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Council hears complaints about River Heights canine chaos: ‘Dogs barking around the clock’

September 24th, 2009 Posted in Opinion

By Catherine Meidell

RIVER HEIGHTS — City Council members had many items to discuss on their agenda during Tuesday’s meeting; a major topic of interest being the dog ordinance and the measures that need to be taken to quiet pet disturbances. The council also agreed to continue in their pursuit of an official city Web site.

River Heights resident Shanna Peterson said that on her street she has multiple neighbors housing more than one dog that are making life on her seemingly quiet street, a frustrating situation. Peterson said that she is not the only one on her street that feels this way. She said she’s talked to many others who have had enough of the relentless noise the dogs are making. Peterson has been encouraged by council members to file a formal complaint and draft a petition to end the endless barking.

“A lot of us agree that things are getting out of hand. There are dogs barking around the clock and it’s changing lifestyles dramatically,” Peterson said.

There is a city noise ordinance for dogs that states they must be quiet from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and people are coming out to demand it be enforced. Peterson has film documentation of the dogs barking at very late hours. Peterson said she has also put notes on the doors of the people offending the noise ordinance and has photo copies to prove it.

“This has been a big thorn in my side for six years. I’ve really tried to be sensible,” Peterson said. She said the dogs will sometimes bark from Friday through Sunday until their voices are hoarse. “It makes me cranky, I don’t get sleep and I yell at the kids,” she said.

The noise is not the only canine issue. There are people in the city who have not licensed their dogs which means their pet may have not received a rabes vaccination, councilman Blake Wright said. If the pet owner does not get their pet licensed they will be issued a citation by a sherrif or animal control. The citation will be dealt with like a traffic ticket that must be paid. After the second citation, the dog may be impounded until licensing is taken care of. Peterson said it is difficult contacting police to take care of either ordinance because the city only funds for a limited time that the police are on duty.

A new River Heights Web site will be accessible in two weeks, costing the city $150 a month to maintain. The money comes from the buildings and maintenance fund and the site is currently being developed by Laine Johnson of IT Solutions. The site can only be accessed by those who have the password.

“We don’t want a bunch of porn going on our Wi-Fi,” said Councilman Rob Gines.

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