Thursday, December 20, 2012

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

Barking dog nets man citation

Police said the incident happened at Rolling Hill Road when [the man's bark-bedeviled neighbors] reported he allowed his dog to bark continuously in the early morning hours on Dec. 11.

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

From TWBNR's Advice Column Department, we have this plea for help:

Situation: If your neighbor(s) have non-stop barking dogs because of negligence, or their idiocy because of literal ignorance, how should a good neighbor handle this? 

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Since the world is in full holiday shopping frenzy, permit me to recommend the clothing and bumper stickers at the QuietBarkingDogs store. And I wish you a bark-free Christmas and a very peaceful New Year.

Friday, December 14, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 12/14/12

Barking dog killed by trap apparently set by neighbor

Excerpt: Police have been called to the home numerous times for complaints about the dog's barking.

Troubleshooters: Barking Dog

Excerpt: Port Aransas Police reports show nearly 20 calls to the address on Whispering Sands Street for a barking dog, many of them from [the bark-beleagured neighbor]. "We would like Animal Control to come pick up the dog, put him in the Port A shelter where it is warm and he'll get a consistent meal, and then wait for the next trial date and let [the judge] make his ruling on the owner and what's supposed to happen with the dog," he told the Troubleshooters.

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

From TWBNR's Advice Column Department, we have these two pleas for help. Follow the links to render assistance to these barking-addled people.

Plea #1: I have a neighbor across the street, who has two bigger dogs (I'm  not sure of the breed) who bark endlessly.  It has gotten so annoying during the summer months that I have had to shut my living room window.  I thought that with winter here, and the house locked down tight that it would become less of a nuisance, but I can still hear them bark for hours (and yes some days it is hours I have marked down the times).

Plea #2: Our neighbor (directly above us) has a dog that barks constantly at all hours, but only when the owner is home with the dog. It's become worse over the years and my wife has spoke with the neighbor on a few occasions and we've complained to the condo association about the noise - she now ignores my wife when she sees her outside. 

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. I was at a recent outdoor gathering where the next-door neighbor's robo-yapping dog just wouldn't shut up. I expressed my objection to the noise. Neighbor went over to her place and put the dog back in the house. And then she didn't speak to me for the rest of the gathering.

Oh, well. It was probably the first time that she ever heard anyone say anything bad about her dog's barking noise. Classic case of the Dog Owner Entitlement Mentality.

If the Dog Owner Entitlement Mentality is getting on your nerves, head over to the QuietBarkingDogs store.  Plenty of clothing and bumper stickers that quietly make our viewpoint known.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 12/05/12

Should the County regulate barking dogs?

Excerpt: [Two bark-bedeviled residents] appeared before the board complaining about what they described as a nuisance being created by dozens of dogs penned in a neighbor's yard.

The matter has come before the commissioners before and it has been referred to the Animal Control Committee which is considering recommending an ordinance for Board consideration dealing with dogs, and specifically dogs that disturb neighbors.

To which I say: "Considering recommending" is another way of saying that the Animal Control Committee won't do a thing. And, yes, you can comment on this article. Follow the above link and have at it.

Bothered by barking dogs? Officials offer advice for owners, weary neighbors

Excerpt: The standard procedure for barking dogs is three visits for repeated calls. On the fourth call, animal control issues a public nuisance petition to the neighborhood. The petition is signed and returned, and then a public nuisance hearing is scheduled at the shelter.

Tip: This story is open for comments. And it already has a good one. Here's an excerpt -- "We had a dog behind us who barked the whole three years we lived in our house. We called these people several times over the three years and they did nothing. We gave up and sold our house because we had no peace. We called the sheriff also, but they just passed the buck too."

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Another frustrating week of uncontrolled barking and official indifference. Had enough? Make a point without making a sound with tee shirts and bumper stickers from the QuietBarkingDogs store.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 11/29/12

Dear Abby: Barking dog is keeping couple apart

Excerpt: "Princess" is a 2-year-old rat terrier/mini-pinscher mix. She weighs nine pounds and is spoiled. She barks at anyone and anything she sees. Her barks are shrill and can be annoying. But I live alone and feel she is protecting me.

Richard can no longer tolerate Princess' barking and has curbed his visits considerably. Except for this issue, he is my dream guy, and I feel lucky to have found him. I feel Richard should understand my attachment to Princess, especially when he’s not around.

Your Quiet Neighbor's personal to Richard: Get out of this relationship while you still can. Don't walk away from this drama queen and her spoiled Princess. Run, Richard, run!

Dog Owners Turn To ‘Debarking’ Surgery To Keep Their Dogs

Excerpt: Most cities have a noise ordinance and [the owner] had already received complaints, fines and even a court summons about her barking dog. She doesn’t care who thinks she’s cruel; she simply didn’t want her dog taken away from her.

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

Barking law shuts up humans

Excerpt: The City of Cape Town says it has received fewer complaints about barking dogs since a controversial bylaw came into effect last year.

But dog trainers say the bylaw, which fines owners if their dogs bark for more than six minutes in an hour, is difficult, if not impossible, to police.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Well, the Roundup is back after taking a week off for Thanksgiving. Would you like to give thanks for peace and quiet in your locale? Me too! So, check out the tee shirts and bumper stickers from the QuietBarkingDogs store.  They quietly make our viewpoint known.

Friday, November 16, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 11/16/12

This edition of the Roundup is dedicated to the clueless idiots next door. You know who you are. You have that pit bull on steroids in a poorly fenced enclosure that's just a few feet away from another neighbor's bedroom. I'll bet he needs to hear that bellowing barking noise as much as I don't. And, on the off chance that you decide to get a clue, here it is...

Noise ordinance should apply to barking dogs

Excerpt: I have every reason to believe that there is regulation in the City of Gautier that requires a dog owner to certify that he/she has a minimum of 85 percent hearing loss before being allowed to own a dog. I can find no other plausible explanation why dogs are allowed to bark under an owner's window beginning at 6 a.m. without that person seeming to hear the dog. This barking, at least in North Hickory Hills, continues during most of the day and into the late hours with few interruptions.

Tip: This letter to the editor is open for your comments. Follow the above link and fire away.

Smell the Coffee: Ask not for whom the dog barks, it barks for me

Excerpt: Confucius says a barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping lion.

But not to the barking dog's neighbor. Especially when the neighbor is grumpy and on deadline.

Tip: This opinion piece is open for your comments. Follow the above link and vent.

From the Advice Column Department, we have:

Question: I never have a peaceful day due to the dogs on both sides of my property. I called the police once and it was better for a while on one side. The one side has two BIG loud dogs and the other side has a little yapper. How can it be okay to let that dog come to the corner of the yard near my bedroom window and bark all hours? I can hear it when I turn the corner onto my street. These dogs weren't here when I bought my house and I don't want to hear them now.

Tip: Hit the above link to share your experience.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Had it up to here with stupid dog owners and all the  barking noise? Sound off without making a sound via the tee shirts and bumper stickers in the QuietBarkingDogs store.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Leaving Money on the Table

If you've been wondering why it's so hard to get nuisance barking under control, wonder no more. The inaction of tax-supported officialdom isn't just a bug, it's a feature.

And it's not just us, the barking-beleagured, who are trying to enjoy quiet evenings at home or hoping that tonight may be the night when we finally get a restful sleep. Think about the victims of dog attacks.

Many have heard animal control authorities say that what has happened to them was just an unfortunate accident. Too bad that you're seriously injured and facing medical bills that you can't possibly pay. Sorry, case closed. We're not even going to bother with an investigation. Matter of fact, we're giving the poor doggie that mauled you back to its owner.

