BANNISTER ROAD SOUTHEAST, CALGARY AB (April 2, 2020) – A neighbor had a beautiful dog in house. For work reasons, he would leave him alone for two or three days on end. He barked day and night. However, this continued for a short duration, because his neighbor spoke with him about this issue. The noise ended there, possibly due to person moving to another neighborhood.
Such is the story of Tom, a victim who has been constantly distressed by an untrained dog in the neighborhood.
However, it is not always that easy. “Some people don't realize that the noise their pets make affects their neighbors significantly”, says Tom, an old neighbor in the area.
“Others believe that since their pets are in their premises, they can have anything they want, and however they want; and they do not accept that it is important to keep their animals under control so that they don’t disturb the neighbors and passers-by”, Tom explains his serious issue.
Tom emphasizes how pets in the neighborhood can be a serious noise problem, “Whatever I do in my home, the wild dog starts barking and charging, causing a lot of irritation and discomfort to me and my family. The dog barks at everything, be it the sound of a washing machine or a guest knocking on the door. It became torturous to the extent that I started believing that the owner specially trained the dog to purposely bark at the neighbors during every activity”.
Tom reached out to the law enforcement in Calgary, but no action has been taken as yet.
“This dog story is not new and I am not the only victim – the previous home owner faced the same issue and had to move out last year”, explains Tom.
Cynophobia – the phobia of dogs – is real and medically classified. Moreover, laws are already in place to protect the wellbeing of people from wild animals and untrained pets.
The Noisy Pet Dilemma
Several neighbors complain about the barking of dogs and cat parties on the roofs and yards (some feel entitled even to kill them). It is perhaps one of the most difficult noise problems, as animals are unaware that their sounds are harmful. Sometimes, the owners don't realize this either. It is crucial that the dog's barking is taken more seriously than a ‘mere public complaint’.
Laws on Pet Noise
According to the law for the protection and well-being of domestic animals, pet owners must ensure that their pets do not suffer from hunger, thirst, mistreatment, physical discomfort, pain, wounds, diseases, fear, anguish, or abandonment, while providing them with accommodation appropriate to their race or species.
Moreover, it is essential to ensure that they don’t cause public nuisance. For instance, they must also avoid dirtying public roads or spaces, as well as annoying neighbors or endangering those who live around them. Whoever has custody of the animal will be responsible for the damages that it causes to third parties.
But the laws are little known, and if one complains, perhaps they will label as foolish, insensitive and problematic because many people are not willing to accept that wild and untrained dogs can cause harm, just like any other wild animal. It is necessary to find a way to speak about this.
One resort could be to ask the neighbor in a friendly way to control their dog. However, for Tom it has been quite difficult – there have been instances where the neighbor has made derogatory remarks about Tom, his nature of work and religious beliefs. Such obnoxious behavior prevents Tom from feeling comfortable with going over and initiating a conversation about his dog in person. What should be done in such a situation? Since it is known that noise, regardless of the source, can affect health, tranquility, human rights, and pollute the environment, one can denounce institutions that are responsible for ensuring that these needs of the people are met.
If one decides to do it because of noise, a visit can be made to the Mayor's Office or the Police for filing a criminal offense.
People Need Awareness
The ideal thing would be to inform and raise awareness about these issues and their laws through environmental education and the media. Nonetheless, there are also neighbors who are empathetic and considerate – let’s hope that Tom’s neighbor turns out to be one of those.