Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Barking Dogs

30 years ago I bought a house in a quiet neighborhood in town. One neighbor had a house dog, a poodle, which she kept indoors. Another had a dog that upended my trash can every time we tossed bones from KFC. Eventually, I took the chicken bones directly over to him. That solved the problem.

Now-a-days my neighborhood has filled up with dogs. Most of them are pathetic creatures locked or chained in backyards. Fed and watered and neglected. These bark night and day and since we've begun spending our time in the backyard, we are forced to endure a continuous cacophony of woofs, barks, howls, yelps, wines, and whimpers. One pathetic creature is an absolute drama queen moaning, groaning, whining even crying for attention.

One neighbor has two kids and a dog. Neither the parents, nor the kids, have any meaningful association with this dog. The kids have to play in the front yard because the dog poop covers the backyard and wafts unpleasantly around the neighborhood. That and because the kids don't want to be pestered by the love starved mutt. I cannot for the life of me, come up with a notion as to what motivates people to own a dog they want nothing to do with. Dog food is not cheap.

At this very moment I can hear not less than eight different dogs barking around the hood. My understanding is that the city has an ordinance allowing for fines to folks whose dogs bark between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM. It doesn't seem to be helping much. When I am awakened by a dog I have tried to avoid troubling the owners as I'd like to be considered a good neighbor.

It became so problematic night before last that I called Central Dispatch who sent an officer around to the primary culprit's home and thankfully, the problem was resolved. I settled down after a couple of hours and got back to sleep.

I hate to characterize my neighbors, but considering that my neighbors have ears much like mine, I can't help but wonder what is going on in their heads. Is this commotion somehow music to their ears? Has our inner city been infiltrated by Red Necks? If I confront them about their inconsiderate intrusion into my quiet life, will I be challenged with fists or a shot gun?

I'd call for them to consider their rude, thoughtless intrusion into the lives of those around them, but I suspect they don't read the paper, as I can't imagine that thinking, informed citizens would be so obnoxious.

I think the police will help me manage the night-time problem; but what can I do about the more problematic day-time annoyance?

In the day-time hours people are typically gone and make no attempt to silence their noisy critters.

As a child I was taught in civics that one person's right to swing his fist ends shy of the other person's nose. Does this not apply to noise, stench and allowing their dog to trot over to crap on my lawn instead of their own?

I suggest that dealing with this problem would be in the Vernal City's best interest. Charging fines for day-time, as well as night-time barking, could help pay for the palace they've built for themselves when most of us can ill afford to pay for it. Additionally, how about a sin tax on dog food. Children are starving in this country in the millions while dog food is a billion dollar industry. Since the city lives on sales tax a special tax on dog food might cause people to consider the value of feeding a mutt they make no good use of. There could be exemptions for service dogs, and dogs actually used for companionship instead of background noise, fertilizer and aroma therapy.

Quite often I find people yelling at their dogs. Rarely, do I find a dog that listens. Usually, it appears the dog thinks the yelling means he is not barking loud enough. I don't think a dog is fairly treated if he becomes the scapegoat for all of his owner's pent up emotions. Though, I'd rather the dog "get it" than the kids. Of course those who yell at their dogs yell at their kids too, who don't listen either.

I have a friend who is currently in trouble for taking noisy dog matters into his own hands. I think I'll not be doing that. But Central Dispatch is going to know me by name before the next few weeks are over.

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