NEWS/ REGION — A lengthy dispute between an animal shelter near Merritt and its neighbours will go to mediation.
Judanna Dawn-Caros, who operates Angel’s Animal Rescue shelter, went before the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board of directors today (Thursday) to talk about the need for “proactive” animal bylaws such as mandatory spaying and neutering but directors quickly zeroed in on noise complaints from her neighbours.
Dawn-Caros said the shelter, which currently houses 22 rescue dogs, is already self-regulated with limited visiting hours, the use of bark collars for training, indoor facilities and careful monitoring of barking.
“I’m not saying our dogs don’t bark, I’m not saying they don’t howl occasionally, but not 24/7,” she said. “We’re not just sitting on our living room couch saying, ‘Aw, screw the neighbours.’ I am hyper-sensitive to any noise our dogs make.”
Directors made various suggestions on noise abatement, ranging from ultra-sonic anti-bark devices to earth berms. Dawn-Caros wondered if her neighbours would raise money for a berm.
Cache Creek director John Ranta asked if she’d be willing to take part in mediation with her neighbours, an idea that has previously been broached without success.
“Absolutely,” said Dawn-Caros.
The directors passed a resolution asking staff to investigate mediation and come up with a possible mediator to try to find ways of resolving the issue. The costs will be shared by the two electoral areas that adjoin the shelter and neighbouring residences.
Neighbours have long complained the noise from barking dogs at the shelter goes on at all times of the day and night. An anti-noise bylaw that would include regulations on barking dogs is slated for discussion by the board on Friday.