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Barking Dogs and People Rights

October 10, 1987

If my neighbor's dog barks three or four barks in the middle of the night, it will wake me up. I often have difficulty in then falling back to sleep. Several nights of this in succession, and my life is noticeably affected by the ensuing tiredness and irritability.

Under existing laws and enforcement procedures, nothing will be done to make my neighbor stop his dog from barking. Yet, if I were to go outside at the same hour and shout, "Hey, everyone, wake up!" my neighbor could have me arrested. If I continued to do it, he could most likely sue me for creating stress, emotional distress, etc.

If I were to record his dog's barks and then play them back at equal volume, I could be arrested for disturbing the peace. The police would come for his complaint, but will not for a complaint of a barking dog. My question is simply, "Why do dogs have more rights than people?"

According to your article on doggie court (Part I, Sept. 2), and according to the experiences of all of my neighbors who, like myself, cannot tolerate incessant barking, it takes from 30-45 days of intense effort to get anything done about the barking. Even then, not much is done and if the dogs start barking again, it starts up another 30-45 day ordeal. The cost to citizens is high and the cost to governmental agencies is high as well.

A better solution is needed and needed badly. The complaint, report and enforcement cycle can be simplified by requiring the Animal Regulation Department to take complaints by phone. The salaries of inspectors to check out the complaints quickly would easily be paid by fines levied after three reports on three different days were verified by the inspectors.

It's time to assert the fact that people's right to peace is more important than dogs' rights to bark.

By the way, I happen to like dogs.


San Pedro

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