Letter, they got rid of the dog. Code enforcement got on their case about the junk, and they cleaned it up.

After getting rid of the dog and removing the yard junk, these people moved. The property was a rental and has since been sold.

Even better news, the new occupants don't have a dog and they keep their yard clean. Victory!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Barking Dog Lawsuits: June 2017 Update

Here's an interesting case out of Dayton, Ohio:

A couple is suing their neighbors over barking dogs. The suit seeks more than $125,000 in damages.

The husband in this couple is a doctor. According to the Dayton Daily News report, "the constant barking has affected their marriage and [the doctor’s] ability to be rested well enough to perform surgeries."

Bingo. There it is. Sleep deprivation affecting interpersonal relationships and one's ability to perform at work.

Who hasn't suffered from these things? I can attest to the fact that I'm suffering from sleep deprivation right now. (Thank you, owners of the robo-yapper down the street.)

The Dayton Daily News story goes on to say:

"Six dog-related criminal cases from March 2015 to June 2017 have been filed against the [dog owners] in Vandalia Municipal Court; two have resulted in guilty pleas and $25 or $50 fines.

"'A reasonably prudent person would not allow their dog to make such excessive noise that it frequently and habitually interrupts, or precludes, the sleep of neighbors,' wrote [a local lawyer who is the plaintiffs' attorney], adding that his clients 'have a right to the enjoyment of their property, and to relative peace within their home.'"

In two short paragraphs, we see two big problems with dog law:

  1. Six trips to court by the sleep-deprived neighbors and the dog owners. And slap-on-the-wrist fines in two cases.
  2. The right to quiet enjoyment and peaceful use of the home. Which requires defense through an expensive lawsuit because the criminal process was so ineffective.
Here's a better system: The Model Anti-Barking Law, courtesy of the BarkingDogs.net website.

And, to that sleep-deprived couple in Dayton, I send you my best wishes for a huge victory in civil court.

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:

B-A-R-K-I-N-G

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.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Actions and Reactions

News story from the southeastern United States:

Athens man shoots neighbor’s dog because of its barking, tries beating it to death with bat

What's interesting about this story is not that it's unique. It isn't. This sort of thing has happened before, and, sorry to say, it will happen again.

What's interesting is how it is being viewed in the online comments. Inconsiderate dog owners are mentioned more than once.

Bingo. That's the problem.

As long as inconsiderate owners allow their dogs to bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, and bark, and do nothing about getting the noise to stop, people are going to react in ways that aren't pretty.

Want to avoid this reaction? If you're a dog owner, follow the advice given by this commenter: "Bring your dogs inside if they are barking. I have three dogs and would never expect my neighbors to deal with them barking."