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When a neighbor's unruly pet won't pipe down

Dogs are humans' best friends, but not when an irritated neighbor is involved. Confrontations can be difficult to initiate -- especially when the issue stems from a nearby homeowner -- but nevertheless are the answer for some Seattle residents who simply want peace of mind. Many might assume that most neighbor disputes lead to little change, but some situations reach the point of legal concern.

Komo News highlighted a 2015 story that reached this level of concern. According to the report, a north Seattle woman faced extreme penalties for having a loud dog; the penalties reached $500,000. Her neighbor accused the dog of howling at 128 decibels, and as a result had caused emotional distress. And the owner of the dog appeared to have made a similar assumption to that of many: she did not respond to the lawsuit in any way, thinking the issue was benign. This decision turned into a bleak disadvantage when the woman realized her apathetic response resulted in her loss in the suit. However, the shocked dog owner made plans of reversing the court's decision. 

Fortunately, cases such as these are rare, but what should neighbors do when action is the only solution? The Seattle Animal Shelter provides a list of options frustrated Seattle residents can choose from when a neighbor's noisy pet becomes the last straw. First, the shelter suggests that neighbors conduct open communication about the problem (in the aforementioned case, it seems that the owner of the loud dog had been oblivious of the situation). If this route proves unsuccessful, residents can submit a complaint to the shelter. When neither of these approaches improves the situation, the shelter encourages residents to contact one of their representatives; from there, a representative may assign an officer to investigate. It is clear that, while dogs can be beneficial to many families, their barking can be an entirely different matter.    





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Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC
7331 196th Street, SW
P.O. Box 1067
Lynnwood, WA 98046

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