Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hark, hark, the dog do bark forever and ever and...

Nothing better to do? Join in the conversation as it continues, getting a bit heated now, in the "comment section" at the end, below. Hark! Hark! The Dogs Do Bark The beggars are coming to town; Some in rags and some in tags, And some in silken gowns.* Some gave them white bread, And some gave them brown, And some gave them a good horse-whip, And sent them out of the town.
Hark! Hark! The Dogs Do Bark - Mama Lisa's House of English Nursery Rhymes, Comment Image

... and this news report in the Stranger:

Police Beat

The Crime of Barking

Officer Gary McNulty reports: "Victim was outside of the business with her service dog. The suspect was behind a pillar when the victim's service dog began to bark. The suspect pulled a knife and started to walk toward the dog. The victim heard her dog barking and looked to see what it was barking at. The victim did not [recognize the man walking] toward her dog.

"The victim observed the suspect holding a knife in his left hand. The suspect told the victim that he was going to cut the dog's throat, at which time the victim said it was her service dog and he, the suspect, would have to cut her throat first. The suspect said he would cut her throat also. The suspect continued to close in on the victim and her dog. The suspect got very close to the victim, within inches, still holding the knife.

"There was a customer in the store who heard a woman screaming and looked out to see a man right up in the victim's face. I asked this witness just how close the suspect was to the victim, and he told me that the suspect was right 'up in her bubble.'

"The victim told me that she felt as if she was going to be stabbed and managed to get to a phone... As Officer Schickler and I arrived on the scene, I could see that there was a female outside of the store with a dog, but no suspect. I got out of my car to approach the female—at which time the suspect [who had not left the scene!] came out from the area where he had been using a large pillar to conceal himself.

"The suspect was told to stop and to keep his hands out where we could see them. The suspect did not follow these commands and continued to close in on us. The suspect was less than 12 feet away when he reached for his left rear side. We were now yelling for the suspect not to reach for anything but to put his hands out where we could see them.

"Officer Schickler and I closed in on the suspect, and we each took an arm and began to walk him toward the front of my patrol car. The suspect tensed up and at first seemed like he was going to struggle. The suspect was finally walked to my patrol car and Officer Schickler removed a black knife sheath containing a black-handled knife from the suspect's left rear pants pocket."

Yes, the suspect was wrong to threaten the woman with a knife, but it's also important for dog lovers to appreciate the fact that many humans profoundly hate dog-barking. The very sound of it can grab a soul and shake all reason and sense of calm out of it. To you, the owner, the barking sounds like a little chitchat; to others, it is the last thing you want to hear "up in your bubble."

On the other hand...

Chronic barking is one of those topics about which everything you think you know is wrong. For example, you would assume that if your neighbor's dog barks in such an extreme fashion that your quality of life is devastated and the health and well being of your family is imperiled, that you could turn to your local police and animal control departments and get timely relief from the ongoing torment.

After all, you are the victim - right? And your recalcitrant neighbor who refuses to take responsibility for his dog is the perpetrator. Therefore, surely after the authorities receive your complaint, they are going to step in and force the dog owner to do the right thing - aren't they?

No, probably not. The fact is that the legal system seems to have been set up to make it something between difficult and impossible for you to use the resources of law enforcement to force your neighbor to take responsibility for his dog. Far from protecting you from abuse at the hands of the irresponsible owner, you will find that the system will run interference for the dog owner, and work to block any attempts you make to correct the problem.

The legal system cannot rein in an irresponsible or malicious dog owner unless three things are in place:

  1. A good law

  2. an available law enforcement official who is willing to enforce the law, and

  3. a judge who is willing to impose penalties strong enough to serve as a deterrent.

In Santa Rosa, California, the city won't act unless three neighbors are willing to jump through hoops, but the neighbors won't jump. So there is no hope of help from the criminal law, which is so bad that it is all but unworkable.

Even if you have a good law in place, it doesn't do a bit of good unless you have available law dogs who are willing to enforce it. A case in point: In Maricopa County, Arizona, south of Carefree, what used to be a quiet desert community is now awash day and night with the sound of five Pit Bull Terriers and three other nondescript dogs who "bellow" endlessly. The dogs belong to a young man the people in the neighborhood describe as a "loose cannon" who "stares and tries to intimidate people."

For the people of the neighborhood, the noise has reached the level where their every activity must be modified to accommodate the limitations placed on them by the unrelenting torrent of noise flooding through their desert homes. As one of the neighbors said, "It's just a terrible situation," but terrible is not a strong enough word to describe the hell those people are enduring. Unless you've been through it yourself, you have no idea.

The people of the community called the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, which provided the usual assistance you get in those kinds of situations. They didn't do a thing, which left the victims on their own with a resultant escalation of the crisis that led to several people acquiring firearms. "It's going to get pretty bad real soon," said one resident. "This was a nice quiet neighborhood. Now we're armed to the teeth like we're in some kind of war."

