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Animal rescue shelter, neighbours not optimistic bylaw will resolve disagreement

Angel's Animal Rescue shelter near Merritt. (Screenshot from AAR website)

Angel’s Animal Rescue shelter near Merritt. (Screenshot from AAR website)

By MEL ROTHENBURGER/

NEWS — There’s nothing like a barking dog to cause tension between neighbours. But what happens when there are 50 of them?

The Angel’s Animal Rescue shelter at Canford near Merritt has been at odds with about a dozen nearby residents for years, and neither side has a lot of confidence a new regional noise bylaw will do much to resolve the issue.

Judanna Dawn-Caros, who runs the shelter, calls the neighbours “negative.” The neighbours say she’s unco-operative.

A delegation of residents appeared before a Thompson-Nicola Regional District board meeting a few weeks ago to ask that something be done.

“I thought they were receptive to our plight at least,” Norma Cannon, who spoke for the delegation, said today.

“We were very impressed with the questions they asked.”

At a follow-up workshop, the board directed staff to write a noise bylaw for consideration. It will be several weeks before it’s ready.

Meanwhile, tension in the neighbourhood continues. “This last week has been really bad,” Cannon said.

Cannon, who owns a Golden Retriever, said she understands the important work Angel’s Rescue does for dogs in need. “My issue is I can’t sleep. My issue is not what she (Dawn-Caros) is doing.”

However, Dawn-Caros sees it differently. “They’re a very negative bunch of people,” she said. “They’re not interested in what I have to say. It’s a losing battle.”

She said the shelter is on 27 acres separated from the concerned residents by a gravel road, a river and 74 acres of agricultural land.

“It’s not like we’re in a busy community.”

Dawn-Caros said the dogs bark mostly when someone comes up the driveway to visit. “I’m not going to say there isn’t any noise. If you have neighbours there are going to be certain noises that go along with it. I’m not going to let them bark all day or all night long.”

There are currently 15 rescue dogs at the shelter. The most has been 53, she said.

“We have every legal right to do what we do,” said Dawn-Caros, pointing out dog kennels are a permitted use for the land on which Angel’s Rescue is located.

Rachelle Vogt, who lives in Merritt but has several friends in Canford, said the dogs can be heard a mile away. “It is unbearable. I don’t know what else they can do.

“It’s affecting their lives daily. A lot of these people are seriously sleep deprived.”

Dawn-Caros questioned suggestions she should put up sound barriers.

“What kind of sound barrier? I don’t know of a sound barrier that exists that can just stop all noise. Tell me about it and let me know.”

She pointed out there was no noise coming from the dogs during a phone conversation, but when The Armchair Mayor was interviewing Cannon a short time later, Cannon took her own phone outside and several dogs could be heard through the phone barking.

“Let me just say, it’s hard living here,” Cannon said.

One suggestion during the TNRD board discussion was that the district try to mediate an agreement, but there’s disagreement on who’s tried talking to who.

Cannon said if the TNRD stepped in to mediate, it might help but an attempt several years ago to get everybody in a room together failed to get off the ground.

“Do I think mediation would work? It makes sense to me to have a controlled conversation,” said Cannon, a former labour mediator.

Dawn-Caros said she’s reached out several times, including taking a survey door-to-door in an effort to understand concerns. She said that effort was rebuffed.

“They refused to meet with us,” she said. “For three years I did everything I could to talk to these people and to be nice to these people.”

What about mediation?

“We’re open to everything.”

The Angel’s Rescue owner doesn’t believe a noise bylaw will help the situation but could cause a lot of headaches for the TNRD because it will have to start enforcing noise complaints all over the region.

“I don’t think it’s going to be something positive.”

Cannon agreed enforcement is a question mark. “How are they going to manage that?” she said, but added, “I think at least there’ll be an instrument there.”

Cannon said the solution is up to the TNRD. “In my view it’s the regional district’s problem. It’s their problem to fix.”

Regina Sadilkova, director of development services for the TNRD, said the last time bylaws officers visited Angel’s Rescue was in November. The shelter is in a valley and the noise ricochets off the mountains, she said.

“We had a map that showed where the complainants were. They weren’t right beside, they were down the valley. It could be the acoustics, or the wind, which has a large effect on how sound travels.”

She said the bylaw, which could establish times when the shelter must be quiet, should be ready during the summer.

Dawn-Caros is asking to appear before the board before the bylaw is finalized and hopes to be there at the May 8 meeting.

“I hope they’ll wait until we can present our case.”

