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I have been following the quiet-list chat with interest these last two
weeks. Maybe someone has a suggestion to help with our problem: barking
Some new neighbors moved in across the street ten months ago. I'll call
them Tom and his wife. Tom got a Cocker Spaniel and tied it to a tree in
the back yard right away. The poor little Cocker started barking at
anything that drew its attention then learned to bark in order to get
attention, so Tom got two German Shepherd puppies and let them run
loose. The Cocker barked at them all the time, running around the tree
trying to run and play with them. Soon the cocker taught the German
Shepherds how to bark, just like her.
Prior to their invasion, we had a nice quiet rural setting in the Smoky
Mountains of North Carolina, far enough off the highway for traffic
noise to be minimal. Not anymore.
The neighbors were belligerent and abusive when we asked them to quiet
their dogs. Tom threatened physical violence every time he saw me in the
yard thereafter. Then they started slandering us to the neighbors,
telling them what vile and loathsome people we are, making up stories
about how we were harassing them and tormenting their dogs, causing them
to bark all the time.
As it turned out, Buncombe county has a well-written animal control
ordinance, but no enforcement. The animal control people and sheriff
pass the buck back and forth, claiming there is nothing they can do,
using more excuses than I recall.
After going through all the steps that the county officicals suggested,
I finally filed a complaint with the county magistrate. Tom delayed by
getting three court continuances and a lawyer. The problem persisted.
Finally the day of their trial came, today, after many months of
sleepless nights. We had two witnesses, tape recordings of the dogs,
three months of records detailing dates and times of the barking,
notarized statements from neighbors, a copy of the ordinance, and
certified county map of the neighborhood showing the locations of all
the homes. We thought we were prepared.
Guess what. The DA threw out the case because Tom had three witnesses
that said the dogs barking did not bother them. One of the witnesses
raises Cocker Spaniels for sale and has a kennel two houses down from
Tom. Another witness lives a quarter mile away. The third was Tom's
wife, and the other guy I had never seen before.
The DA talked to their lawyer for fifteen minutes, called us up to the
front of the court room and said he would not prosecute the case because
Tom had more witnesses than we did (true), that they live closer to the
defendant (false), that I was antagonizing the dogs to recorded the
barking right next to their fence (false!), and that any reasonable
person would not be bothered by the barking (also false). He refused to
listened to the tapes I recorded from my own property, refused to look
at the map to tell where the all the witnesses really live, refused to
accept the notarized statements as valid evidence, ignored our
witnesses, and told us he just wouldn't prosecute because he had more
important cases to try.
We were floored. Absolutely astonished. All these months of working with
an ineffective system, all these stress-filled days spent hoping that
the judge would somehow order him to keep his dogs quiet.... I just
don't know what to do now.
Our home of 8 years used to be a quiet place surrounded by trees where
we could enjoy the birds, the frogs, the crickets and cicadas....our own
space to live and love is gone forever. The constant barking will
continue, the savage slander....
I don't know what to do. I guess we'll just have to move...somewhere.
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