I understand why most people like to have dogs as companions. Dogs are truly wonderful bundles of energy that accept and share love freely. Yet canine communication is far from pleasant to hear and likely evolved that way as a means to call the pack together over great distances and scare possible threats to their domains by being as loud and obnoxious as possible.
There are many ways to describe barks—broken gears grinding, unoiled rusty wheels squeaking, or rather screeching, nails on chalkboard, a thousand nails on chalkboards, buck shot, back fire, or any other imaginative description one can conjure to describe a most uncomfortable, ear wrenching sound. Dog barks can even be compared to some mentally ill person that yells out profanity at the top of their lungs, over and over, and over, never losing the ability to utter swear words, loudly.
Consequently all dog barking—yelping—crying—howling—introduces animal stress, neglect, and abuse, bringing a slum atmosphere into any community where this poisonous cloud settles. And conveys the dog owners' intentional or unintentional disregard for their neighbors.
The main goal of barkingLOTS.us is to help all of US—dog owners and non dog owners—by bringing into the light of awareness the epidemic that has festered wherever humans set up living establishments—barking dogs. With the aim that all dog owners will grow to appreciate their dogs and their neighbors more.
Dog barks are inherently harsh and unpleasant and emit stress into any neighborhood bringing the entire community down. Therefore any person who harbors animals (especially dogs) and lives within one mile of any other human should make a concerted effort to keep their animals (especially dogs) quiet—at all times of the day and night.
When dogs feel content they are automatically quiet. When they are stressed dogs express their stress to the world around them, spewing even more stress and ill feeling into the air and everyone's ears and minds.
Why Dog Barking Is A Serious Problem And Should Be Stopped.
All sounds have an affect on the human body whether people realize it or not. A documented case regarding the affects of sounds on human beings discovered that an air conditioning unit had a motor vibrating at a frequency which caused many employees to become ill. I have a personal experience of noting the calm my body instantly felt after turning off the lighting system while closing up a model shop for the day. Also since barking in our community has grown steadily worse for years, just one bark now causes my body to tense up with the stressful anticipation that more barking will follow. Dog barking is a sound that affects people whether they realize it or not.
When considering how to describe dog barking as a sound it must be placed in the classification of stress inducing. Dog barks are inherently harsh and unpleasant, and extremely abrasive to the ears and psyche. A good analogy is that each bark is a form of sandpaper on the ear drums, issued in a variety of grits from super rough pointy shards to piercing fine thorny splinters.
Additionally when examining a typical slum area, dog barking is usually prevalent. So it can be deduced that by allowing dog barking to continue, it will grow worse and it will have a detrimental affect on all humans in the community, creating more stress, and poorer living conditions bringing the entire community down.
Why Dogs Bark.
Dogs harbored by humans, usually as pets, only bark when they are not guided to stop. It is imperative for the well being of a community that all dog owners be able to and actively keep their dogs quiet at all times.
Animals, especially dogs, are a huge responsibility and it is clear that many dog owners neglect their responsibility—either by choice or happenstance—by installing doggy doors, leaving dogs in yards throughout the day and night, or putting dogs in garages. I've even seen where someone had placed in their yard a full grown German Shepherd in a metal cage only slightly larger than the dog, with no room to turn around. Animal abuse is not a good way to train animals.
Additionally any training that involves isolation of the animal should be done inside the dog owner's residence, and should not be imposed on the neighborhood. Unfortunately for the neighbors, there are many dog owners who put dogs outside the home as discipline, resulting in a constant crying and yelping.
Also many dog owners adopt the act of tuning out their own dog's nuisance. It's quite bizarre to witness a neighbor staring with a demented look through their screen door at an old decrepit dog barking rhythmically for hours and hours behind their house. Whether they realize it or not the stressful barking from their own dogs is having a detrimental affect on their own health.
It is obvious by the lack of constructive guidance toward their pets that many dog owners would be better owners of soft, cuddly, stuffed toy animals. Ones without batteries or any sound producing mechanism whatsoever. That don't require rides to the vet, shots, licensing, training, feeding, walking, playtime, or poopy bags or any responsibility at all.
The Responsibility Of Keeping A Dog Quiet Rests Upon The Dog Owner.
For the health of the community if dogs can not be guided efficiently to stop barking immediately, the dogs should be kenneled or kept enclosed in the dog owner's residence with no open doors or windows and not in a garage. Dogs can be trained not to defecate in homes so that is not a valid excuse for allowing dogs to move about freely or be left outside the house. An option that dog owners might consider is the inclusion of devices to keep dogs from barking, but the devices must be used effectively.
The burden of keeping the nuisance of dog barking at bay by closing doors and windows should not be placed upon the neighboring residents. One very important fact to note is that closed windows and doors don't keep the sounds of neighboring dog barks out. And I've personally had to resort to wearing shop grade ear protection which, by design for safety, still can't keep out certain frequencies. A more effective means to drown out dog barking is to create more noise, which is ludicrous.
Dogs make great animal companions for humans, but nature blessed canines with one of the most disturbing forms of audible communication. If by chance a dog owner truly loves dog barking—great. They should simply enclose themselves along with their dogs in their own residence with no open doors or windows, and not in a garage so that they can enjoy one of nature's worst sounds to their hearts and ears content.
Why Some Dog Owners Vouch For Dog Barking.
There is this unrealistic notion held by many that dogs are a great means of home security and that dog barking acts as an alarm system. It is clear by the nuisance of constant barking that it is ineffective as an alarm system. And if it is deemed an alarm system, many cities have adopted the act of fining homes where alarms systems go off repeatedly.