 

 

About Mel Rothenburger (9358 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

9 Comments on Animal rescue shelter, neighbours not optimistic bylaw will resolve disagreement

  1. Hey Mel, any chance of a follow up on this one? Is there a new bylaw for insane dog barking in the country that wakes you up every day, makes you lose your mind and ruins any chance of thinking for 15 uninterrupted minutes, let alone a viable marriage? The kind or incessant yammering racket that eliminates the enjoyment of your porch in the evening and has (more and more infrequent) guests questioning your overall sanity? Just curious and thanks in advance…

    • Mel Rothenburger // June 16, 2015 at 7:21 PM // Reply

      The Thompson-Nicola Regional District now has a noise bylaw aimed at controlling situations such as loud parties and, yes, barking dogs. But a follow-up to the situation near Merritt is a good idea.

      • Thank you. Ill look for that information online. Do you happen to have a link to it?
        Thanks, Mel!

      • Mel Rothenburger // June 16, 2015 at 8:42 PM //

        Go to tnrd.ca. On the Home page, click on Departments, then Development Services, then Bylaw Enforcement and look for Noise Regulation Bylaw 2480.

  2. Judanna and George Caros // June 12, 2014 at 8:56 PM // Reply

    Well, maybe people should take care of their animals. AARS wouldn’t be rescuing dog after dog and the neighbours would have something else and somebody else to complain about. AARS is being crucified because we actually get off our butts and do something to help these animals. We don’t just drive by and say “oh, look at that poor dog”, and turn a blind eye. If the Tnrd would make it mandatory for pets to be spayed and neutered, as well as band chiefs and council, maybe AARS wouldn’t even be here. Maybe the owners would be having a nice normal life.

    • Having endured incessant (and I mean ridiculously constant, multi-dog, loud barking), I have to say that a lot of compassion and neighbourly understanding just goes out the window as your nerves are just shot by it. To wake up to it, listen to it all day, then go to bed praying PRAYING that the dogs will stop, stuffing a pillow on top of your ear-plugged head, hiding on the opposite side of the house, always TIP-TOEING around your property because any loud noise (like a slamming door or a dropped board) might ‘light them up’ again…. seriously, it just can’t be endured. People live in the country for peace and quiet; it is completely ruined by non-stop dog barking.

  3. Norma Cannon // April 8, 2014 at 7:34 PM // Reply

    This is a difficult situation with well intentioned people on both sides. In this instance, an individual’s desire to take on a good cause has negatively impacted the quality of life of the surrounding neighbours. If you are not impacted, it is fairly easy to just shrug and move on. The fact of the matter is that a situation like this could happen anywhere in the TNRD. If you live in the TNRD, it is something for you to consider.

  4. I am one of the many neighbours impacted by Angel’s Animal Rescue. I live a kilometer away and I know that neighbours up to 2 kilometers away are also impacted. I am not just talking about being outside during the day and hearing so many dogs constantly barking. I am talking about being inside, with my windows closed (even in the heat of summer), in my bed, desperately wishing the dogs would stop barking so I can finally get some sleep. If they only barked for a minute or two and then were quiet for the rest of the night, that would be one thing, but they often bark for 2 to 3 hours straight.

    We are not trying to be negative or difficult and we are not against what they are trying to do. We would just like the peace and quiet of our rural area back. All of us were here before Angel’s and all of us own dogs. The difference is that I have never had to complain about any of my neighbours dogs – ever.

    Judana says she is located on 27 acres of land – which makes it sound wonderful. But, the fact is that only about 1.5 acres of that land is usuable. The rest is steep hillside. A perfect sound board for the noise of the barking dogs to carry out into the valley. And, in most cases, there is not so much as a tree between our homes and the noise of the dogs.

    I recently had a new roof put on my house and at the end of the day, the roofer’s wife approached me and asked who owned the dogs who never stop barking. I explained the situation and she replied that she didn’t know how we put up with it. But, to take this a step further, how would you like to be trying to sell your home (as several are trying to do) and from the minute the potential buyers get out of their vehicles, their ears are assaulted by the noise of barking dogs. There goes the peaceful rural setting concept.

    We are not against what the shelter is trying to do. We don’t necessarily want them to move. All we are asking is that they do what all the rest of us do. Be responsible dog owners. Yes, all our dogs occasionally bark, but we do not allow it to go on and on. Our dogs are kept quiet at night and none of us has ever had cause to complain to another because we are responsible neighbours who ensure that others aren’t disturbed by our pets.

    So our solution would be that the shelter build indoor facilities for the dogs, so that at least the noise would be muffled or, that they put up sound barriers of some sort. Failing that, then yes, perhaps they should find a better location.

  5. The shelter could try straw hay bales stacked around the kennels as a sound barrier.

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