Tuesday, May 3, 2016

City Magistrate Ignores My Dog Complaint

My trip to the Roanoke City Magistrate's office this morning rendered exactly the result I expected: she told me what she couldn't do and suggested that I start over and build yet another case against my neighbors and their barking dogs.

It was obvious in this woman's demeanor that she had no interest in hearing me or in helping solve the problem. I had followed directions from the police department and the dog warden's department in keeping a barking log for the dogs on my block who make noise frequently throughout every day--all the way up to midnight on many days.

Before that, I had notified the neighbors, called the police consistently and hoped for the best. I thought the dog log would make a difference, since it would be official and would have the weight of law enforcement behind it. I was wrong.

I kept the date, time and the type of dog barking from April 6 to April 30, exactly as I was instructed. The magistrate's representative said this morning I would need to note the length of the barking episode and the type of dog barking with each instance. She said I would need the names of the dogs' owners (although I supplied the addresses where the dogs live; I don't know who owns them and I don't want to start a neighborhood war by confronting these bad neighbors). I asked her if she was suggesting I make this a full-time avocation.

The magistrate's rep blamed the police and dog wardens for giving wrong advice and she blamed me for not creating the same level of case a lawyer would have presented. She took no responsibility at all. She said, "Are these prolonged barking episodes or is it just a yip here and there?" And I said, "What difference does that make? The law is clear: barking is prohibited, Period." To which, she repeated, "You will need to be more specific." (And yes, these are prolonged episodes, just to be clear.)

I'm still in the dark and I am left to wonder: Are the people in this department lazy, incompetent or just disinterested? Or, perhaps all three. It is a fair question from a department that has no answers.

(Graphic: pawsitivelyours.com)

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