Shooting dogs is not any solution
Criminal justice experts say the measure of a successful police chief or sheriff isn't in the number of murders solved, the volume of cases cleared. It's in the law enforcement officer's ability to solve the vexing neighbor versus neighbor issues...
Criminal justice experts say the measure of a successful police chief or sheriff isn't in the number of murders solved, the volume of cases cleared.
It's in the law enforcement officer's ability to solve the vexing neighbor versus neighbor issues, the property disputes, and most especially, the barking dogs.
The shooting last week of a boisterous, happy yellow Lab in southern Hubbard County is one of those neighbor versus neighbor cases that cries for justice. It has united residents against two thoughtless men who were either annoyed with the neighborhood dogs, carelessly hunting in a residential area or something worse.
Whether this was a vigilante act may never be known. But as law enforcement deputies and prosecutors work to straighten it out, it's becoming apparent this wasn't an isolated incident.
The family that owns the spunky lab recovering from being shot with an arrow, simultaneously lost his companion to some act of "foul play," as the veterinarian said.
A neighbor's dog was shot to death a few nights earlier.
The fact pattern becomes more troublesome as more residents come forward with tales of animals dying of unnatural causes in the small region near Palmer Lake.
If criminal charges are filed, those responsible are allowed a fair trial. The court of public opinion, however, has already weighed in.
Shooting dogs is barbaric and unacceptable for any reason, Hubbard County residents are telling us in no uncertain terms.
If it was a case of careless hunting, Jake the Lab's miraculous recovery can teach pet owners that it's probably not safe for domestic animals to be outdoors unescorted during the hunting season, even for brief periods of time.
If it's a case of annoyance, Sheriff Frank Homer doesn't want to see neighbors taking it out against their neighbors in this manner even though a barking dog is a public nuisance.
"If you have a problem with your neighbor's dog barking, talk to them directly about it," he suggests. "Don't take matters into your own hands."
With pet ownership comes responsibility. If your dog can be heard barking for a country mile, odds are it's annoying the living daylights out of your neighbors. Don't turn a deaf ear to your own problem and assume your neighbors will get used to it just as you have.
Neighbors, don't use your Facebook page to vent about the barking dog next door. Politely let your neighbor know in person it's unacceptable.
Face-to-face dialog is the only way to enlighten pet owners that what is tolerable to some is intolerable to others. Barking dogs have a tendency to get on people's nerves.
But shooting animals is not the way to resolve a neighborhood dispute. It has the ability to transform a small annoyance into a war.