Tuesday, April 23, 2013
A neighborhood feud over barking hunting dogs could have ramifications for dog owners throughout the county, but the hunting dogs' owner said last week the claims are exaggerated and leading to harassment.
Animal Control parked outside their home for 20 to 30 minutes every day for two weeks, said Doug Briggs, who with his wife Lynne keeps six hunting dogs and three inside dogs at their home in Old Fort Estates.
His neighbor, Cliff Loos, complained to County Council that the Briggs and neighbors the Bundricks keep a couple dozen dogs between the two homes and the barking is so bad and so constant he can't even open his windows.
Councilman Larry Hargett has taken up Loos's cause, and he told council he'd like an ordinance restricting the number of dogs that can be kept at a residence.
Hargett and Loos played a video of barking dogs at the last council meeting to make their case, and council agreed to place the issue in committee.
Briggs said he didn't know the issue was going to be on council's agenda and will make sure to be at the next meeting to present his side of the story.
“They keep bothering us. They're not happy with the outcome of it, so they won't stop,” he said.
He even put up a 7.5-foot tall fence in an attempt to keep working with everyone, he said.
The dispute amongst the neighbors has been ongoing for years. Lynne Briggs ended up in court last summer and was found guilty of causing a public nuisance, though her fine was suspended because she was working to correct the problem.
Barbara Loos followed her to court and was found guilty in September of allowing an animal to run loose.
Doug Briggs said this won't be the end of the legal maneuvers, and he took issue with Cliff Loos's statement to council that “the violations continue.”
“We haven't received a violation since we went to court last time,” Briggs said.
Clay Pendarvis, the county's chief building official who also oversees animal control, confirmed he instructed animal control officers to monitor the two homes in question to see if a pattern of barking could be found and to see if the complaints are justified.
He said late last week his officers hadn't found excessive barking and wouldn't have reason to continue the case if the week ended as the preceding week-and-a-half had gone.
Tabatha Carter, who lives two houses down from the Briggs and next door to the Bundricks, said she doesn't think the barking is excessive.
The only time the Bundricks' dogs bark is when her dog runs out to sniff them through the fence or when Bundrick comes home, she said.
“It's not a nonstop thing,” she said. “I don't know what his (Loos's) problem is.”
Carter, too, said she would have attended the council meeting if she knew her neighborhood was going to be discussed and intends to go to the meetings in the future.