In a recent post, the Occupy Maul Street blog questions the usefulness of animal control agencies. Quoting from the post:

"In an example of the current trend in Animal Control Departments across the country, San Diego County Animal Services recently launched the controversial 'Dare to Bull-ieve' free Pit Bull Adoption program. San Diego just experienced one of the bloodiest years for any Animal Control District in memory, yet they seem to feel adopting out Pit Bulls to those who can't afford the $69 adoption fee is good policy."

Mind you, this is the very type of dog that kills, maims, and causes serious injury at much higher rates than any other dog. So, why is a tax-supported agency giving them out for free?

Can you get a free gun over at the San Diego Police Department? I don't think so. How about a free loaner car provided by the bar where you've been drinking the night away? I doubt it.

Here in Pima County, Arizona, the animal noise complaint process starts with letters. Yes, that's right. Letters. You've had barking blasted into your living space without your consent and your irresponsible dog owner neighbor gets a letter from the Pima Animal Care Center.

Quoting from this letter:

"Animals make noise for a variety of reasons, including protection of their owner's property, response to new or unusual stimulus or from being left alone. However, animals that make noise routinely over periods of time, or at disruptive times can create hard feelings among neighbors and cause them undue stress and irritability."

Undue stress and irritability. That's the understatement of the year, Animal Care. And hard feelings among neighbors. Talk about sugar-coating the reality.

If you've lived in Pima County for any length of time, you're probably aware that Animal Care loves to cry poor about its funding. Seems that they just don't have enough money.

Well, I'm of the mind that they're leaving money on the table. If they were really serious about abating nuisance barking, they could make a fortune. Tucson Police Department, I'm looking at you too. If you issued barking tickets the way you issue traffic tickets, this city's budget problems would evaporate.

Useful (and fun) reference: Dr. Craig Mixon's site includes an essay, "A Cash Cow, Waiting to be Milked." And, for your reading pleasure, here's Dr. Mixon's money quote:

"Try this for yourself. Go out your front door and walk in any direction. Within ten minutes you will walk by at least four dogs that bark at every pedestrian that passes. (If you take a dog with you on your walk you will find that three times that number of canines bark as you pass by.) In twenty minutes on the job a noise enforcement officer could write a one-hundred-dollar ticket to each of those irresponsible dog owners. That's four hundred dollars he could bring in in twenty minutes. In a single day he could easily generate thousands of dollars for the city coffers.

"Now, in addition to citing irresponsible dog owners, imagine that your town also assigned officers to write tickets for motorized skateboards, car alarms, insanely loud car engines, blaring music systems and motorcycles that can be heard from blocks away. That could add up to a considerable sum for the city. It should easily be enough to hire back some of the teachers that have been laid off, or open some of the parks, playgrounds and clinics that have been closed in these times of budget cuts."

Do I hear the mooing of a herd of cash cows?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 11/08/12

Barking dog problem? City council cracks down

The proposed exercise in bureaucratic hoop-jumping looks like this: Once the new ordinance goes into effect, those wishing to file a complaint about loud animal noises or odors will be directed to contact the YPD.

Officers will issue a written warning to the animal owner and will ask the citizen who filed the complaint to keep a seven-day log of the animal disturbances to be turned in to the YPD's animal control department. If there are any additional complaints logged by the citizen, animal control will conduct an investigation.

If animal control confirms the disturbance, the second complaint against the same animal or address – occurring within 30 days of any other complaint – will constitute a violation.

The first violation is punishable by a fine not exceeding $50. If the animal owner is found to be in violation within one year of the first violation, the second fine will not exceed $100. The fine for the third violation within one year will result in a fine not exceeding $250.

Tip: This story is open for comments via Facebook. Have at it!

Neighbors growling about dog park location 

Excerpt: [N]ow that the park has been open for seven months, some neighbors aren't living happily ever after. They say they're rattled by the constant sound of barking dogs, disturbed by the conversations of park visitors and feel smothered by all the dust kicked up by scampering canines.

A few neighbors are so upset they have formed an organization, Pacificans for Compatible Land Use, and hired an attorney, Daniel Muller of Walnut Creek, to do something about the problem. Muller and some of the neighbors attended the last PB&R meeting, where the commissioners agreed to fully review their complaints and the dog park operation in two months. 

Tip: This story is open for comments via Facebook. Give 'em hell!

Proposed dog rescue facility raises neighborhood eyebrows 

Excerpt: proposed dog rescue facility on rural property in Pima County’s Northwest side that’s adjacent to a high-density Marana neighborhood has some of the Marana homeowners concerned, even before the dog organization files for a conditional use permit.

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

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Another week, another round of peace and quiet being disrupted by barking dog noise. And check out that proposed animal noise complaint process. The only thing they left out was the mandatory mediation. That used to be required here in Pima County, Arizona, and, yes, it was a waste of time and taxpayer money. But, since I'm Your Quiet Neighbor, I recommend that we fight back against all this idiocy in a noiseless fashion. So, check out the tee shirts and bumper stickers from the QuietBarkingDogs store.

Friday, November 2, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 11/02/12

Dog debarking policy at AVMA raises activists' howls of protest

Excerpt: Both dogs have been “devocalized," or surgically muffled, using a controversial procedure regarded as either barbaric mutilation by lazy pet owners -- or as the last resort of animal lovers desperate to keep their furry companions.

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

Barking dog case heads to court

Excerpt: The case of [Loudmouth with Nothing to Say], a dog that has been the subject of barking complaints by some neighbors, has headed to court.

[Loudmouth]’s owner, [Mr. Clueless], is appealing the orders issued against his dog by selectmen to Leominster District Court.

Augusta County Considers Dog Barking, Panhandling Laws

Excerpt: If you're annoyed by barking dogs and panhandlers, Augusta County is considering a pair of laws you'll probably like. Both are a response to complaints the sheriff's office routinely hears. But are they needed, and how would they work?

Fighting for You: Madison County Homeowner Calls Dog Barks Bothersome

Excerpt: Many of us have heard the phrase the dog’s bark is worse than its bite. Homeowners in one Madison County community believe it. They say the dogs at a nearby animal hospital bark most of the day. They want the barking to stop. One of the homeowners emailed WHNT NEWS 19.

There are rules in place for handling noise, but the homeowner wonder why the rules are not enforced. The Madison County homeowner lives a few yards away from the Flint River Animal Hospital. The animal hospital is in Huntsville. [A barking-besieged neighbor] says no one in the city or county can figure out how the rules apply in an area split between two jurisdictions. [Mr. Besieged] continues to hear the barks. He wants someone to silence the dogs.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Do you wish that Madison County would build a bridge to peace and quiet? Me too. In the meantime, you can get our point across with tee shirts and bumper stickers from the QuietBarkingDogs store.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Sleep-in for the Victims of Barking Dogs

This past Saturday, I was part of the first-ever Walk for Victims of Pit Bulls and Other Dangerous Dogs. I'm proud to say that this event took place in this, the City of Tucson.

I'll admit to being pretty hard on Tucson in this blog. My stance results from all the official indifference to the victims of barking noise, if not the outright hostility. I've personally experienced both.

However, I'm hopeful that when it comes to dog issues, and the abuse of people that stems from irresponsible dog ownership, things may be changing. And if Tucson, the city that sounds like a kennel, leads the way, hooray!

Although Saturday's walk was about victims of dog attacks, I met more than a few people who've also had issues with barking in their neighborhoods. And not just in Tucson. They've tried to enlist the help of neighbors in getting the barking problems solved, but no such luck. Which means that they've had to fight this battle alone.

A parent of a pit bull mauling victim reported similar difficulties in getting support from his neighbors. Despite the fact that his child was so severely injured that he spent several weeks in the hospital, there were neighbors who were, shall we say, less than kind to him and his family. It was nice to see this man and his wife getting such wonderful support at Saturday's Walk.

