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Monitors: A Sure-fire Way for Law Enforcement to Quickly Determine if a Dog is Barking Problematically
With any type of crime, there is often disagreement about who might have committed the offense in question. However, in the case of barking dog abuse, the victim usually finds that he can't even establish that there is a crime, because he can't prove that the offending dog is barking.
About this time you have to be thinking: that's ridiculous. What could be easier than proving that a barking dog is barking? It's not like you're trying to determine the animal's favorite color, or establish how he views his role in the universe. If he barks, he barks. If he doesn't bark, he doesn't bark. Either he barks or he doesn't bark. It's that straightforward in real life, but it falls far short of being that straightforward in the absurd, smoke and mirrors world of barking dog law.
Many barking dog ordinances demand that the victim meet an impossible standard of proof. So that, even if your neighbor's dog stands outside your window barking nonstop 24-hours a day, it may still be completely impossible for you to prove to the satisfaction of those in authority that the thing is even happening. Indeed, if you have a Multiple Household law in place that makes it impossible for the victim to prove the obvious, and you combine that with a dog owner who denies that his dog is barking, you end up with a legal morass in which truth is rendered impotent as the process bogs down in a quagmire of unprovable accusations and categorical denials.
At that point, the authorities throw up their hands in defeat, declaring that they can't adjudicate the case because, under the ground rules laid down by the barking dog ordinances, the truth cannot be determined.
In those situations, the problem can be solved through the use of monitors, who can come out by appointment or on a moment's notice, and stay for as long as it takes to determine the dimensions of the problem with certainty.
People from many walks of life could serve the purpose nicely, but undoubtedly, off-duty police offers would make the best monitors, because they are already recognized by the courts as reliable witnesses. Also, employing off-duty officers would have the added benefit of putting more cops into the community than would otherwise be present on a given day.
Of course, we can't expect police officers to volunteer to spend their personal time working as monitors without adequate compensation. Therefore, the monitor's fee needs to be generous enough to ensure that there are always plenty of off-duty cops ready to go out on a moment's notice and remain on-site for a period of time to observe the situation.
With a monitoring system in place, if you notify the city that your neighbor's dog is barking, but the dog owner denies the allegation, you can post a deposit with the city to cover monitoring services. With your deposit down, you can schedule a time for the plainclothes monitor to come out, or arrange for someone to respond immediately to your phone call the next time the dog begins a sustained tirade.
If a monitor comes out, but does not witness inappropriate barking, the monitor's fee can be taken from the deposit of the complainant. If, however, the monitor verifies a barking problem, then the deposit will be returned to the victim after the city has collected the fee from the offending dog owner.
With an effective monitoring system in place the extent of a reported barking problem can be determined with certainty in just a matter of days.
Of course, it is grossly unfair to force the injured parties to pay out of pocket to prove their case before law enforcement will move to protect them. Nonetheless, that approach is far superior to the current system, which leaves the victims totally without recourse and forever at the mercy of their abusers.
A monitoring service is a paradoxical thing. If you don't have one set up in your town, then you need it desperately, because otherwise, when you assert that your neighbor's dog barks frequently, and he says otherwise, the court has no surefire way to quickly determine who is telling the truth. On the other hand, if monitors are available, you will probably seldom need one, because the owners are unlikely to lie about their dog's barking if they know a monitor will be sent out and, when the truth is determined, they will be billed for the service.
Written by Craig
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