Tuesday, June 29, 2010


We have a court date set for July 21. I am collecting statements from witnesses and researching cases to see what sort of a defense I can mount for my client. Her name is Brunhilda, Hilda for short. She has been a member of our family for 13 years which makes her 91 years old in her kind of years - that would be dog years.

She has now been complained against 3 times for barking by the neighbor who lives in the house behind us. He has never come over to speak with us or left a note. We don't know his name or what he looks like. The first complaint came when we were out of town and we just thought it was a mistake, wrong house. Hilda was inside, asleep.

There is a house two doors down with 3 chihuahuas and those dogs bark a lot. I had just gone over to talk to the owners and other neighbors have called the police to complain about them. Then, in rapid fire, we got two more complaints about our dog barking. That even though she was inside our house with windows closed, she was disturbing this neighbor. The officer who came to the house was very apologetic, he said that the neighbor insisted that he write a citation for a misdemeanor (with a fine of $100.00) which is his right after 3 incidents.

The officer said we should dispute the citation and we would probably have the fine waived. He did not hear the dog barking and will be at the "hearing" and testify to that effect. In the meantime, we have made some changes with Hilda. I read that some older dogs do start going through separation anxiety and that she very well may have been barking when we have been out of the house. She doesn't see and hear as well as she used to and can contribute to her anxiety when she is alone.

We have started putting her back into her crate in the front room of the house when we leave. After a few times she calmed down and settled in without barking. I have also been taking her on more walks and out and about with me when I can so she has more stimulation.

If the neighbor had just talked to us or left a note I would have take this all more seriously from the very beginning. It is hard to know what to think when you have not witnessed the behaviour someone is complaining about, so we just thought it was a mistake or retribution for the complaint against his neighbor.

We have always been very careful of Hilda's behaviour when she is outside, who knew that if someones hearing was good enough and their tolerance low enough, that you had to be careful of the dog's behaviour inside, too? The ordinance doesn't indicate how loud the barking has to be, just that it is disturbing "any reasonable person's peace and quiet." Nice and vague. Let's hope the Judge is an animal lover!


yogurt said...

I am assuming your windows are open when this disturbance is heard?? And yes, a note or a conversation can sometimes do wonders.

smalltownmom said...

Sometimes it is very hard to pinpoint where a noise is coming from. We have apartments across the creek from our backyard. The manager used to come to our house to complain about the noises from the pool. Which I don't have! The pool is two houses down the street. (And I never complain about the apartments.)

Good luck with your case.

mkosboth said...

Back when we had a golden retriever, a neighbor complained about barking and called the police. They came, and I answered the door, with the accused dog at my side, who was decidedly NOT barking. But barking there was! I walked the nice officer to our backyard which backed up to a yard where lo and behold, two crazed dogs were barking up a storm. They could come and go from the house through a doggie door, and spend a LOT of time being noisy. Needless to say the correct dogs and owners were taken to task. My dog continued to be a good citizen.

jenn said...

Hmm, sounds kind of fishy. I wonder if he's hearing the chihuahuas but thinking it's coming from your house? I can't imagine the barking could be that loud when your windows are closed. I hope it works out OK.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I can't believe you got cited for that. In our city you need to have complaints from 5 neighbors--including at least one right next door.

I live across the canyon--a mile away by street, a 1/4 mile as the crow flies--from someone who used to routinely leave his German Shepherds home alone, left in the yard.

It was a total nightmare to get him cited.

It is annoying when people won't just ring your doorbell.