Truth be told, there wasn't much walking on Saturday. We were too busy hanging out and talking to each other. Most of us had never met face to face, but we've sure done quite a bit of chatting, sympathizing, joking, weeping, and sometimes cheering online.

After the walk, er, hangout, I rode the bus across town with a lady who is both visually impaired and in a wheelchair. She uses a guide dog to navigate our city, and she'd made her way across Tucson to share her story. Seems that her dog, a very quiet and benign fellow, has been attacked by pit bulls seven times. Yes, you read that right. Seven times.

Has she gotten help from officialdom here? Like the Tucson Police Department? Nope. Animal control, which is known as the Pima Animal Care Center? Uh-uh. We agreed that animal control is the most useless waste of tax dollars in our area. And it has some pretty tough competition from the city's downtown revitalization project, Rio Nuevo.

The organizers of Saturday's walk would like to see similar events happening in other cities. Great idea.

And, despite the fact that these same organizers received death threats in the days leading up to Saturday, the event went off without a hitch. I guess the people making the threats were too busy at their computers to come out and harass us.

Okay, now that it's 4:27 a.m. on a Monday morning, and I've been kept awake for most of the night because of barking, I have a final thought. For the victims of barking dog noise, I don't think a walk would be the best course of action. We're too tired for that.

So, how about if we converge, en masse, on governmental meetings and catch up on our sleep? We could don our jammies and bathrobes and head down to the Tucson City Council and have a sleep-in. That might just help us get effective anti-barking legislation like this.

Friday, October 26, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 10/26/12

This week's edition of the Barking News Roundup is dedicated to the hellhound across the street. Thanks for barking me out of a sound sleep at 6 a.m. this morning. I was hoping to sleep in. Oh, I have the same low opinion of your owner.

Barks vs. sirens dog Washougal

Excerpt: The city has a vested interest in reaching middle ground in the noisy conflict. It owns the property on which the Humane Society is located and acts as the shelter's landlord.

City officials say they hope to clear the air and bring peace between the two neighbors. The shelter has been in the same location for more than a decade. [The tax-paying business next to the barkophony] moved into its building about five months ago.

City officials say the two parties need to reach an understanding both sides can live with.

My take: How about this for an understanding? Keep the dogs quiet so that the employees of the tax-paying business next door can get their work done. You can share your thoughts on this story via Facebook.

Dogs beware: County proposing barking ban

Excerpt: The proposed barking dog ordinance says owners of dogs that howl or bark for more than 10 minutes during any half hour period after midnight and before 6 a.m. are subject to fines of $100 for a first offense. A second offense within 12 months means a $250 fine, and additional offenses after that are subject to $500 fines.

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

My life, or lack thereof, with dogs

Excerpt: Perhaps someone more Buddhist than I, perhaps someone with more tolerance and generosity of spirit, can put up with spasms of pointless barking throughout the day. But for me, it has the effect of applying a cheese grater to my cerebellum. Not to show my prejudice, but most of the dogs I hear are small dogs and -- I'm pretty sure I read this somewhere -- the barks of "yip dogs" as I call them are scientifically proven to be more deadly to peace of mind than the barks of larger dogs.

Tip: This opinion piece is open for comments via Facebook.

This Week's Barking News Roundup wouldn't be complete without an advice column question. Here goes...

Question: I have new neighbors that moved in up Stairs. They leave their dog alone all day long. The dog is barking non stop, my wife works night shift and it's impossible to sleep. Can they do this, and is there anything I can do? thank you

Found among the answers: I own the place, and people up stairs are renting. I spoke with the owner but it seems they don't care.

To which I say: This is why that oft-heard "talk to your neighbor" advice is so useless. You'll probably have a more productive conversation with a brick wall. Here's what Dr. Craig Mixon, creator of the website, has to say on this subject:

"In my experience, better than 45% of those who maintain noisy dogs are reflexively obstinate people who ignore polite requests and pathetic pleas, and will quiet their dogs only if you hound them for an extended period of time. Incredibly, an equal percentage are dig-in-your-heels, never-give-an-inch, hard core, incorrigibles whose perspective parallels that of Charleton Heston: i.e. you can have quiet when you pry it out of their cold, dead hands.

"At first blush, it doesn't seem possible that the rate of recalcitrance could be that high. After all, if you randomly selected ten people on the street and did a psychological work-up on them, you might find that one or two of them are chronically oppositional. But you would never expect to find that 90% of those whom you randomly evaluated, were predisposed to that kind of behavior. Nonetheless, if you take a close look at those who keep chronically barking dogs, the rate of recalcitrance does indeed seem to be that high."

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Still want to try talking to your neighbor? I didn't think so.  But, on the off chance that they can read, you might want to start walking and driving around with the tee shirts and bumper stickers from the QuietBarkingDogs store. Who knows, they might just get a clue.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 10/18/12

Attleboro man gets 35 years in barking dog murder

Excerpt: A Massachusetts man has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after pleading no contest to fatally stabbing a man last year in a dispute over a barking dog.

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

Police Dispatch: The Pool is the Victim 

Excerpt: A trailer-park couple's "kiddie pool" was stabbed into nonfunctionality, according to a Pima County Sheriff's Department report.

A woman told deputies that she'd recently received a handwritten note—tacked to her trailer's door—from the people occupying the neighboring trailer. The note had reportedly complained about the woman's dogs, which "barked too much," and about a small plastic wading pool that the woman and her husband kept filled with water to let their dogs "cool off."

According to the note, the neighbors believed the pool had been attracting mosquitoes, the woman said. However, the woman claimed she and her husband dumped out the water and filled it with new water every other day or so.

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

Barking dogs a nuisance to the neighbors

Excerpt: The other dogs in the neighborhood don’t bark. I am retired and love my Westies dearly, but even I cannot stand the barking.

Tip: This advice column is open for comments. Follow the above link to add yours.

Animals in the House: A good watch dog

Excerpt: You may THINK he's "being a watch dog," but if he barks frequently, no one who hears him thinks, "I had better go see what Sparky is barking at!" Instead, they are likely thinking, "There goes that stupid dog again! 

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

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Just when we thought the owners of barking dogs were oblivious to the noise, we have this week's story about the Westies that just won't be quiet. Will wonders never cease. If you'd like to further the cause of peace and quiet, head over to the QuietBarkingDogs store. Plenty of tee shirts and bumper stickers that let people know where you stand.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 10/11/12

Oakley leaders waiting on county to put bite in barking dog ordinance

Excerpt: Both the city and county have rules on the books that are difficult to enforce. Oakley's ordinance stipulates that a dog must be barking incessantly for at least 15 minutes or intermittently for 30 minutes for the noise to be considered a violation. Proving that requires an officer to remain on site for that length of time, which city officials acknowledge is not feasible.

The county's ordinance is similarly problematic because it requires people in two separate households to file a complaint before authorities will issue a citation. Bona fide violations often go unpunished because only one neighbor is willing to sign the form...

Tip: This story is open for comments via Facebook.

Resident seeks solution to neighbours’ barking dogs issue

Excerpt: [The resident] said there are 12 acreages near her home, with nine of them owning dogs, not including a local animal rescue in the area.

Out of a total of 15 dogs on the nine acreages, six are allowed to run free with no containment and three are kept chained to a leash or are behind an electric fence.

She said six owners leave their dogs unattended from 24 to 96 hours at a time and in this case, barking never ceases.

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

Editorial: Letting dogs bark constantly is rude

Excerpt: Yes, we may, indeed, have greater things to worry about in our world today - war, the economy, poverty and on and on.

But shushing their barkings dog shouldn't be too much to ask of our neighbors.

It's a matter of respect for others and common courtesy.

