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Sounding Off: East Dallas readers debate dog-barking ordinance

Barking Dog Problems

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Associated Press/AP

The Dallas City Council is considering changing the city’s Disturbance by Animals ordinance by dropping the number of minutes a dog may bark before the owner is cited from 15 minutes to five to 10 minutes. Last year, more than 1,600 noise complaints were made about barking dogs, but no citations were written.

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Related

Dallas City Council makes noise about making it illegal

for a dog to bark for 5 minutes..

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The Dallas City Council is discussing dropping the number of minutes a dog may bark before the owner is cited. Do you think the Disturbance by Animals ordinance should be changed?

Dave Dave LaBrec, White Rock: It simply makes no sense to have an ordinance if it’s not enforced, and barking dogs should not be ignored. The barking is especially troubling in late-night hours, so an amendment to a limit of five minutes is warranted.

The City Council should amend it and the city manager should see to it that its rigorously enforced.

Victo Victor Aves, Lowest Greenville: I heard this barking dogs issue on the newscast recently. My opinion is, why is it even an ordinance if it is not going to be enforced? I try to be a good neighbor and I very rarely have called the city on people I know who have pets, but I do know people who do. I typically try to deal directly with my neighbors. Many of the poor animals that are barking just want attention from their owners, period. If the city chooses to change the Disturbance by Animals ordinance, there should be some form of follow-up on the city’s part, including citations, otherwise we are just wasting our tax resources on something that does us no good.

Phil Mendershausen, Casa Linda Estates: It boggles the mind, does it not, that our City Council can approve a quarter of a million dollars for a whiz-bang camera system to record people moving through city parks but underfunds its Code Compliance Department to the point where it cannot even resolve more than 1,600 barking dog complaints each year due in large part to the lack of recorded proof? These are high-tech times. Sound measuring devices are on eBay for well under $80, and slightly more expensive, city-owned recording versions could be set up on the plaintiff’s property to record, time stamp and hence validate complaints. Just a few of these in the hands of our code officers could signal the offending dog owners that a day of reckoning is just around the corner.

Meanwhile, if they won’t let Fido guard by sleeping at the foot of the bed, or even let him into the house that he protects, then they might consider an inexpensive, collar-mounted device that beeps a high-pitched corrective signal when Fido barks. Dogs get bored and gossip at night about cat and raccoon sightings, neighborhood noises or even just the weather if things are slow. Dogs, like their owners, can learn that silence is golden. So, I say leave the ordinance as it is, and fund the code officers to enforce it. Just $10,000 ought to more than do the job — pocket change for this City Council.

Martin Drew, Lakewood: The City Council should change it to five to 10 minutes, and a citation should be written and given to the owner in person or in the mailbox .

Ellen Childress, Far East Dallas: This idea of a five-minute time allowed for a dog to bark before calling it in is absurd. The current limit is 15 minutes, which is just as ridiculous. And since no citations have ever been written, why bother? I don’t have a dog, but I am delighted with my neighbors’ dogs who bark when people are walking up and down the alley or on the sidewalks and have a special tone to their voices when something is happening that they don’t understand. If a dog barks incessantly for an hour, then I believe that should be called in. More than likely, something is wrong with the dog. He may be hungry, lonely or excited because of something going on in his own yard, or he may be tied up, which is also illegal if it lasts more than two to three hours.

Apparently, the city treats barking dog complaints just like they do any other noise complaint from loud music and parties to boomboxes and un-mufflered vehicles. They ignore it. So, if the city is really, really going to try to enforce a barking dog ordinance, then set a reasonable time frame, dispatch the calls and write tickets after finding out if the dog is all right. Negligent, mean or ignorant owners probably account for many of these calls.

G. M. Tippit, Lake Highlands: Positively yes to the five-to-10 minute barking time change.

James Thomas, University Terrace: I am not a big dog lover. But I think five minutes is a little unfair. Fifteen seems OK to me as long as it is not repeated.

Cynthia Bock, Lakewood: They are spending time on an ordinance they don’t even give out citations for now, and they want to change it? Are there no other issues that need to be handled? Also, to set a time frame of five to 10 minutes when 15 isn’t enforced? A specific time limit needs to be set and enforced. Perhaps the city needs to follow the old ordinance before trying to change it. Why have no citations been given? I would assume that the police have a lot more important things to handle rather than a barking/noisy animal. I also assume that when the police do make a home visit, a warning is given, and I wonder how many warnings a home gets before something is done about the problem? Evidently a lot, since no citations have been given. Or are there just not a lot of calls regarding this issue?

Jeffery Weber, East Dallas: I support dropping the number of minutes a dog may bark before the owner violates the city ordinance. Repeated calls to 311 should receive immediate attention. In the past I have had to call 911 several times to complain about the noise that went on for hours on a Sunday afternoon. My reason for calling 911 was disturbing the peace.

Albert Raya, Lake Highlands: While we want our friends and neighbors to enjoy their pets, we also need to respect the privacy of others. Rather than impose a direct fine on disturbing barking dogs, which does not directly curb the dogs loud behavior, why not require the owner to show effort to train the animal to behave more appropriately. An owner who shows a genuine effort to curb the animal’s enthusiasm is sincerely trying to respectfully incorporate his or her animal into society.

Brian Baldwin, Dallas: Barking dogs can truly be a nuisance, and nuisances can seem to go on forever even when the clock might show a shorter duration then might seem. Ordinances that deal with nuisances are often difficult to enforce. It’s especially so with noise ordinances, because noise is difficult to measure, making establishment of a nuisance often difficult. This ordinance establishes duration as a measure, but by whose measurement, and how? It’s unfortunate not everyone is responsible, caring and a good member of his or her community. Trying to force them, though, is difficult. I doubt shortening the duration will bring about any more consequences for irresponsible, uncaring neighbors, but perhaps it at least shows concern, desire and responsiveness on the part of the City Council.

Robert Smith, Dallas: There is no need to shorten the time because there may be an important reason the dog is barking. Give citations when it is a reason to do so.

Golder Wilson, Dallas: This is one of the neighborhood issues best decided by common sense and community feeling, but enforcement is needed for the occasional neighbor with no consideration. One neighbor had six dogs crammed into a small backyard that was mainly cement. The dogs never walked and barked constantly at any passerby or animal, greatly restricting use of the surrounding green space. We never complained, feeling neighbors should make allowances in the spirit of community, but others did to no avail.

Reasonable enforcement would prevent these examples of animal cruelty and human selfishness, perhaps starting with educational warnings for barking over a half-hour during day or at any time of night, then steeply increasing fines.

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