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Arizona town ponders debarking the dog park

dog silencerOn its website, the city of Chandler, Arizona — perhaps best known for its annual ostrich festival – refers to its four dog parks as “bark parks.”

Cute, huh?

What’s slightly less cute is that the city was, in light of complaints, on the verge of installing high frequency devices at one of them — Shawnee Bark Park  – that would send out painful and irritating signals if any dog barked while in its confines.

That’s right: “Welcome to the Bark Park, no barking allowed.”

Dog parks are where dogs socialize. Barking is how dogs communicate. To zap any dog that barks runs counter to the very purpose of dog parks — places where dogs can be dogs.

To try to end barking at a dog park is just dopey. It makes about as much sense as the city of Chandler saying, “Be sure to also visit our lovely municipal pools (no swimming is permitted) and golf courses (golfing is strictly prohibited).

Nevertheless, Chandler was poised to become the first city in the nation to discourage dog barking in a public dog park with the installation of high-frequency-sound devices that only canines can hear, the Arizona Republic reports.

But now, just as complaints about barking led the city to purchase four Dog Silencer Pros, complaints about the devices being inhumane, especially when applied to large groups of dogs, are keeping them from being used.

The city is reviewing its plan after complaints from the Arizona Humane Society, dog owners and others who say the devices, for one thing, would result in all dogs being punished for the act of one. The devices are triggered by barking within 75 feet, and send a high frequency signal out 300 feet.

That would seem to mean every time  a barking dog receives an irritating  jolt to his ears for barking, 10 or 15 other non-barking ones could recieve one as well — and have no idea why.

Kimberly Searles, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Humane Society, noted the Dog Silencer “does have the potential to negatively affect dogs who are not barking, in that it can make them not want to go to the dog park if doing so is going to hurt their ears.”

The city bought four of the devices from the Medford, Ore.-based Good Life LLC for $360 after a local committee was unable to come up with a solution to noise complaints from neighbors of the park.

A Good Life spokesman told the Republic that his company has had no feedback from users about negative effects on non-barking dogs. Chandler was the first client to buy them for use in a dog park, the spokesman said.

(Photo: The Dog Silencer Pro from Good Life)

Comments

Comment from Eighteenpaws
Time March 10, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Give me a break! I made this blog coffee-machine fodder for conversation at my employer today! With all the crap noise and diversion that we are constantly exposed to in stores, elevators, medical offices, or from our neighbors both in their homes and driving down the roads, or even by our own employers’ workspaces, all hours, every day…..PLEASE! Give me dogs barking, cats meowing, horses neighing, crows squawking, polar bears growling, in fact ANY real live animal expressing itself for whatever reason. Give me life over lobbying, animal sounds over — what? — twinkling wind chimes?! Remind me not to vacation in AZ. Or please invite me when the city council reps have non-bark collars strapped to their own necks, or lower.

Comment from laura
Time March 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm

They better install cameras too, because if I saw one of those at my dog park, I’d smash it. Maybe the city should’ve rethought the location of the dog parks instead, if the barking is bothering people.

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