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

Shelter: Horn to quiet dogs creating a racket

Excerpt: A company located behind an animal shelter put up a horn to try to discourage the dogs from barking. But, the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society said it's their neighbor making all the noise.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Had enough of the racket? Tired of yelling at those clueless neighbors and their barking dogs? Rest your voice and drop by the  QuietBarkingDogs store. Plenty of tee shirts and bumper stickers that quietly and firmly get the point across.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cause and effect?

Noticed the following news story this morning:

Flagstaff police investigate hanging of puppy

While we do not know what triggered this incident, the final paragraph of the story provides a clue: "The woman told officers police had been at her home about two weeks earlier after someone complained about her dogs barking, Jackson says. An officer could not find any record of a prior incident."

Hmmm... A previous complaint about barking noise. A complaint which has somehow disappeared from public record.

I'm going to venture out on a limb and say that someone got tired to hearing this unattended puppy barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking and barking.

And so the noise problem was taken care of. Permanently.

The takeaways: If you have a dog, don't just leave it outside for your neighbors to hear. Your neighbors have better things to do than listen to your barking dog. If you can't handle this level of responsibility, then don't have a dog.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

News Flash! Barking is found to be pointless

Although I usually limit the media stories to the weekly Barking News Roundup, this one couldn't wait...

It seems that researchers have figured out what we have long suspected. And that is the utter and total uselessness of barking.

Hampshire College researchers Raymond Coppinger and Mark Feinstein just spoke at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. And, guess what, these distinguished scientists said that the racket we're subjected to is pointless.

“It is repetitious, meaningless and functionless,” Feinstein said.

So, there you have it. Scientific confirmation. Of course, more research is needed. And I would suggest starting with the harm that uncontrolled barking causes to those who are subjected to it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 10/03/12

Letter: Bark tax would provide stimulus

Excerpt: The Internal Revenue Service should set up sensors in neighborhoods that record the incidence of dog barking. The dogs' owners should then be taxed one penny per bark. The revenue gained would probably enable the national debt to be paid off within a year. The rechargeable bark-control dog collar business would probably boom, and within five years, America's neighborhoods would be quiet. Real estate values would also surge, work productivity would rise and the cost of animal control would plunge.

Tip: This letter to the editor is open for comments via Facebook. So far, there's a commenter asking the letter writer this question: "If you dislike barking dogs so much then why live in an area that has dogs?" Answer: Because it's hard to live anywhere on this planet without having to deal with barking dogs. 

More training, collar ordered for barking dog

Excerpt: Selectmen have received more complaints about a barking dog on Worcester Road, more than 18 months after its owner was ordered to take steps to ease the noise concerns.

"The longer it [the barking] goes on, the more crazy it makes me," said [a neighbor]. The barking interferes with conversations in her own home, she said. Discussions with the [dog owners] have not produced results, she said.

My comment: Just goes to show you that there are some people who have no business owning a dog. Because they can't handle the responsibility. And I think that in cases like the one described above, the dog should have been confiscated. Neighbors shouldn't have to put up with this sonic garbage.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Got clueless neighbors with chronically barking dogs? Don't yell -- you'll just lose your voice. Instead, start a neighborhood fashion trend via the tee shirts and bumper stickers in the QuietBarkingDogs store.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Today's Traffic Adventure

I was bicycling home from a meeting when I stopped at one of Tucson's busiest intersections. What should pull up to me but an SUV with a dog in the back seat.

The dog saw me and started barking. I guess it associated bicyclists with its list of Things That Must Be Barked At.

I wasn't in the mood to be barked at.

So, I yelled "Shut up!" at the dog. Several times, in fact.

Owner rolled down the passenger side and I was getting ready for a barrage of bad language from him when the light changed. Whew.

I didn't see driver or dog again. Thank goodness for that.

But this dog owner did nothing to stop his dog from barking. Nothing at all.

Another FIDO.

Let's just say that the final three letters of that acronym stand for "Ignorant Dog Owner." I'll leave you to guess what the first letter stands for.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Had enough of the FIDOs? Give them a silent, but effective piece of your mind via the tee shirts and bumper stickers in the QuietBarkingDogs store.

Friday, September 28, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 09/28/12

Princeton board again delays action on nuisance dog

Excerpt: Selectmen voted unanimously last night to continue until Oct. 22 a barking dog hearing that began on Feb. 14, 2011.

At the meeting next month, the board will assess progress to date on curbing the dog’s barking.

The dog, a 6-year-old rescue hound named [Loudmouth] has been the subject of a dispute between its owners, [call them the Clueless People], and neighbors [the Suffering People], who made the initial complaint, and [Another Neighbor Who's Been Subjected to the Din].

Based on last night’s recommendation by Animal Control Officer [Somebody] , the owners will be expected to buy and use a new citronella collar, to consult with a behavioral veterinarian and to provide additional exercise for the dog.

On and on this story goes. You won't be at all surprised to learn that the citro-collar order has been disregarded. After all, this is a RESCUE dog, and how dare we interfere with its non-stop self expression? Because RESCUE dogs are the most perfect and wonderful dogs ever.

County barking dog complaints down compared to 2011 

Excerpt: From May 28 through Sept. 2, 26 reports of barking dogs were called into the Park County Sheriff’s Office. That’s a 16 percent decrease from the total of 31 complaints for the same period a year ago.

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

Barking Dogs Disrupt Otherwise Peaceful Tranquility Of New York City

Excerpt: There is a dog that lives across the street from my apartment building. I can’t see this dog, and I have no idea what it looks like, and despite this, the dog and I have a very intimate relationship. Every time a truck rumbles by, or a police siren wails, or thunder crashes, this invisible dog barks incessantly for the next 45 minutes. In the back of mind I always wondered if this was the worst dog in existence, but now I know that he is not.

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

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Okay, so I took another swipe at the misuse of the word "rescue." But, in the context of purchasing a dog from a shelter, the word "rescue" is a bit of a stretch. It doesn't rise to the level of heroism as, say, carrying a child out of a burning building. Or saving a blind man from drowning in a river, which a youthful Ronald Reagan did while he was a lifeguard in Illinois.

Looking for more ways to put self-important dog owners in their place? Head over to my  QuietBarkingDogs store. More bark-snark than you can shake a stick at!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 09/20/12

Editor's Note: In this edition of the Barking News Roundup, we're going to take a special look at that oft-repeated advice to talk to the owners of barking dogs. Public officials and law enforcement are especially fond of offering it. Read on, and you'll quickly see how useless such advice really is.

Question: Why would killing neighbors barking dogs be considered illegal?

Excerpt: Polite requests from all surrounding neighbors have been ignored and laughed at by morons with caged dogs in back yard. These dogs bark ALL NIGHT long. There is no dog control due to local political incompetence. At this point, we are all at the boiling point. ALL local law enforcement ignores our complaints. I'm about to just take these dogs out.

Tip: This question awaits your response. And be advised that the question's creator says, "[T]o all you self-righteous responders just shut up the pie-hole. Also, we've all tried the useless dog bark stoppers on the market."

Question: Drug Dealer Neighbors With Barking Dogs

Excerpt: My neighbor's dogs wake me up at all hours of the night barking. It is taking its toll on my well being and capacity to work. It's actually a big big problem that is not fixed by ear plugs and multiple sources of white noise. I am literally surrounded by white noise. The big problem? I'm fairly certain they are drug dealers. I have tried to handle the noise in a low key straightforward manner, acting as if they wer not drug dealers. Someone tipped off the landlord though about the barking and they blame me for "tattling".

Tip: Another question that you can respond to. Have at it!

New research: playing classical music in kennels stops dogs barking

My suggestion: Cue up the 1812 Overture and aim it at the neighbors with the barking dogs. Or how about Ride of the Valkyries?

No dog control ordinance for Oxford Twp.

Excerpt: [A Township Supervisor] noted that normally, he doesn't believe in creating "excessive ordinances," but he can "empathize" with people disturbed by barking dogs because he has some personal experience with the issue. "I am bothered a lot by barking dogs," he said.