Also it is common knowledge that many household chemicals and hand tools can immediately eliminate dogs as an obstacle to any intruder. Even chocolate can eventually have an ill affect on dogs as a security system, as the millions who enjoy The Big Bang Theory can attest. And given that most dogs are left out neglected, any intruder with a ball or squeaky toy will have a new best friend.
The only influence that dog barking has is to let everyone around know when the residence is usually unoccupied, scaring and annoying innocent people walking or living nearby. It is a safe conclusion that one in maybe a million barks actually serves any benefit to humans.
What Is The Responsibility Of Dog Owners To The Community?
In all communities involving an HOA all residents should have signed a document agreeing to abide by the covenants. It is a safe bet that any covenants include a clause for keeping animals quiet. Actually any excessive noise is usually prohibited.
Additionally anywhere humans live there is likely an ordinance or local law that requires all residents to honor the sound space of others by keeping noise at a minimum. But unfortunately with terms like "excessive" added to the interpretation most laws are not being allowed to be effective which in turn also makes enforcing HOA covenants difficult.
A typical ordinance for code enforcement might read as follows.
It is unlawful to harbor or keep any animals that disturb the peace, comfort or health of any person residing in the town at any time of the day or night.
Which is made completely useless by allowing the following interpretation to supersede the law.
It's unlawful to have dogs excessively barking at any time of the day.
The term "excessively" must be removed and never added and the term "night" must be put back. In fact the entire dummed down interpretation should be thrown out. The language of the ordinance doesn't involve any hard to understand words. And there's always a dictionary.
Dog barking must be made a top code violation, for every bark is a passive form of invasion of privacy for every residence within hearing distance. One dog bark can easily invade the privacy of more than twenty homes.
Also the term "excessive barking" is vague and unenforceable. Say for instance all roadways had signs reading "Avoid Excessive Speeds". Excessive is a subjective term. The only enforceable limit in regards to dog barking is that "one bark in any community is excessive barking". For example it only takes one bark to wake up everyone within earshot, or scare a child riding a bicycle into oncoming traffic.
As with all enforceable limits they are in place to be effective as guides, but in a community with hundreds of dogs, zero barking should be the ultimate goal.
Another extreme detriment to efficiently enforcing dog barking limits is the criteria that
when one person decides to call in the nuisance—she is expected to track down the address of every dog that is barking—even at one in the morning—note if there are multiple dogs at a given location—describe the dogs—keep track of every time dogs bark—make recordings—by the way, did she try to talk with the dog owners?—How many times were notes left?
How does a startled awoken person figure out what dog issued the single booming bark or the nails-on-chalkboard screeching at two in the morning. Then the "victim" must be prepared to go to court for each dog nuisance owner.
It is a fact that several homes may have barking dogs around one home that does not. It is unreasonable, unrealistic, and ineffective in the extreme to expect one person to take on the responsibilities of so many irresponsible and grossly inconsiderate dog owners.
What Can Neighbors Do To Stop Barking Nuisance?
Since current enforcement of the law actually works against the victims of dog nuisance, many people decide to solve the problem for themselves.
There have been news reports—much to the dismay of the dog owners—describing how fed-up neighbors have poisoned dogs that were a nuisance to the community. If I were a juror in a trial I would have to side with the disgruntled neighbors. The lawyers would be right to argue that it is the neighbors legal right to protect their homes from pests. And if dog owners are unable to keep their dogs from becoming a nuisance to others, enabling their dogs to invade the privacy of other homes, then the dog owners must accept that neighbors have a right to protect the sanctity of their homes.
Furthermore the legal team should urge that punitive damages be awarded to all neighbors within a certain radius from the dog owner's residence. And request that the courts remove all animals from the care of the dog owner and put a restraining order in place prohibiting any future harboring of animals.
Some might be shocked that nuisance dogs are poisoned, and that others would support such an act, but there is already a multibillion dollar industry in place that legally uses poison to eliminate pests from entering the home. And it is already accepted practice to euthanize animals that are a danger to the well being of humans.
In truth the animals are usually not the problem. Instead the dog owners are the true source of the dog nuisance, but poisoning humans for being lousy dog owners or inconsiderate neighbors is not accepted.
Ultimately there is no need for any poisoning, only a need for dog owners to actively show consideration for the people around them.
The Burden Of Any Dog Nuisance Must Be Placed Upon The Shoulders Of Those Harboring Dogs.
A more effective means of enforcing current laws would be to have daily unbiased patrols in the community that could be accomplished at various times over a twenty four hour period. In addition to posting permanent notices by all mailboxes, an added good practice would be to send flyers regularly by mail to every household imploring dog owners to keep dogs quiet at all times, possibly including techniques and solutions, and encouraging people to call in reports of dog nuisance to help direct focus of patrols. Having such patrols will remove the burden placed upon "victims".
When patrols become witness to dog barking, notices can then be issued by patrols to help advise dog owners to keep their dogs quiet or enclosed within their residence. A database of properties harboring dogs will be amassed, which should also include video evidence obtained by patrols.
Ultimately the patrols will be able to issue fines to dog owners who repeatedly neglect to keep their dogs quiet. If dog owners still continue to allow nuisance, the city will then be able to take the dog owners to court without the need of victim involvement.
When the burden of dealing with dog nuisance is placed upon the dog owners then more and more dog owners will keep their dogs quiet or they will decide to give their dogs to people more able to take care of canine needs with respect for the community.
Another more obvious solution to the Dog Barking Syndrome is for anyone who harbors a dog to realize that it's cool to respect others and honor everyone's right to peace.