The sheriff's deputy said that, when he came out, the owner agreed to move the dogs from one side of his yard to the other side of his yard. The deputy thought that was enough of a good faith effort so he didn't write the guy a ticket. A spokesman for the sheriff's department said the dog's owner had been "more accommodating than other owners of barking dogs." Please, go back and reread the last sentence. Think about the implications of that statement. The officer said a mouthful.

Even if your home town has a good anti-barking law and police officers who are Johnny on the spot and ready to write tickets, it still doesn't mean a thing unless the local court is stocked with judges who are ready to crack down. Unfortunately, on the judicial level, the system more often than not falls way short in that regard as well.

In Oshawa, Ontario, the city council has received hundreds of complaints about barking dogs. Shift workers report they can't sleep at "any hour of the day or night" because of the endless barking. Imagine what it's like to come home wiped out from a day of factory work only to lie awake all night tormented by the staccato outbursts of nearby canines. Think what it's like at sunup having to drag yourself out of bed exhausted for a day of physical labor that you know will be capped off with yet another sleepless night.

Unfortunately, the Oshawa city council has announced that, henceforth, they will no longer even attempt to take action against the owners of barking dogs because the court returns so few convictions that the city fathers have decided it is "futile" to even try. It may be just as well because, even when fines are levied, they are usually so minimal they have no impact on the behavior of the offenders.

Think about this: Imagine you live near a habitually barking hound. There are four people in your family and, on average, each of you loses three hours of sleep each night to the neighbor's barking dog. That means that in one year's time each of you will lose 1,095 hours of sleep for a cumulative family sleep deficit of 4,380 hours on the year.

Now imagine that, miraculously, you manage to get the powers that be to come out and cite the dog owner. Even though the dog continues to bark every day, the city won't come back and cite the owner every day. Once the perpetrator has been issued a citation then, as far as the city is concerned, the case is closed until the matter goes to court and it can easily take a year before the court hears the case. That means that every day and every night of that entire year your family has to put up with this astoundingly stressful disruption of their lives.

Finally, after a year, the case goes to court and the judge fines the culprit $50.00. That means for every hour the irresponsible behavior of your neighbor kept a member of your household awake, he was forced to pay a fine of just a little over one penny. And you don't even get the penny. All you get is another year of victimization because, after the fine is paid, there's very little chance that that will be the end of it. You will almost certainly find that the dog will remain on the property and the barking will continue.

In Santa Rosa, if you are one of the rare individuals who is lucky enough to finally, actually get a judgment against a dog owner, you'll find the court will allow the culprit up to 30 days to quiet the animal. Let's see, if we calculate a night's sleep at eight hours, then, in thirty days, you can lose 240 hours of sleep. But, apparently, the city fathers were worried that it might inconvenience the perpetrators if they were required to stop committing the crime any sooner than that.

It couldn't be more apparent that what we have now is a system geared to harassing and hamstringing the victims, as opposed to a legal system dedicated to solving the problem by cracking down on the perpetrators.

An Emergency Situation

Anyone who believes frequent barking is properly classified as a "nuisance" must also believe that cancer is an inconvenience. When the essential character of your existence is transformed and the quality of your life is slashed, that is not a "nuisance." That is a full-blown crisis. It is an emergency that warrants immediate action.

What we need are anti-barking ordinances that can always be immediately enforced. What we have instead is a legal system that usually doesn't work at all and, on those occasions that it does bring about some result, it virtually never does so in a timely fashion. To make things worse, the current system often endangers those it is supposed to protect.

Propelling the Victim Into Harm's Way

The Multiple-Household laws, that were supposedly written to deter chronic barking, actually mandate that, before law enforcement will even consider intervening, the victimized neighbor must first interact with and take actions against the dog owner that are all but certain to engender antagonisms. Imagine the plight of an elderly woman awash in an ocean of noise from a yard full of guard dogs belonging to a menacing looking young neighbor known to use methamphetamine and to have served prison time for violent behavior. Do you really think she is going to march over to his house, as the multiple-household laws mandate, demand her right to the quiet enjoyment of her property and then organize the neighborhood in a legal crusade against him? In the actual case of this particular elderly lady dog-hater she stretched the Castle Doctrine's paramiters to the limit by blowing away the miscreant menacing looking young neighbor known to use methamphetamine and to have served prison time for violent behavior and his miscreant dog handily where they stood with her 10-gauge double gun, to the joy of all her neighbors and the constabulary as well; and was awarded the Key To The City by the forever-grateful town mayor (who had suffered horrid and continuous abuse at the brutal hands of the uncivil Civil Liberties Union over the rights of shaggy yoga dogs and shaggy chickens to bark). For further endless, lip-numbing reading about barking shaggy dogs see links below: Note: In its original sense, a shaggy dog story is an extremely long-winded tale featuring extensive narration of typically irrelevant incidents, usually resulting in a pointless or absurd punchline. These stories are a special case of yarns, coming from the long tradition of campfire yarns. Shaggy dog stories play upon the audience's preconceptions of the art of joke telling. The audience listens to the story with certain expectations, which are either simply not met or met in some entirely unexpected manner.