Barking dogs in Brooklyn fined by city

Excerpt: It's rare for New York City to issue citations over a barking dog. But two dogs in Marine Park, Brooklyn, were so loud that an inspector did act.

Both dogs fined live right next door to each other. Owners say the dogs egg each other on.

Hint to New York City: You're overlooking a cash cow that's just waiting to be milked. Start levying those fines. Your taxpaying, peace and quiet-loving residents will thank you.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Well, this sure is the Barking News Roundup that has it all. A neighbor driven to the point of contemplating the final solution to barking noise. Do-nothing law enforcement and clueless public officials. And a city that's missing out on a huge revenue opportunity. While Your Quiet Neighbor does not endorse violence against barking dogs or their owners, I do recommend a trip to the QuietBarkingDogs store. You'll find a nice, quiet array of  tee shirts and bumper stickers that get our point across.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pit Bull Attack in my Neighborhood!

On Wednesday evening, I was at a neighborhood meeting. Right before it ended, a lady living a couple of blocks away expressed concern about a loose pit bull. The dog had been chasing after bicyclists riding down the street. It has also stalked my neighbor in her yard.

A Tucson police officer was at the meeting, and my neighbor begged him to do something about this dog before someone got hurt. Well, sorry, there wasn't anything that this officer could do. He told my neighbor to call animal control.

Well, guess what happened this morning. The pit bull was loose again. And it attacked my neighbor's house guest while she was on her bicycle.

Call in the cavalry! Here come the police! The paramedics! Animal control!

Oh, did I mention that the dog owners hustled the pit bull into the back seat of their car and drove away? And that this evening, my neighbor and the house guest noticed a moving truck at the dog owners' house? Looks like they're trying to leave this area in a hurry. I can't imagine why.

As a favor to my neighbor, who is a longtime friend, I called the police again. I figured they'd want to know about the dog owners absconding and leaving my neighbor's house guest in the lurch. She's looking at a very painful series of rabies preventative injections, because we don't know if the dog was vaccinated or not.

The police dispatcher told me to call animal control. I did, and let me tell you, the animal control dispatcher couldn't have been any more blase if she tried. Never mind the fact that the owners of a vicious dog are ducking their responsibility and we have a bite victim who may be looking at some substantial bills in addition to her personal pain.

Oh, yes, the dispatcher said she'd notify the officer. But our neighborhood's experience with animal control leaves a great deal to be desired. Their response time is often measured in hours, if not days.

By the time they get here, our irresponsible pit bull owning neighbors will be long gone.

Oh, excuse me. My next door neighbor's pit bull is barking. Again. Same dog I tried to report to animal control a few months ago. I suspected that this dog was unlicensed. Which means that it may not be rabies vaccinated.

And animal control couldn't have cared less.

Refresh my memory: Why are we paying taxes to support animal control?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 09/13/12

Ask A Cop: Can I Call the Police on a Barking Dog?

Question: When can a person call the cops on a neighbor's barking dog?

Answer: We don’t go out on barking dogs at all. It’s a nuisance complaint so we are not going to respond in person. If there is something else going on, like the person can see the dog and it doesn’t have food and water or it is tangled, that would be different. That would be a neglect call. But if it’s simply barking, we won’t respond in person.

Tip: This story is open for comments. A lot of commenters aren't too happy about how the police and animal control are handling this community's chronic barking noise. Follow the above link to share your experience.

Owner of Barking Dogs Receives Conditional Discharge

Excerpt: [That famously irresponsible Tonawanda dog owner] said she learned her lesson as she left Town of Tonawanda Court Wednesday night after a judge handed down a one year conditional discharge instead of sending the 77-year-old to jail for one day. Since 2009, she has been cited by town officials more than 30 times.

On a more positive note...

There are a few police departments that have a more enlightened approach than the one featured in this week's lead story. Here, for your reading pleasure, is the Canby, Oregon Police Department's Barking Dogs page.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Do you wish that your local officials would get a clue about the harm caused by barking dog noise? Well, head over to my QuietBarkingDogs store. It has tee shirts and bumper stickers that quietly and firmly get our point across.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Protection From What?

Quite often, you'll hear the owners of barking dogs say that the dogs are there for protection. To which I say: Protection from what?

Around here, there are barking dogs that go ballistic at:
  1. Joggers
  2. Walkers
  3. Bicyclists
  4. Children heading to or from the school bus stop
  5. Dogs being walked on leashes, and no, those dogs aren't barking
  6. People in wheelchairs and motorized scooters
  7. Families out for a stroll
Note the absence of vandals, burglars, and other nefarious types from the above list.

So, again, why all the noise? Is it a way of intimidating the rest of the neighborhood? Offering public proof of what a jerk you are?

To the dogs, I say that you're doing a great job. And the great job you're doing is preventing peace and quiet in the neighborhood.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. If you yearn to walk through your neighborhood without the non-stop barking assault, have I got a store for you! Check out the tee shirts and bumper stickers in my QuietBarkingDogs store.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Putting Teeth in Dog Licensing Laws

Here in the United States, getting a dog license is easy. You simply pay a certain amount of money to some local governmental entity, and you're issued a tag to attach to your dog's collar.

In many areas, the issuance of a dog license is associated with the animal's rabies vaccination status. So, whenever you take your dog to the vet for that dreaded rabies shot, the license is updated.

Good idea, and it's one that has pretty well eliminated canine-borne rabies in the United States.

Unfortunately, our current system of dog licensing fails to solve another significant problem, and that is the competence of the owner. Far too many lousy dog owners out there.

I'm sure that you've experienced this first-hand.You try to talk to a neighbor about controlling his or her barking dog, and you're met with cluelessness, indifference, or downright hostility.

With education, some of these people could become responsible dog owners. Others? Let's just say that they have no business owning a dog.

I've heard that in other countries, dog licensing laws are much stricter. Take, for example, Switzerland. From what I've been told, you have to take a course at your own expense, then pass a written test, before you can get a dog license.

What's covered in the Swiss course, I don't know. Anyone care to enlighten me?

But it would be easy to include coverage of nuisance barking in a dog licensing course. Just put on a recording of non-stop barking and just let it play. Five minutes, 10 minutes, it doesn't matter. But I think that such a demonstration would make the point about barking dog noise. Then the course could cover the need for training dogs not to bark unnecessarily.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Is your neighborhood full of clueless dog owners? The indifferent types? Or the blatantly hostile? Give them a piece of your mind without raising your voice. Check out the bumper stickers and tee shirts in my QuietBarkingDogs store.

Friday, August 31, 2012

When someone tells you that dogs bark...

...respond by saying "Yeah, and some dogs barkandbarkandbarkandbarkandbark."

Feel free to add as many "andbark" repetitions as you need to get your point across. I guarantee that you won't need very many. I also guarantee that anyone listening will beg you to stop the chronic barking imitation.

At that point, you say "Welcome to my world."

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Silence is golden. And so are the tee shirts and bumper stickers in my QuietBarkingDogs store.

The Futility of Mediation

Introduction: In many areas, mediation is offered to people who are dealing with chronic barking. This means that you're supposed to take time out of your busy, barking-interrupted existence to sit down with the dog owner and work out some sort of agreement.

Or, maybe-just-maybe, the mediation session will uncover the real issue that underlies your problem with that barking dog. Perhaps the neighbor is of a different ethnic group. A different religion. A follower of different sports teams. Or something like that.

The following story recounts my one and only experience with mediation in the city of Tucson. The mediation took place on July 14, 2005. At that time, mediation was a mandatory step in the animal noise complaint process. There was no personal safety exemption. Which meant that if your neighbor was a gang-banger, a drug trafficker, a motorcycle gang member, or some other form of lowlife, you had to show your face in a mediation with him or her.

