The legal system desperately needs a long-overdue and very clear definition
At what point does barking that's permissible become barking that is not?
The dog owner doesn't know, and neither does his dog.
The tormented recipient of the din doesn't know.
The Animal Control Officers don't know.
The legal system doesn't know.
The courts don't know.
Hmmmn. Nobody knows!
This is why there's been no resolution of the matter and why barking
has become such a distressing social plague.
Where are the defining standards?
Is it possible to set defining standards?
If one mighty woof wakes you up in the middle of the night, just one, is that assaultive?
The noise came in through your windows and entered your ears, got transduced from sound
energy to electrical impulses and travelled up into your brain - where it exploded, probably
followed moments later by your temper!
You never gave permission for this illicit invasion of your home and the trampling of your
rights, yet it happened.
Does this example constitute Nuisance Barking or not?
The Tasmanian government here in southern Australia recently called for public submissions
on its proposals to alter the state's Noise laws.
One of its proposals was to ban car-alarm din exceeding 45 seconds.
An anti-barking colleague wanted to know where the 45 second limit came from, but before
sending in her query on the subject asked me to compare car alarm noise with barking noise.
I offered her the following ...
" ... Car alarm noise is an example of very loud impulse noise. If more than 45 seconds of it is
deemed unlawful then the same rule must apply to the barking of dogs, for this is also an
example of very loud impulse noise.
"Both noises have been engineered to capture attention in a deliberately dramatic way,
regardless of the disruption to human life in the vicinity ... "
"What's OK for car alarms must also be OK for dog alarms.
"The fact that one source of sudden, screaming din is mechanical, and the other is biological,
makes no difference to the comparably frightening,
measurably adverse effects on human health ... "
The same colleague has declared that the amount of noise she'd allow to invade her home
and disrupt her life is NONE.
I agree completely with that amount.
In this subject the legal system hasn't got the functioning brainpower of a microwaved bull-ant,
and so people like us have to devise appropriate standards for it.
Then we have to put those standards forward and garner public support for their acceptance.
Then we have to ensure that the legal system, whose perennial representation of a fossilised
dodo is almost perfect, turns public requirement into approved legislation.
So again I ask the question:
When does barking that's permissible become barking that is not?
It's a question that MUST be answered.