Animal Clinic Workers Discuss Proposed Dog Barking Ordinance

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va –- Augusta County supervisors are considering an ordinance to fine people for letting their dog bark late at night, but some people do not think it will work.

Angie Pullin and Felicia Wagner know just how noisy dogs can get. Not only do they own them, but they work in a tiny office of the animal clinic of Verona. Up to 20 dogs might come through their clinic on any given day.

“If they're barking or causing trouble or causing other animals to be nervous, we'll tell them to be quiet or somebody will go and sit with them and pet them if they need attention and keep them quiet,” said Pullin.

Wagner said barking is just what dogs do.

“I think it's just kind of a normal thing for dogs to do,” said Wagner. “It's kind of like a pack of wolves or coyotes. They're going to make noise. That's what they do.”

Pullin agreed.

“Dogs are dogs. They're going to bark regardless. It doesn't matter what time, what's going on. They're going to bark. That's how God made them.”

An ordinance proposed by the Augusta County supervisors would effectively outlaw barking between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. The owner could be cited and fined up to $500, if someone can prove the dog barked for at least 10 minutes straight during that time.

The county already has a noise ordinance in place during that time frame, but it does not mention dogs specifically. Wagner offered a comparison as to why not.

“I don't think that there's ever going to be a law created against someone's child throwing themselves down on the Wal-Mart floor and screaming. It's still a nuisance. It still could be considered a problem, but, it's going to be addressed in a different way,” said Wagner.

While looking for people to interview about this story, a WHSV reporter did find people who supported the ordinance, but those people declined to go on camera, saying they did not want to cause problems with their own neighbors.

A public hearing on the proposed ordinance is scheduled for the second week in November.

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