Let our guard dogs do their jobs: writer

Westerose residents frustrated at neighbour complaint

Dear editor,

We attended a couple of community meeting discussing the escalation of crime within our farming community. Law enforcement officials suggested that deterrents such as fences, locked gates and dogs have proven to help. After discussion we decided to put up a fence, put in a security gate and we bought two Kangal guard dogs.

On July 8 we received a warning notice from the Wetaskiwin County Bylaw Officer that our dogs were barking and disturbing someone in the community between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

The bylaw reads “with the exception of Livestock Dogs excessively barks or excessively howls so as to disturb any person”. (I wonder if excessive really means occasional barks within a 2 hour period some nights?) We live on a farm, pasturing cattle, and wonder how far the barking sound is travelling to be so disturbing?

The dogs are fenced in 10 acres surrounding our home. We contacted our neighbours and they tell us that they occasionally can hear the dogs barking at the coyotes but only if the windows in their home are open. Our guard dogs do bark when they are warning of 4 legged predators such as coyotes or 2 legged predators if they perceive them as threatening their area. They are overall, however very quiet dogs!

My questions to the complainant is this – what is the decibel level of the barking you are hearing? We understand at 1500 feet that sound is less than 20 db which is less than highway traffic, for example. Is it louder that the coyotes howling? All of our closest neighbours assure us they are not bothered by the occasional dog and coyote conversation.

To be clear, we will not be housing our guard dogs at night. They are here to help keep us, the cattle and our property safe. As was a courtesy in our farming community, we would have welcomed a visit and conversation about your concerns instead of a complaint to the bylaw office.

Donna Scherlie, Westerose

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