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Dogs who bark and the two dog limit...

There are a number of dog owners in Wadena who will be affected by some changes in the existing city law that have been passed.

There had been complaints about dogs that have been rescued and brought to the Wadena County Humane Society. The complaints deal mostly with the dogs' persistent barking, which led to a city committee review of the current kennel ordinance in Wadena. Revisions were recommended and, by a 4 to 1 vote, the council passed some changes.

Beginning June 1, kennel operators "shall not" permit noise to be emitted that can be heard from an adjoining property owners home between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 a.m. The council also affirmed a requirement that households with three or more dogs (over six months old) must apply for a kennel permit, which are only available in commercial zones. If you do not live in a commercial zone, you are restricted to just two dogs, no matter what.

We feel it borders on ridiculousness to think that keeping a group of dogs quiet for 17 hours is realistic. However, there are some things that could be done to help. One thought is a muzzle, but that is a long time period to wear one, and the dog will need water and food. Another thought would be to put up a high panelled fence. The fence would restrict the dogs' vision within the confines of the kennel so they would not be able to see people passing by.

We also have the issue of the practicality of police enforcing the two dog limit. One concern is the amount of time spent enforcing this. Is the two dog limit a good thing in the first place? In our own back yard of Wadena, there are a number of dogs looking for a home and these laws cut back where the dogs can go.

Finally, perhaps one of the biggest concerns with these changes is forcing families to choose between their pets. Many families consider their pets as a member of the family. Since the city council has decided not to grandfather in any existing families with three dogs, they are essentially asking families to decide which member of their family to get rid of. How does one choose which family member is expendable? Common sense must prevail when it comes to enforcing the ordinance.

The new changes, while well-intended, are no cause to celebrate.