It’s about the dogs.
It’s disturbing that some council members are voting to repeal the Barking Dog Ordinance 967 in its entirety. To say this ordinance only relies on neighbor complaints is true. Who else is going to complain?
This ordinance is for both neighbors and dogs. Why do dogs act out? Dogs act out because they feel something is wrong and they only have their barking to alert us. Some of us know dogs that spend most of their days tied or caged in their owners yard, or locked in the house. Given their strong instinct for loyalty and trust, they accept those conditions. But others act out by barking or whining. What would you do if you were locked up with no opportunities to socialize? Who wants to be denied basic companionship, or worse, abused?
The majority of dog owners are responsible and loving. I see the Kauai Humane Society successes all around the island. Responsible citizens taking dogs from the Humane Society for daily outings along the beach and mountain trails. As for neighbors confronting unruly dog owners, often good neighbors are hesitant to confront the neighbor with the unruly dog.
We all laugh at how pets mirror their owners looks and personality. Many feel this way.
If you rent an apartment or home you have a right, a guarantee, to “quiet enjoyment.” Yes, “quiet enjoyment.” As taxpayers we have a right to “quiet enjoyment.” It’s right up there with “pursuit of happiness.” That’s why we pay property taxes. We expect the streets to be safe, the traffic lights to work, the abandoned cars to be removed, and law enforcement to quiet the party down the street.
But if our neighbor’s dog(s) are barking night after night or day in and day out, shouldn’t the police investigate? The barking ordinance is for the neighbor who suffers in silence and we need to listen to the dog, too. Maybe it’s being neglected: isolated with no opportunities to socialize, tied up constantly, physically abused, malnourished.
This ordinance allows for a peaceful investigation. Both sides can voice their opinions and the animals can be evaluated. I recommend our police officers receive special training in this regard; maybe spending time at the Humane Society. It’s not about the fines or taking someone to court. It’s about looking out for our best friend and maintaining orderly neighborhoods.
This ordinance is part of a mindful society. You can tell a lot about a person or society by how they regard and treat their animals.
The County Council will vote on this matter Wednesday, Aug. 5. Voters can vote in retrospect at the next general election beginning Oct. 25, 2016.
Ray Wolford is a resident of Lihue.