  1. My upper lip is definitely numb now but my lower lip seems to be bleeding!

  2. This era dogs are used as passive-aggressive, anti-social weapons: what bullets are to guns, barking is to dogs. Barking kills--a slow, painful death from a million bee stings. Communities should focus on the root cause of the conflict between barking dog and innocent human: the barking is the root cause. It's the BARKING that's the source of the conflict. The source of the conflict is not the barking-sufferer's REACTION to barking, whatever that reaction may be. Chronic barking is molestation. The party at fault is the household with the barker(s). It doesn't matter what the sufferer-of-barking does to try to get the barking to stop--they feel desperate because they're not getting support from the outlying community to get the barking stopped. I'm not talking about partial-barking stopped--I mean 100%. The barking-sufferer has a right to enjoy his or her patch of real estate unmolested by barking. The barker needs to get gone.

    In a conflict between one person and a dog, the human should win out every time. Human rights trump dog rights. Who is it who pays the mortgage or rent? Not dogs. Why do we as society allow dogs to have more rights than people? Barking is a serious offense: barking makes people--literally--insane. Chronic barking causes the barking-sufferer to not be able to meet his obligations in paying the mortgage or rent and put food on the table. People, obtaining dogs, who like to have their "own petty egos stroked," are clueless as to what it takes to truly care for a dog. Being the guardian of a dog is a lifelong commitment--it is similar as caring for a human infant--dogs cost money and take time--done properly--lots of both. Leaving dog(s) in a yard unattended and unloved is a hazard to anyone not the owner who is within earshot of the barking. A barker is a menace. A barker is a health hazard. A barker is an "ignored" dog--it's time we see chronic barking for what it is: ANIMAL NEGLECT. Animal neglect has serious consequences! Things have to be done, by the community, on behalf of the barking-sufferer, in its laws, fines, punishments, jail-time, impounding dog, or seizing dog-owner's vehicle.

    Communities should give power to law enforcement to seize yard barkers without the dog owner's knowledge, impound the dog(s). Or 6 months in jail. Or a US$1,000 (GBP£700) fine. If I had my wish, the dog would be euthanized within 24 hours.

    Dog-haters are made, not born. Residents become hostile after years of their communities having more sympathy for barkers than for barking-sufferers, communities who spit on human need for peace and quiet where they live. Having dogs growing up, I used to like dogs. No more. Barkers are REALLY, REALLY bad public-relations for canines in general. Barking gives the whole canine species a bad reputation. Responsible dog owners should pressure "arrant dog owners who condone chronic barking" to STOP THE BARKING.

    Dogs have no business around human dwelling areas. Dogs are "guests" and as such, must behave. If dogs don't behave, banish them. Dog exits off premises permanently. Don't bother with de-barking.

    Mediation implies there is something to mediate, as if with chronic barking there is middle-ground or compromise. Sorry, but I'm not going to compromise my physical need for a safe and sane soundscape around my home. The dog leaves.

    Nobody likes "second-hand dog pollution."


  3. All lucid, dog-loving, real human beings, unlike some dog-hating, egocentric bipeds, oppose "no-bark" shock collar electric-shock training for Dogs, which electrically shock dogs when they bark. In addition to causing physical pain and potentially serious injuries (ranging from burns to cardiac fibrillation), these devices can cause severe anxiety or even lead to psychological problems in some animals. No dog should have to live in fear of getting shocked for engaging in normal behaviors such as crossing lines that they can't see, barking, or jumping onto surfaces in their own homes.

    Dogs trained with shock collars may develop fears or aggression toward what they believe is the source of the shock (e.g., kids on their bikes, the mail carrier, the dog next door, etc.). Dogs have been known to run through invisible barriers when frightened by fireworks or when chasing a squirrel and then be too scared to cross back through the barrier to return home.

    The clear indication here is to punish the whining bipeds with flung Canis lupus familiaris feces. While walking your barking puppy, when he or she poops, pick up after your pooch and fling the fecal matter on the nearest sub-bestial despot who would decry or malign a dog's inalienable right to sing.

    Be aware! Certain admirable pet-loving underground organizations have been known to avenge with fire the misdeeds and crimes perpetrated on our four-legged brothers and sisters who sing so lustily on balmy moon-lit nights.

    There is a theory that, on such moon-lit nights, should a dog in New York City begin to bark, the ensuing canine conversation would spread into the suburbs, continuing westward, eventually reaching San Francisco before dawn.

    One bestial biped's "second-hand dog pollution" is an honest, normal, kind human's soothing doggy concerto.

    Dogs and their fine humans rule!

    Lester P.

  4. Lann and Lester P. are both weird nut cases.

    Cats rule!

    Have a nice day,

  5. Miranda is a mean dried up prune with cat breath.

    Lester P.

  6. You are a doggy poo poo head, Lester P.

    Have a nice day,