Target: Ernie Hall, Chair of Anchorage Assembly, Alaska
Goal: Stop law that fines dog owners up to $400 for dogs who bark for five minutes
Some dogs bark a lot. It is part of their nature, but Alaskan lawmakers do not have much patience for loud dogs. Previously, they had passed a law that gave owners seven minutes to get their dog under control. Now owners have only five minutes. If a dog continues to bark during the day for more than five minutes, without a minimum of a minute of silence between barks, then annoyed neighbors can file a complaint against the dog and the dog’s owner.
The new law is designed to primarily help night workers who have to sleep during the day, and the five minute rule already applies for dogs barking at night. The problem with the new law, however, is that more dogs are awake during the day. Not only that, but they may be left at home for short periods of time while their owners run quick errands. Dogs interact with the world by barking. It is not fair to expect them to be any different.
Nor is it fair to punish a dog’s owner if the dog barks for five minutes. Fines can be as high as $400 if the same dog has received multiple complaints. This is an injustice. Demand more patience for dogs that bark. Demand that, at the very minimum, the fine is lowered to a manageable amount so that owners are not punished for their dog behaving in a normal way.
Dear Ernie Hall,
Would you appreciate it if, in the middle of your sentence, someone came into your home and told you to stop talking? Probably not. Yet that is exactly what the new law limiting the length of time a dog can bark during the day intends to do for dogs. Instead of being allowed to bark for seven minutes uninterrupted, the new law limits the dogs to a mere five minutes of barking.
The law is favoring workers who have to sleep during the day because they have night shifts, but it is discriminating against dogs and their owners. If a worker is having trouble sleeping during the day, he or she could do a number of things to help, including wearing earplugs.
It is not fair to punish dogs who are more talkative. Dogs like to engage with their world, and one of the primary ways they do that is by using their vocal cords. While sometimes barks might be loud, dogs do not understand how their voice is perceived. It is not fair to punish dogs or their owners for dogs doing what comes naturally to them.
At the very minimum, the fine should be reduced from a staggering $400 to something much more reasonable. Especially since there is no reason for such a law to exist in the first place.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lilly M via Wikimedia