The animal noise complaint process was changed in 2010. These days, mediation is no longer mandatory. As you can see from this page, mediation is now optional. But I doubt that barking noise mediation is any more effective than it was when I experienced it.

Here's my morning-after-mediation story:

Among other things, my neighbor tried to suggest that it wasn't his dog that was engaging in the multi-hour barkathons that I find so annoying.

The most recent barkathon took place this past Sunday evening between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., and the barking was so loud and persistent that I had to resort to wearing earmuffs and earplugs in my house -- with all the doors and windows closed -- in order to fall asleep.

Every time he offered that "not my dog" argument, I took him and the mediators on a quick verbal tour of the houses around me, pointing out which ones had dogs and which ones didn't, and describing the behavior of the other dogs in the area. The other dogs are not chronic barkers, and, therefore, whose dog could it possibly be?

He had no answer to that question.

He also tried to paint me as a newcomer who wasn't used to the ways of this neighborhood, and hey, he and his parents had lived here for more than a decade and had never had anyone complain about their dogs. (They have two, a female pug, which is the chronic barker, and a male puppy of this dog.)

Furthermore, he insisted that the dogs are kept inside the house from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. But that still did not explain why the barking was so loud that I have to resort to wearing earmuffs and earplugs inside my house -- with all the doors and windows closed.

In addition, he implied that my making a barking dog complaint had to do with racial discrimination. One of the mediators was very quick to point out that she had observed nothing in my demeanor or manner of speaking that would indicate such a thing.

If anything, I tried very hard to keep my presentation focused on the use of facts and logic, rather than on the use of emotion.

  1. He gave me his land and cell numbers and advised me to call whenever I'm bothered by the barking. I fully intend to do that.
  2. There are quite a few feral cats in this area, and none of the local dogs are happy about that. I've found that using Shake Away cat repellant has been quite effective in keeping cats off my property. I suggested that he also start using this product, in hopes that it will repel feline visitors from his place, and give his dogs one less thing to bark about.
  3. Since the dog seems to go into these barkathons when no one is home over there, I suggested that they provide some human sounds for the dogs. I told him and the mediators that I used to house-sit for a lady who told me to put the radio on whenever I left the house. She said that having music playing soothed the dog when all of his humans were gone.
So, here we are, seven years later. How effective were those three solutions?
  1. In the three years after the mediation, I called this man's land and cell phone numbers many times. During the day. During the evening. At midnight when the dog was left outside in the freezing cold. And during the wee hours of the morning. I'll never forget being rousted out of a sound sleep at 4:45 a.m. on an Easter Sunday. More than one call turned into a shouting match. Finally, on April 13, 2008, my call was met with a curt "I don't live there anymore!" response. So much for trying the telephone route.
  2. This neighborhood still has feral cats. I've tried all sorts of ways to keep them off this property, including Shake Away. Nothing has worked. And the cats are but one of many things that causes that pug to launch into a yapping frenzy.
  3. Music for the dog? I don't think they ever tried that. I've never been convinced that they have this dog for any other reason than making money from its puppies.
So much for mediation as a solution. The only thing it did was waste my time. But dealing with this neighbor face to face just added to the suspicions I had about him and his family. And, guess what, I wasn't the only one. I think you'll enjoy the story I told in a previous post on this blog. The federal raid is especially delicious.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. To my lovely, pug-neglecting neighbors, I have this to say: You have provided me with inspiration. Which I am now sharing with the world through this blog and the QuietBarkingDogs store. Thanks again, neighbor-jerks. I couldn't have done it without you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 08/30/12

Tucson Tails: Dog's 'Right To Bark' Upheld By Magistrate

In the Lousy Legal Decision Hall of Shame, we have this: [A] City Magistrate  ruled yesterday that a dachshund has a right to bark providing the noise does not disturb persons "of ordinary tastes and average sensibilities."

Further in the story, the hyper-sensitive, complaining, cute little dachshund-hating neighbor is reported as saying, "[S]he heard the barks at night from a distance of 75 feet, even with the bedroom window closed."

Tip: You will be very pleased to know that the story commenters don't think highly of the magistrate's decision. Follow the above link to join the commenting fiesta.

Barking dog leads to civil dispute

All I can say is, what a surprise!

Vernon Looks To Tighten Barking Dog Policy

Excerpt: The town's animal control officer remains confident that recent changes in how barking dog complaints are handled should give the town a little more bite in court.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Yours Truly is writing this post from my currently quiet home in the great city of Tucson. How nice it is that all of the neighborhood dogs have decided not to bark for a few minutes.

You may not be at all surprised to learn that I've also been in court with neighbors over their inability to keep their dog inside so it wouldn't bark-bark-bark and disturb everyone living within two blocks of their front yard. And the judge hearing the case was every bit as clueless as the aforementioned magistrate. Long story short, I lost the case, even though I presented lots of evidence about the barking and its negative effects on my right to quiet use and peaceful enjoyment of my house.

Well, judge, it's our turn. I've set up a QuietBarkingDogs store for anyone who wishes to live without the constant barking noise. The store has bumper stickers and tee shirts for quietly making a point.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 08/22/12

Police: Troy man shot longtime neighbor who told his barking dogs to shut up

Excerpt: A 73-year-old Troy man has been charged with attempted murder after police said he shot his longtime neighbor in the face during a dispute over his barking dogs.

Tip: This story is open for comments via Facebook.

Owner of barking dogs found guilty of noise violation

Excerpt: It was another “guilty” verdict Wednesday night for an elderly Town of Tonawanda woman whose two dogs have spurred multiple noise complaints to police in recent years.

Tip: This story is open for comments.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Well, lookie-lookie. A slow news week.I suppose that's a good thing.

In the nearly three years that I've been compiling and posting these news roundups in one venue or the other, I've noticed that barking is becoming a tad more unfashionable. More and more reports of municipalities tightening up their barking penalties. Including hefty fines, and in some cases, sentences that include jail time. That happened in the Tonawanda case.

But we still have a long way to go in our quest to make chronic barking as unfashionable as secondhand smoke. Hence, my QuietBarkingDogs store. It has all sorts of bumper stickers and tee shirts to get our point across.

Oh, excuse me, there's that pit bull next door, going off about something or the other. Again. Just let me get a good night's sleep tonight, dog. And don't turn on your family or anyone else in this neighborhood, okay?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Land of Lost Sleep

I'm up extra-early because my aho next door neighbors left their pit bull out in the yard. Again.

Damn thing barked me out of a sound sleep at 2:45 a.m.

Mind you, this is a family with three children, including one in diapers. Why in the hell do they have a dog like that? Which of their precious children do they wish to sacrifice to this dog?

All I can say is this: I'm damn tired of sacrificing my sleep to that mutant.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. This is being written during the predawn hours in the great city of Tucson, Arizona. Where officialdom strongly encourages us to talk to your neighbors about their barking dogs.

Yeah, sure. I'm going to walk next door and risk my life by trying to have a dialog with the owners of a pit bull. No, thank you.

If you're in the same boat as I am, have I got a store for you. Check out the bumper stickers and tee shirts in my QuietBarkingDogs store. And I do hope that you can grab a minute or two of rest amidst all the din. It's so unnecessary.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Creating More Victims of Dogs

One of the most baffling problems that the victims of barking noise face is the indifference, if not downright hostility, of officialdom.

In a recent post, I recounted a pattern of police intimidation that I faced after I repeatedly tried to report the loud and hostile barking from a neighbor's pit bull. Dog was left outside in a yard with a very flimsy fence. It could have breached that containment very easily.

And did I mention that this yard was right next to a very busy sidewalk and street? With bicyclist and pedestrian traffic at all hours of the day and night? Yeah, we felt real safe going past that dog. Oh, did we ever.

