by Linda Clark

Lee County Courier (Tupelo, Mississippi)

May 8, 2008

A Baldwyn resident won’t rest until barking dogs have been silenced.

Brian Pace, who lives at 346 Clayton Street in Baldwyn with his grandfather, Dizzy Dean Johnson, recently voiced his complaint to Noise Free America, a national organization opposing noise. In turn, NFA issued a press release via e-mail naming the City of Baldwyn among its Noisy Dozen award winners.

“We don’t want to cause problems. We just want to live in peace and quiet,” said Pace’s grandfather.

According to Pace, the animal control officer, the mayor, and the police have been called numerous times about the disturbance caused by the four dogs belonging to a neighbor.

“The mayor sent the animal control officer but he only warned them. We then contacted the police department and they ignored our report on two occasions. Again, we contacted the mayor and he sent a police officer to the resident but a fine was again not issued. So the problem continues.”

Mayor Danny Horton said Baldwyn, like any other small municipality, has problems with barking dogs. However, Pace is the only resident on Clayton Street to issue a complaint, said Horton.

“I have sent the animal control officer two or three times to the residence to investigate the complaints. Dogs bark. That’s what they do. If I could control dogs barking, I could get rich,” said Horton.

Animal control officer H.D. Dykes, Jr. told The Courier he had been to the residence and found it to be in compliance with the city ordinance which states will keep dog pens in a clean and sanitary manner free from odor.

“The dogs were well cared for. I guess it is the noise they are concerned about,” said Dykes. “Last I heard, they were going to get rid of them.”

Section 10 of the Baldwyn city ordinance also states that the number of dogs kept by any one owner shall not be large enough in number to interfere with the proper enjoyment of nearby property and will not create a material annoyance, disturbance, or discomfort. Neither the number of dogs nor the manner in which they are kept shall be such as to create a public or private disturbance.

“Some nights they bark for hours. This has been going on for at least a year,” said Pace, who believes the owner should train the dogs or keep them inside. “We have a noise ordinance. They just need to enforce it.”

As far as noise is concerned, barking dogs is not the only complaint Pace has.

“There is a significant problem with boom cars blasting down the street shaking windows, waking people up, and disturbing the peace. And the police do nothing,” he said. The loud parties, Pace said, being held on the weekend at the local VFW are also disturving.

“The VFW is a legitimate business,” said Mayor Horton. “And as far as boom cars, we issue tickets monthly.”

Pace says if action is not taken, he plans to start a petition. “There are a majority of people with the same problem,” he said.

Failure to comply with the city dog ordinance carries fines of $100-$250 for the first offense; $250-500 for the secod offense; and $500-$1,000 for the third offense