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How Danger to the Complainant Necessitates Anonymity

To the noise-battered victims of barking dog abuse, one of the most frustrating aspects of the entire ordeal is the failure of the authorities to appreciate the danger that befalls them when they step forward to report a malicious neighbor keeping a disruptively noisy dog.

The city of San Francisco recently passed a law that authorized all city employees to write citations to anyone they saw littering. However, the authorization was soon rescinded, because the city quickly discovered that, unless there was an armed police officer standing right there to protect them, it was simply too dangerous for city employees to confront those who litter.

Think about that. The city of San Francisco found out the hard way that confronting a stranger over a discarded piece of paper in a public place is intolerably dangerous. Yet the city where you live expects you to openly spearhead a legal drive against the dog owner next door, by getting other people to join you in gathering evidence against him and seeing to it that he is prosecuted in court. Even though he most certainly cares a great deal more about his dogs than most people care about a small piece of litter or a minor citation.

As a noise abuse victim, they expect you to take your chances with the guy next door, who could well be a violence-prone nut case for all you know. He could be the kind that will turn not only on you, but also on your family. He could be on methamphetamine, which has been known to cause people to explode into violence with the slightest provocation. He could be an anti-social personality disorder with an innate love of conflict. He could be armed to the teeth. He might have just completed a ten-year stretch for murder. He might have been drinking and growing progressively more volatile all day, getting meaner by the minute so that he is all set to go off about the time he gets the message from the city informing him that you are the one who set in motion all of his canine-related legal woes.

To be sure, when you start pressing a neighbor about his barking dogs, there is no telling what he will do or where it will lead.

That is particularly unfortunate in the case of a neighbor, because the guy next door knows just exactly where he can find your family at any time of the day or night. What's more, your neighbor is in a position to know when you are and when you are not there to protect them against reprisal.

You have to remember that force-feeding the sound of a barking dog into someone else's home is an extremely hostile thing to do. Therefore, just the fact that your neighbor has chosen to do it is a strong indicator that it may not be safe for you become openly involved in the process of trying to make him stop.

You might want to read through the The Barking Dogs Forum, where we feature letters from our readers. Please note how few of those people signed their names. That is a reflection of their well justified fear.

In summary, then, the city needs to solve the noise problem it created without further endangering the neighbors of the offending dog owners, by denying them their anonymity and forcing them to openly report the abuse to which they are subjected. These days there are simply too many dog owners who are crazed by crack, irrationally enraged by alcohol or deranged by methamphetamine to force the victims of barking dog abuse to put themselves in harm's way before the city fathers will agree to address the altogether unnecessary problem that they themselves so shamefully created in the course of their sellout to the rich and powerful.

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This page is part of The Cure section of