Tuesday, May 7, 2013
After hearing last month from a resident upset by the excessive barking of his neighbors’ dogs, Dorchester County Council heard from one of the dog owners Monday and got quite a different story.
Councilman David Chinnis invited Doug Briggs to speak in his own defense after Cliff Loos got time at Councilman Larry Hargett’s behest.
Chinnis said he even sat in front of Briggs’s house to see if he could replicate the video that council saw last month of dogs barking, but he couldn't.
Briggs said he’s lived in Old Fort Estates for 25 years and has always owned dogs.
He disputed Loos’s account and said he’s been harassed by law enforcement because of Loos’s accusations.
An ordinance limiting the number of dogs that can live at a residence – an idea Hargett raised last month – would affect all dog owners, Briggs said, “not just the country boys with hunting dogs, like me, but the elderly woman down the street with the five small fluffy dogs.”
Having Animal Control stake out his house for two weeks was a huge waste of taxpayer money, Briggs said.
His neighbor Tabatha Carter, who lives two houses down, also spoke in his defense.
Carter said she lives next to the Bundrick family, which also owns hunting dogs. Unlike Loos, however, she has no problem keeping her windows open, sitting on the back porch or entertaining in the back yard, she said.
The property is quiet and peaceful; there isn’t nonstop barking, she said.
Animal Control parked in front of the Briggs’s home for 20 to 45 minutes at different times each day for two weeks to see if there was a pattern of barking, but in its reports it indicated no pattern of excess barking.
Some typical entries from different days’ reports:
12:20 – hear school children (must be at recess)
12:34 – Mrs. Briggs came out on front porch, one dog barked a couple times & quit & she went back inside
12:36 – Bird squawked 4 times
12:37 – Bird squawked 5 times
Councilman George Bailey referenced the Animal Control reports with mock concern by suggesting council should look into legislating squawking birds.
Chinnis countered with his own mock outrage, bringing up his allergy to pine pollen and his neighbor’s pine trees, saying he should be able to not breathe in their pine pollen.
Council didn’t make any decisions about what it wants to do with the conflicting demands of the Old Fort Estates residents.
At its last meeting, council put the dog ownership question into committee, but the committee didn’t meet Monday to discuss the issue.