Fortunately, the dog and its owners left our neighborhood. Alas, that proverbial door didn't hit 'em where the Good Lord split 'em.

Unfortunately, this is not the first problem this neighborhood has experienced with aggressive pit bulls. There's another set of ne'er-do-wells with a trio of very hostile barkers. And, wouldn't you know it, this particular address is one of the top police call generators for this neighborhood. Funny how that works, isn't it?

A nearby couple enjoys taking walks around our neighborhood. They've encountered these dogs more than once, barking and snarling their heads off behind a chain-link fence that they could easily jump over. On one memorable occasion, this couple heard one of the children at this house telling the dogs to be quiet. An adult told the child not to do that. Reason: The dogs are supposed to be nasty and intimidating toward anyone going by. Including an innocent couple doing nothing more than walking on the other side of the street.

I've been chased by these dogs on more than one occasion. I've also witnessed one of them attacking a neighbor who was pulling his trashcan in from the curb on a Wednesday evening. Wednesday is our neighborhood's trash pickup day.

The guy was so shaken that I had to help him make a 911 call. And here's the fun part: The police came out, and as far as we neighbors can tell, the dog owners got off with nothing more than a reprimand.

Mind you, this was a few months after these same dogs chased a kid getting off the school bus. Kid called 911, the police came out, and the owners denied that the dogs were theirs. Heck, they'd never even seen the dogs before. Well, the police went on a little knock -n- talk tour of the block, and the neighbors told the truth. Animal control came and took those dogs away. Neighborhood breathed a sigh of relief.

Our relief was short-lived. The dogs were back in this neighborhood a few days later.

So much for the public health and safety being protected. I'm becoming all the more convinced that officialdom couldn't care less about such a thing. And their indifference is creating more victims of dogs.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 08/16/12

Oakley council considers rules on noisy dogs

Excerpt: Oakley's Municipal Code currently stipulates that vocal dogs become an unreasonable disturbance when they bark continuously for 15 minutes or intermittently for 30 minutes.

But that requires authorities responding to complaints to stay in that spot for at least 15 minutes to determine whether the canine is actually violating the law, and if it doesn't bark while they're there, a repeat visit becomes necessary, further stretching already limited manpower...

Tip: Does your community have stupid barking laws like Oakley's? Well, you can share a piece of your mind via the Facebook comments on this story.

Officials ponder proposed 'dog control' ordinance

Excerpt: It all started with a request from a resident for a barking dog ordinance and now, the Oxford Township Board is considering a "dog control" ordinance that encompasses a variety of canine-related issues.

Back in Court Over Barking Dogs

My comments: Looks like that Tonawanda repeat offender is going back to court because her dogs are still barking. This lady's 77 years old, and, IMHO, she should give it up on the dog ownership front. It's obvious that she can't handle the responsibility.

I'll finish this week's edition of the Barking News Roundup with a super-happy fun opinion poll. As they say in Chicago, vote early. And vote often.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Does your neighborhood feel like Tonawanda? No matter how much you complain, those idiot dog owners just don't get a clue. Well, don't holler at them. You'll just lose your voice. Instead, voice your displeasure with the bumper stickers and tee shirts in my QuietBarkingDogs store.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why the Double Standard?

A few months ago, I called our local animal control agency to report an aggressively barking, unattended, and unmuzzled pit bull. The dog was kept in a neighbor's back yard. That yard had such flimsy fencing that it wouldn't have stopped this dog if it really wanted to escape.

The animal control dispatcher told me that as long as the aggressively barking (and possibly unlicensed) pit bull hasn't broken out and attacked anyone, it's not illegal.

So much for getting animal control to do anything. You'd think that they might be a tad interested in the licensing status of the dog. Last I checked, having an unlicensed dog was illegal around here.

Now, let's do a little thought experiment. Let's say that you're a human being, and you're in the habit of going out in your back yard and hollering threats at passersby. Doesn't matter if they're walking by themselves, walking with friends or family, or not walking at all. Maybe they're using wheelchairs or motorized scooters. Or, perhaps, they're walking their dog on a leash.

And there you are, shouting your head off. To make sure that everyone notices what you're doing, you're not just standing in your yard. You're rushing up to the fence that separates your yard from a heavily used sidewalk and street. What's worse, you're looking like you could jump that fence at any time. Hey, there's nothing like getting up close and personal with passersby, now is there?

I'll bet that, before too long, someone is going to pick up the phone and dial the magic three numbers. You know, 9-1-1.

I'd also venture to guess that when the police arrive, they're going to be more than a little interested in your ongoing habit of threatening anyone and everyone. At the very least, you'll probably be cited for disturbing the peace. You might also be warned that you'll be facing arrest if you don't stop the ranting and raving.

Seems to me that there's a bit of a double standard here. The dogs are given a pass, but similar behavior in humans causes all kinds of concern.

In an excellent essay on his website, Dr. Craig Mixon writes, "It is a great scandal that those entrusted with the oversight of the public safety have made the decision to tolerate belligerent barking, because allowing a dog to hurl verbal threats at passersby greatly increases the chances that the animal will eventually bite someone. Beyond a doubt, the decision of those in authority to ignore threatening barkers contributes greatly to the epidemic of dog bites."

Right on, Dr. Mixon.

As for the uber-aggressive pit bull, I found that animal control was useless. And the police were more interested in intimidating me, that neighbor who kept calling about the barking, than actually doing anything to enforce the disturbing the peace laws that our city has on its books.

One cop even threatened me with arrest for making a false report. That's because he and a fellow officer finally showed up several hours after I called to report the barking. Nothing like having plans for a quiet Sunday evening shattered by non-stop noise. There was no place in my house where I could go to escape the barkathon. And what was I supposed to do? Spend money on a motel room because some idiot neighbors couldn't control their dog?

Well, wouldn't you know it, by the time the cops arrived, the dog had barked itself out. Since the officers didn't hear a peep out of it, the problem had to be with me.

A few hours after that police call, the pit bull and its owners vanished from this neighborhood. And, guess what, nobody misses them.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Are your local animal control and law enforcement blowing off their responsibility to ensure peace and quiet in your community? When they start hearing from those who pay their salaries, believe me, they'll start paying attention. In addition to telling officialdom how you feel, tell the public too. I have a whole line of bumper stickers and tee shirts for peace and quiet activists in the QuietBarkingDogs store.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 08/09/12

Roswell man tortured and beat dogs with a bat to keep them from barking

Excerpt: Neighbors called authorities when they heard [the dog owner], 47 hitting his fence with a bat and at the same time heard a dog crying out in pain. Chaves County Sheriff's deputies arrived when [the dog owner] was still holding the bloody bat apparently used to beat the dog. The injuries to the dog were so severe, she had to be humanely euthanized.

New Dog Park Has Neighbors Barking

Excerpt: A place to keep your dog fit or a community eye sore? A new dog park has a Fargo neighborhood locked digging up a debate. The park would be located between 7th and 9th Avenue South near the downtown area.

Neighbors say there are a lot of issues that the Parks and Rec Department did not think about before they started this project. Also, they failed to tell people in the area that this was going to happening. And now the neighborhood is trying to stop it.

[S]top neighbor's barking dog

Question: So my wife and I recently purchased a home which we really love. For the most part the neighborhood is extremely quiet. Problem is our neighbors have 2 small dogs that are out in their side yard 24 hours a day. As soon as my wife and I go into our backyard they bark and simply do not stop. Sitting in my backyard is no fun because it's just barking all the time. Another problem is the neighbors are fairly "tough" looking dudes who I would almost be scared that if we pissed them off, they could retaliate. Plus they don't speak much English. Any suggestions here? I know I could call the cops but I'm hoping not to have to do that. What about those electronic zapping things you buy to stop dogs barking? Any suggestions here would be great.

Got an answer? Follow the above link and offer it!

