This page is part of Section Nine:|
the Cure section of barkingdogs.net
A Model Animal Control System
This page provides a narrative outline of a model animal control system. It is submitted here for the consideration of any community leaders who may be looking for an approach that can virtually eliminate chronic barking in their jurisdiction.
In support of the approach outlined here, this website will soon offer actual model ordinances that are written in legalese and ready to be adopted into law. The page you are on now, however, is dedicated to providing the reader with an overview of what a viable approach to barking abatement might look like.
The system described contains five components. The adoption of any part of the program should improve the barking situation where you live. Implementing all five, however, should bring a hush to your city streets. That's the theory anyway. Although, to date, no jurisdiction has ever put such a program into effect.
The Five Components of the System
One: A mandatory pre-licensing education class
Two: A monitoring system
Three: A policy of impounding all barking dogs that cannot be quieted through other measures
Four: Barking tickets
Five: A resolute policy of immediately impounding all unlicensed dogs.
Part One: A Mandatory Pre-Licensing Education Class
The idea of a pre-licensing class is simple. The city offers a brief course and the approval of your dog license is made contingent upon your attending and passing the class.
By requiring that the dog owner-to-be attend a pre-licensing class, the city can ensure that the applicant has all the information required to care for and properly socialize the animal while, at the same time, making certain that there are no misunderstandings.
Those taking the class will learn of the obligations that come with dog ownership. And they will be required to make a written commitment to properly socialize their dog, which, of course, includes bark training the animal.
The class will include breed specific information to make sure that the applicants understand what all is entailed in properly caring for the particular type of dog that they are considering.
As the instructor teaches the course he will inquire into the situation in which the dog would be placed, and will reject the applications of those who fit the profile of being problematic owners. For example: If an instructor encounters a methamphetamine addict with no dog training skills and a violent criminal history, who wants a license to keep a pit bull in a studio apartment, located next to a preschool, the application will be denied.
Currently, such a person could get his dog licensed almost anywhere in the U.S. with no questions asked, but in the new system we will refrain from walking through minefields that we know are sure to explode.
We could probably eliminate 90% of all of our dog related problems simply by requiring that applicants take such a class prior to licensing.
Click here for more details on mandatory pre-licensing classes.
Part Two: Noise Monitors
The current barking laws have failed to impact the barking epidemic because they all depend on the victims to drive the legal process forward, and few complainants are eager to get involved in a thing like that.
The city of San Francisco recently authorized a diverse array of city employees to write tickets to anyone they saw littering. The plan fell apart, however, when officials decided that it was too dangerous for city employees to cite their countrymen for littering unless their was a police officer present to ensure their safety.
The city thinks it is too dangerous for a municipal employee to cite someone for littering. I've got news for them: It is also too dangerous for a private citizen to attempt to drive forward a drawn-out, acrimonious legal proceeding against the crack-crazed, alcohol-soaked, insane owner of the six savage pit bulls that bark 'round-the-clock in the next yard over.
Testifying against a stranger who victimized you once on the other side of town is nerve-racking enough, but the waters grow more perilous yet when you take the stand against your neighbor. After all, the guy who lives next door, lives next door. You have to see him every day of your life. He can make things hard for you in a thousand different ways and he knows where you live. So he knows where to find you. He also knows where to find your family, and he may very well know when you are home, when your house is empty, and when your loved ones are there alone and vulnerable. So spearheading the legal battle against the guy next door puts your family at risk, and places you all in a position of extreme vulnerability.
People don't want to expose themselves or those they care about to that kind of hazard. Only a small percentage of the populace is willing to do it, and that is why victim-driven prosecution has proven to be an ineffective way either to address society's barking epidemic or to protect the private individual against barking abuse.
Forcing bark-abuse victims to become the driving force in the prosecution of their irresponsible neighbors is not safe, it is not effective, it is not fair, and it is not necessary.
Just the sheer number of dogs barking all around us proves that the victim-driven approach to barking dog abatement is not effective. I believe we have also established that it is not safe to confront one's neighbor about a barking dog, but if you have any doubt on that count, go to Violence in the News and read about just how heated barking dog battles can get.
Let us now turn our attention to the evidence that establishes that, not only is the victim-driven approach ineffective and unsafe, it is also unfair and unnecessary.
To the best of my knowledge, there is not a single government entity anywhere on earth that trains dog owners-to-be and screens out unfit applicants at the time of licensing. It is that act of negligence, committed by government at the time of licensing, that has created the barking epidemic, along with all of our other dog-related problems.
That is an important point: It was government negligence that created the barking epidemic in the first place.
That is why I contend that it is unfair for government officials to then turn to the bark-abused citizen who was left vulnerable to victimization due to their negligence, and say, "Here, you clean up the mess we created. It's your problem now."
It is especially outrageous in light of the fact that you have next to no chance of being able to quiet your neighbor's dog through legal means because those same politicians who failed to screen-out the irresponsible dog owner next door also passed unworkable "anti-barking" laws that make it next to impossible for you to move legally to quiet the dog after the fact. That's just the cherry on the cake that - having passed unenforceable "anti-barking" ordinances - now they are back telling us that it is our responsibility to see to it that they are enforced.
In a bark abuse case, it is not necessary for the victim to particpate in the prosecution of the perpetrator, because there are other ways to establish whether or not a dog is barking.
All that is needed is a cadre of monitors who can come out on a moment's notice and stay as long as needed in order to document the existence of a barking problem. In the Monitors document you will find a plan for staffing a contingent of noise monitors. Or, perhaps your town should consider a special noise enforcement department staffed with people who work full-time to control noise. For more on that approach, check out the Spadafora plan .
Let us move to take the burden off the victims and put it on the city. They created the problem, and it is time that they begin to clean it up.
Part Three: An Impound Policy
There are some people who simply will not quiet their dogs regardless of how the people next door may beg and the authorities may threaten. If you doubt my words, go to News of the Usual Legal Runaround and read the news accounts of people whose dogs simply could not be quieted, short of impound, despite the best efforts of the cops, the courts and the neighbors.
Because the recalcitrant will always be among us, it is essential that an effective dog control system contain an impound component for use in those situations in which there is no other way to quiet a disruptive dog in a reasonable time frame.
The dog will then be returned to the owner only after he appears before the designated authority and presents his plan for ensuring that the dog will not be barking disruptively again in the future.
Part Four: Barking Tickets
Barking tickets can work very much like parking tickets. The owner can either pay the fine or appear in court to contest the citation. However, only three tickets will be given to any one person or household. After that, the dog will be impounded for each subsequent violation.
Part Five: A Resolute Policy of Immediately Impounding all unlicensed Dogs
Preventing problems by connecting with the dog owner at the time of licensing is the cornerstone of the new system. Therefore, toleration of unlicensed dogs would undermine the entire approach. For that reason, the legislation implementing the system needs to contain a provision that allows all unlicensed dogs to be immediately impounded and held until the owner meets the licensing requirements.
Go to New Animal Control.Org for more information about animal control reform
Written by Craig
Spanish translation - Traducción al español
This website and all its content, except where otherwise noted, are © (copyright) Craig Mixon, Ed.D., 2003-2019.