I’m fed up with barking dogs, too

May 14, 2009

I’d like to make it be known that I am a devout animal lover. Sometimes interacting with a pet is easier than reasoning with other humans.

But sometimes animals can push the limits of a person’s sanity, and it’s through the fault of their homo sapien owners.

It was almost heartening to discover on the daily paper’s Web site today, dozens of reader comments sympathizing with residents of Simi Valley fed up with the incessant barking of neighborhood canines. In this case, Simi residents complained to the city council about 11 unruly dogs who live along a small cul-de-sac.

I don’t live in Simi Valley, but I fully relate to the problem.

In my neighborhood, dogs can be heard barking any time of the day or night. Next door, across the street, down the block. Sometimes, a dog howls in the middle of the night, and like a chorus, other dogs join in for some canine cacophony.

The problem is that often these dogs are encouraged in their undisciplined behavior. If I listen closely enough, I can sometimes hear my next-door neighbor try to get his dog to howl. First he howls, then the dog. Repeat two dozen times.

He knows it’s annoying to the neighborhood, but does it anyway out of some juvenile compulsion.

But largely, as readers understood, sometimes people neglect their pets, leaving them lonely and crying for attention:

“The reason the dogs bark is because they are not getting the attention a healthy dog should get.”

“I know they are lonely. No one, not the kids or adults, ever pays attention to them.”

Unfortunately, when this persists, it becomes a code enforcement, animal control, or police issue … or, in the case of Simi, it goes straight to the city council.

There are noise ordinances on the books in every municipality, but it’s up to pet owners to remain responsible before it becomes a legal or criminal issue.

One man quoted called the enforcement/complaint system “insane and unworkable,” citing an incident when a brick was thrown through his window after he asked a neighbor, politely, to quiet his barking dog.

This is far below the quality of life we’re owed as homeowners and tenants in Ventura County.

This is a county filled with many dog owners and dog lovers. But, of course, there will always be some bad apples in the bunch.

So how can we solve the problem?

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