Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"You can just take them to court"

In talking with authorities responsible for responding to barking dog complaints and those who put the current system into existence, I have been able to explain to them why the multiple household laws do not work in our case (and indeed, in most cases). The response I have received from four different individuals is, predictably, "you can just take them to court". To which, I respond that yes, we could do that. IF we had the money for a lawyer. Ok, small claims then. We could get the offenders fined, but the dog would still be outside barking. The biggest problem is that cases that go to court are very difficult to win. I have heard stories time and again of people who had an immense amount of proof against the offending dog owner, and yet they still lose. A lawyer that we spoke with told us that the only real way to win this fight in court is to get an injunction. He actually said, "good luck with that". Injunctions are extremely difficult to secure. So, the whole take them to court idea really doesn't work any better than getting your neighbors to do bark logs.

I wanted to post this quote as an example of a common story I have heard time and again on court cases. The author is still fighting the fight, and still suffering.

"the court case (2 complaints were filed) we "won" against our psychotic
neighbor of 11 years with as many as 13 barking dogs at a time. she was
fined 100 bucks with a probation of 6 months. if another complaint is filed
within the 6 months she will have to pay 500 dollars. after that she could
start all over again and if she finds that they just changed the laws and
took out the "barking ordinance" as a criminal offence and made a
"responsible ownership" place with the need to have 2 households complain. in all
these years of hell, all the other sufferers would never formally complain
with me because of fear of her retaliation. now i will have to fight this
fight with weaker laws and with still no back up."

We need to get a system in place that will put this type of suffering to an end. This story illustrates the ultimate problem of enforcement.

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