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Maryland county votes down barking fines

Worcester County Commissioners voted down a bill that would have established fines for owners of barking dogs, leading at least one citizen who supported the measure to howl.

Jack Davis, a Bishopville resident, made barking noises as he left the commissioners Tuesday night meeting in Snow Hill — in an attempt to show just how annoying the sound can be, according to DelmarvaNow.com.

“It’s really rough when you retire and you want to sit on your porch and in your yard, and hear dogs barking all day long,” Davis said.

In a 4-3 vote, the commissioners nixed legislation that would have levied fines on dog owners for uncontrolled barking and howling in the Maryland county.

“At what point do you start legislating cats and frogs and everything else?” said Commissioner Virgil Shockley.

Worcester County Animal Control would have been responsible for enforcement of the law,  charging owners with a civil infraction, and up to a $500 fine, if their dogs barked for more than an hour.

Of the half-dozen residents who spoke at a public hearing on the issue, all were in favor of the law.

Animal Control Officer Susan Rantz said the county commissioners would be better off looking at the county’s chained dog law. “I don’t understand how a fine is going to stop the dogs from barking,” Rantz said. “There are reasons the dogs bark, and I think it’s because they are on


Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time May 21, 2010 at 10:55 am

I think we’ve seen this before. A lot of Worcester County is rural, and there’s a lot going on in the country. Dogs bark. Cows bellow. Pigs and chickens stink. Farmers lay down fertilizer in the spring. Everybody’s been doing their rural “thing” since the place was founded. Enter the builders of the McMansions. (I’ve decided that you can discern a development of McMansions because of the name: It will always be The [insert noun] At [insert another noun].) Anyway, they buy up some affordable land between Farmer A’s vegetable farm and Farmer B’s dairy operation. And of course the dogs are everywhere. They start up The Haystacks at Hayfields, build some pricey lodgings, and people move in who’ve always lived in the suburbs. Livestock, farming, and other affairs of country life, with their attendant noise, activity, and aromas, are offensive to these people who feel they’re entitled to a “better” environment after having paid so much money. Of course, the lower taxes they’re paying (for fewer services no doubt) don’t offend them at all. Nonsense like this is the inevitable result. Last time it hit the news it was pigs out near Sharpsburg. Officer Rantz has made a very astute observation, but her voice is likely going to be lost among the bellowing and bellyaching. People who don’t care to put up with life in the country shouldn’t move to the country.

Comment from Iain
Time October 18, 2011 at 3:38 am

I think it is a mistake to completely dismiss it. As I know in rural areas it matters a little less but there are still towns and cities. An in them barking can be more then a little annoying for the residence. So I personally believe this is a mistake. An honestly I see this attitude too much what will a fine do to stop the dog from barking. The fine isn’t to stop the DOG it’s to make the OWNER take responsibility an actually train their damn dog.