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DOGS: How to deal with problem neighbors

Coeur d'Alene Press

Bob Shepard, Coeur d'Alene Press, 3/11/2008

There are few bad dogs, mostly problems result from irresponsible dog owners. It is just plain wrong (but not unlawful) to leave a dog outside, particularly at night. It's way too cold, and there are wild critters who kill and maim our pets. Dogs are pack animals, undisciplined and allowed to run free, they will become problems. If you have a problem neighbor with a dog, here's a few thoughts on what to do.

First, be compassionate toward the dog; it is a noble animal which deserves a better owner. Dogs are heroic creatures, far more intelligent than we realize. It is wrong to shoot or mace or poison a dog. I do not like electric shock collars, just listen to the whimpering -- they are inhumane. If you are fearful of an aggressive dog, or if your own dog barks uncontrollably, buy an ultra-sonic dog silencer and keep the mace in your pocket.

When you push the button, an ultrasonic (the dog hears it, but humans don't) shriek stops the dog. We XC ski and walk in our neighborhood, and have experienced inconsiderate dog owners. This device works: $20 on Amazon.com buys a "Pet Trainer" -- don't leave home without it.

About a month ago, a neighbor's two dogs started getting out at night and barking. We called the cops (The Kootenai County Sheriff, for Hayden) and discovered that they are so short staffed as to be largely ineffective. The deputies are dedicated people who do their best. One day, the animal control dispatcher said she had 35 calls pending (for one officer.)

It is sometimes possible to diplomatically talk with a dog-owner about his dogs, but in the main I have not found that too terribly effective. All too often it's a case of "love me, love my dog." So -- Internet to the rescue! Good Life, Inc. sells the Dog Silencer Pro for about $100. This is a larger more powerful long range device powered by AC (house current). It will control your, or your neighbor's dogs.

Dog Silencer Pro detects barking and emits its own sonic response. We put it in a tree 15 feet from the neighbor's fence. Within about half-an-hour, the dogs came over and one started barking. Before the second "woof" could come out of its mouth, the dog turned tail and retreated. Since then, we have enjoyed a week of blissful peace and quiet.

Until we decide that justice is a priority, the sheriff's budget will remain insufficient to allow effective response to nuisance dog owners. With a growing rural population, there's no shortage of greatly more pressing problems for the deputies to manage. If a nuisance dog owner is a problem, try talking first, then get on the Web and pony up a few bucks to solve the problem humanely.

BOB SHEPARD

Reprinted with Permission from Coeur d'Alene Press

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