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Is the noise from your neighbors' dogs making you barking mad? Well, don't just get mad, get even with the bumper stickers and tee shirts in my QuietBarkingDogs store.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Barking on the Air

One of the interesting things about the movies and television is how rare smoking on screen has become. Likewise, drinking. Dean Martin's "have a martini while doing the TV show" schtick would never fly these days.

Then there's barking. Still ubiquitous on the screen and on the radio. Trust me, there's nothing that makes me shut my radio off faster than that barking dog Christmas carol. That song gets more way more airplay than it ever deserved.

Which brings me to advertising. You're probably in a locale where more than one business uses barking dogs in its commercials.

Here in Tucson, one of the prime offenders is an auto brake shop, and trust me, I will never patronize that place. And there's a real estate agent who can't bear to promote her services without bringing her yappy dog into the ad. Cross her off the list too.

What made smoking and drinking rare on the air? Changing social standards.

We can do the same thing with barking. We can call and e-mail the businesses that use barking in their advertising. Remind them that money talks, and that our money is going to be talking at other businesses. We can educate the producers of movies and TV shows about the harm done by uncontrolled barking.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. If you want to show your displeasure, you can holler at those barking dogs on the TV and the radio. But you'll make yourself hoarse in a hurry. Instead, head over to my QuietBarkingDogs store. All sorts of bumper stickers and tee shirts that will save your voice and make your sentiments known far and wide.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 08/02/12

Woman's Barking Dogs Gets Her Jail Time

Excerpt: Police say [the dogs' owner] has received tickets and up to $2,000 dollars in fines, but that nothing has changed. That is why [the] Town Justice sentenced her Wednesday night to do one day behind bars.

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

Barking dogs problem a symptom of a cultural shift

Excerpt: Some have stated that their hunting dogs barking at all hours are part of a proud Southern tradition. I'd ask that they remember that shooting Indians, human slavery, raping the forests and polluting the streams were also past traditions that have been abandoned and are now illegal, for good reason. Human development requires that we modify our behavior as a society and adapt to changing conditions, and that some "traditions" are not worth keeping if the exercise of those acts infringes upon the rights of others.

Note: The writer is referring to this story, which was included in the July 20 Barking News Roundup.

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

Barking dogs could take bite out of Fairview wallets 

Excerpt: Under the new rules, township officials will measure the sound as well as how long the dog barks, how close it is to neighboring homes and other factors. Dogs disturbing anyone by raising a ruckus for 30 minutes or longer can be considered a public nuisance.

To which I say: Coming up next! Fairview dogs learn how to tell time!

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Do you think that jail time is a worthy penalty for those who can't control their dogs? Or would exile to a desert island filled with barking dogs be more appropriate? Yes, it's fun to fantasize. And, speaking of fun, you'll find it among the tee shirts and bumper stickers in my QuietBarkingDogs store.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Backlash Against Barking and Dogs

Time wasn't too long ago when uncontrolled barking was considered something that we would have to live with.

In other words, forget about your right to the quiet use and peaceful enjoyment of your home. The neighbor's barking dog has many more rights than you do.

Well, that was then. This is now.

In recent weeks, this blog has visitors with very interesting names. For example, there is the creator of the Dog Haters Unite website. Let's just say that this individual is not terribly fond of barking.

Also out there in the anti-dogosphere is Why I Hate Dogs. You'll find this blog's recent post on the pet industry's efforts to equate animals with children to be quite interesting. Quoting from that post, "The propaganda spewed by the pet industry has succeeded in turning otherwise sane people into besotted 'pet parents' who feel guilty if their dog doesn’t have the latest fashions, the brightest teeth, the coziest bed, the best food and medicine, or the most sturdy baby stroller."

A baby stroller? For dogs? When did they stop being able to walk on their own?

The backlash doesn't stop there. A few years ago, Carole Wade wrote a book that asked the question Is Pet Ownership Destroying the Lives of Americans? Her answer: Yes it is. She occasionally contributes articles to The American Partisan, and I highly recommend these two:
  1. Study Proves Dog Owners are Lonely People
  2. A Baby Boomer's Best Friend or a Worst Enemy
The second article has an especially poignant passage, even as it shows heavy overuse of quotation marks:
In effect, dogs lock "seniors" in their homes. Dogs restrict "“baby boomers"” from interacting with friends. Dogs restrict active women and men from the old activities of playing bridge or golf. Why? How does a senior leave the "dog" at home alone? Dogs and the new computer age have actually increased a senior's time to "stay-at-home" and become a "lonely-person." Interestingly, the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association promotes products that are in the worse interests of seniors. Their association is not a "medical" society. They are in the business of selling multi-million-dollars a year of "pet" supplies.
Do you know anyone who fits the above description? I sure do. And I can't help thinking that they would have much happier, more enriching lives if they weren't so immersed in their dogs. But that would mean less money for the pet industry, and we can't have that, now can we?

Truth be told, I'm not anti-dog. I take them on a dog-by-dog basis.

That's because some dogs are an absolute joy to be around. Their owners have trained them well. And they have sound temperaments.

Other dogs? Let's just say I'd rather not be on the same planet with them. Same goes for their owners.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Ready to join the backlash? Or do you just wish that your neighbor's dog would shut up? Express your displeasure quietly with the tee shirts and bumper stickers in my QuietBarkingDogs store.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

This Week's Barking News Roundup - 07/26/12

Mailman kicks barking dog, woman wants vet bills paid

Excerpt:  A woman who tried to get the post office to pay her dog’s vet bill after a mailman kicked the barking dog away from him ended up losing mail delivery to her residence, police said.

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

Jones does not support barking dog ordinance

Excerpt: As a candidate for the District 4 Jackson County Commissioner seat, let me state clearly that I am not on the fence on this issue and I clearly have a position. I do not support a countywide barking dog ordinance and oppose any amendment to the Jackson County Noise Ordinance that attempts to institute a countywide barking dog provision.

While I sympathize with those who feel they have a problem with a nearby dog, to think that county government in Jackson County can quiet dogs from the South Carolina line to the Qualla Boundary and all points in between is simply not practical.

Secondly, a countywide barking dog policy ignores the rich hunting heritage of a great number of Jackson County residents. In an age when hunting rights are under attack already, I will not support any laws that continue to undermine those rights.

Tip: Since it's open season on the right to enjoy peace and quiet in your home, why not follow the above link and share your viewpoint with candidate Jones and the readers of the newspaper to which he sent the above letter?

Chronically barking dog is a $150 fine

Question: We live in east Medford near Lone Pine School and we have a horrible problem with dogs barking. These dogs bark any time, day or night. The owners seem oblivious to the sound and apparently don't care. Contacting them would only point out the obvious. Other neighbors have commented to us and feel the same. With the warm weather, we have our windows open at night, and the dog barking keeps everyone awake. What can be done? I don't want to be a grouchy neighbor, but, geez, enough is enough. 

Barking dogs could take bite out of Fairview wallets

Excerpt: A new Fairview Township ordinance authorizes township officials to investigate barking dog complaints and fine owners up to $500 for persistently noisy dogs.

Dog owner: Neighbor slit dog's throat to stop barking

Excerpt: [A member] of the Animal Rescue League of Northwest Georgia saved [the dog] from a local county shelter.

"The story I got when I picked him up from the shelter was the neighbors had been complaining that he barked so much and their belief is one of the neighbors slit his throat," [the dog's new owner] said.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Another week. Another Barking News Roundup. And those clueless dog owners never seem to learn. Meanwhile, the rest of us are getting fed up. But let's not stoop to the level of irresponsible dog owners and spew noise into our neighborhoods. Let's share our displeasure quietly. My QuietBarkingDogs store is full of to-the-point tee shirts and bumper stickers that leave no doubt as to how you stand.