I'm being hassled by my neighbours - it's more than hassled - I'm being harassed by my neighbours - and I've told them that - and I've threatened them that if they don't leave me alone I'm going to call the police.
For some reason they have a zero tolerance for any kind of noise - last summer they called police several times on the house next to me when they had parties in their back yard - citing that they were making too much noise - so I'm not the only one that they've set their sights on.
What they're doing to me is that Bubby can be at the top of my back steps and bark THREE times - not bark for three minutes, or for thirteen minutes - but bark THREE TIMES - BARK, BARK, BARK - and they will holler out their window, or open up their door and holler "SHUT THAT DOG UP" - or "PUT THAT DOG INSIDE", or swear at me or swear at Bubby. It's nerve wracking.
If either Bubby or Buttercup is outside I am always there - I have never let either of them bark for more than one minute at a time, ever. I am a responsible dog owner. So to have people next door to me freaking out is freaking me out.
So it's gotten me thinking - is there anybody out there who has a dog that never barks when they go outside to poop or pee? I don't think so.
I wrote my next door neighbours a letter and stuck it in their mailbox and told them to stop harassing me and told them that HRM has a dog bylaw that says that "A dog is considered to be making excessive noise if it barks or howls repeatedly for a period of 20 minutes." And my dogs never even get to bark for 1/20th of that time.
As well - here in Halifax - if you're going to complain about your neighbour's barking - you have to fill out a "barking dog log" and be prepared to go to court - the previous week they thought they could do some good by making a complaint to Animal Services about Bubby's barking - which was a complete waste of taxpayer money.
When the Animal Control Officer came to visit me he had already figured out that it was a nuisance complaint on the part of the complainer - they weren't willing to fill out the barking dog log, they probably couldn't say how much Bubby was barking, my dogs are legally registered with the city - I'm a typical good dog owner - so he basically apologized that he had to bother me, but he had to tell me that a complaint had been filed, and he was closing out the file and was sorry I had such asshole neighbours.
We're lucky we have the 20 minute rule and barking dog log here in Halifax - I went and had a look at a few dog bylaws around Nova Scotia - and most of them don't have the 20 minute rule in them - they almost all just say -
"No owner shall suffer, permit, allow or for any reason have his or her animal, bark or howl excessively or in any other manner disturb the quiet of any person"
That's Parrsboro's bylaw. I don't like that one too much.
Windsor Nova Scotia's bylaw has got a barking dog section that is mirrored in several towns across Nova Scotia - their's says -
"Any constable, Peace Officer or Bylaw Enforcement Officer, without notice to, or complaint against the owner of any dog, may IMPOUND a dog:
(d) which persistently disturbs the quiet of the neighbourhood by barking, howling or otherwise".
I don't like that one very much either.
The town of Truro has a whole section on what they call "Disruptive dogs" - it says "No dog shall be permitted to consistently disturb the quiet of a neighbourhood by barking,howling, or otherwise making noise to a degree beyond what the Animal Control Officer determines to be normal."
In their bylaw - everything is up to the discretion of the bylaw officer - and if we've learned anything here in the HRM - it's that leaving things up to the disretion of bylaw officers is a BAD thing. Usually it's the animals who lose.
Po. Who became Henry - the wheaten mix from Cape Breton who was chained out his entire life and when his owners put up a fence in their backyard they put Po's dog house up BEHIND it so they wouldn't have to see him.
It was his constant barking that finally saved his life. A kind lady named Corinne could hear his constant barking night after night - and finally one day she walked through the neighbourhood to find the dog that she constantly heard barking - and she was brave enough to rescue him - and from there he went on a journey that took 6 long months to find his forever home - but Animal Rescue Coalitions never gave up on him - and today he is a fabulous dog transformed in the best home. And it was his constant barking that saved him.
Sometimes making a lot of noise gets you noticed in a positive way.