For immediate release
February 1, 2021
Chapel Hill: There are an estimated 78 million dogs in the United States. Unfortunately, many dogs bark frequently—which is very irritating and unhealthy to those affected by it.
Debby McMullen, a member of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, is a certified dog behavior consultant in Pittsburgh. She is the author of How Many Dogs? Using Positive Reinforcement to Manage a Multiple Dog Household. She comments that “even dog lovers cringe at excessive dog barking. We don’t appreciate the seemingly endless noise disruptions any more than those who have no love for dogs. However, we fully understand that humans are responsible for dog barking, not dogs.”
McMullen notes that “excessive barking is a plea for help. The great majority of dogs don’t bark for fun. Dogs left outside to fend for themselves are being proactively defensive in some cases; in other cases, they literally are screaming for help.”
“Either way,” Debby says, “the best way to address this is to contact humane authorities. In my own state of Pennsylvania, we have both excellent humane laws that address abuse and neglect, often the cause of excessive barking, as well as animal control type laws that are part of licensing.”
“Dogs barking longer than 30 minutes in the city of Pittsburgh can result in the owner being cited,” says McMullen. “Depending on where you live, humane agencies may handle both types of situations when animal control and humane agent roles are combined to save funding concerns. Knowing what laws exist in your area and who to contact is key to addressing the situation. If you have less than adequate humane laws in your area, then that needs to be addressed first.”
McMullen notes that rescue groups for animals exist throughout the country: “Even if you don’t have one in your own town, rescue groups often cover large geographical areas. The most prominent group is the Humane Society of the United States. There are dozens of other groups.”
According to Debby, ”Many rescue group members are also humane advocates, and no one gets laws changed for the better for animals than persistent humane advocates. Many rescuers will stop at nothing to help a dog in need.”
McMullen concludes, “Regardless of whether you care whether the dog is helped or just that the dog shuts up, frame it like the former when you need the rescuers on your side. I promise you: you will rarely be disappointed.”
For additional tips on addressing dog barking, please see Noise Free America’s web site.