LETTER- A barking dog is a mistreated dog
In the June 5 article regarding the barking dog ordinance being considered by the Albemarle Board of Supervisors ["Ruff story: Will neighbors bark out summonses?"], Hank Martin's observation that dog disputes "can and should be" settled outside the courtroom represents an idealistic vision that, sadly, clashes with reality. The reason we need so much government intervention is that so many people refuse to be considerate.
Allowing a dog to bark continuously is not only incredibly disrespectful of neighbors, it also represents animal cruelty. A dog that barks and barks without an obvious cause– such as at a person or another animal– is a dog that is terribly unhappy. A dog that has companionship does not bark continuously.
Even though they exhibit a great deal of diversity in size, molecular genetic evidence shows that domestic dogs are gray wolves, which means that dogs are highly social and do not want to be alone. Dogs continuously barking are dogs that have been placed in what amounts to solitary confinement.
With approximately 45 million Americans owning dogs, it's really surprising that our society doesn't seem to recognize that (1) barking for hours on end is not normal dog behavior, and (2) such behavior should be recognized as resulting from inhumane treatment.
As for Dave Heilberg's concern that false accusations could be "lobbed by feuding neighbors," this is easily avoidable. If Animal Control officers arrive to find a dog barking, you can bet that dog has been barking for more than the 30 minutes required by the proposed ordinance because often you can't even reach an Animal Control officer for more than 30 minutes.
It's unbelievable that dogs are exempt from the noise ordinance anyway. A barking dog is every bit as aggravating to put up with, if not more so, as loud music. Considering the inhumane aspect of it, it's hard to understand anyone justifying opposition to this ordinance.