No Silence in the Suburbs

I was leafing through the recycling fodder that is The Times today and found Aspasia Karras’ column:

I have a neighbour whose alarm goes off every weekend. It rings for hours without pause or reprieve. Technically, there is a pause – for like three insane seconds of pure silence, and then it starts up its hysterical whine again.

We too have exactly this problem – including the perfectly described “three insane seconds of pure silence”, which bring with them immediate relief and sudden hopeful anticipation, but are then rapidly followed by crushing reality as the noise starts up again. 
I have some wonderful video footage from my birthday braai last year with impromptu football, promptu beers and a siren soundtrack. Bastards.
The most persistent local offender seems to be triggered by the wind – perhaps blowing a door or window open – and thus in Spring (and Summer and Autumn and Winter) it is, sadly, a rather regular occurrence. In fits of rage I have gone wandering around the neighbourhood attempting to locate the source, but the inevitable wind has sided with the alarm, surrounding and teasing me.

Karras goes on to wish a faulty alarm on her neighbours who poisoned a dog in their street which had been barking too much for their liking.

We know it was her neighbours because they fed the dogs steak laced with gut-wrenching poison. The vet, who did the autopsy on the dog that succumbed, explained that your garden-variety criminals use sausage for their murderous intent. Neighbours go all upmarket with their crimes.

Having read that, I am hugely tempted to use my Opstal Wors on my neighbourhood canines. The best bit being that it probably wouldn’t need anything added to finish them off.

While my immediate neighbours don’t have dogs, we are surrounded by a wider ring of canines that happily “chat” to each other throughout the night. One barks, and then (I swear, because I have lain in bed and aurally followed it on numerous occasions) you can follow the noise right around you in a 360º arc (often called “a circle” in technical terms).

By help is on the way in the shape of the City of Cape Town Animal By-law 2009. And particularly sections 5 (e) and (f):

No person shall –

(e) keep any dog which barks for more than six minutes in any hour or more than three minutes in any half hour.

(f) keep any dog which –
(i) by barking, yelping, howling or whining;
(ii) by having acquired the habit of charging any vehicle, animals, poultry, pigeons or persons outside any premises where it is kept; or
(iii) by behaving in any other manner,
causes a disturbance or nuisance to inhabitants of the neighbourhood;

That would seem to cover every single dog in our area. Apart from the ones that I don’t know about because they don’t make unnecessary and prolonged noise. Which kind of proves the point, doesn’t it?

The by-law has just completed its second round of public comments and can’t come in quickly enough for my liking. Of course, then we’ll have to see if the council will actually act on it and enforce the restrictions therein.

But if not, there’s always Operation Wors to fall back on…

9 thoughts on “No Silence in the Suburbs

  1. We have a neighbour with the siren problem as well.

    Funnily enough…no real dog problems except for little Rosco across the road – I actually know his name now from all the times I’ve heard his owners yelling at him to shut up.

    Really, I think you need to move this side of the world. I mean, our biggest problem are the cats and the kids though (as you well know) and with this law and everything, I’m sure we can get a similar law passed for them soon enough.
    .-= Tara´s last blog ..Sixth time’s a charm =-.

  2. Ok, so by the logic of number iii) you can’t keep any dog at all, cos all dogs have some manner of behaviour.

    In Durbs it was the geckos that set off the sensors again and again.
    .-= po´s last blog ..Leopard print =-.

  3. We don’t have dogs. Or sirens. Our problem is cats. Wild ones. Domestic cats have to be indoors by 10pm. It’s the law in Melbourne. But the wild ones climb fences, walk across our roof, dig up my garden and howl all night.

    My solution. One of those feck-off big water pistols that I keep fully loaded near the front door. They blast a jet of water a good 10m to 15m. Works a charm, unless I’m already in bed. Then I just stick my head under the pillow and go back to sleep.
    .-= Delboy´s last blog ..Tempus Fugit* =-.

  4. Tara > Like Rosco out of the Dukes of Hazzard? That’s cool. I’d let a dog called Rosco bark.

    Po > Read it properly, sweetie: “by behaving in any other manner,
    causes a disturbance or nuisance to inhabitants of the neighbourhood;”

    Although, if they want to ban all dogs… good.

    Delboy > Fun, sure, but nowhere near fatal enough for my liking.

    DW > Yep. Your point?
    P.S. I love that show.

  5. I am convinced that dog owners cannot hear their own dogs’ barking. I am surrounded by good, law-abiding neighbours, but each has at least two or three dogs. These creatures bark incessantly – when somebody passes in the street, when they see me walking in my own yard, when they hear other dogs bark, when the wind blows, when the moon rises, day in and day out. If these good citizens could hear their own dogs, they would be as irritated as I am, and would DO something about it. The only logical conclusion is that dog owners (at least my good neighbours) simply cannot hear their own animals.

  6. Oh well you are now blocked at work due to this post. 🙁 Twas fun. Ps make sure your returns are in! 😉

  7. Beastie Boy > I read your comment and thought – “Sure, whatever”.
    Then I stopped behaving like an american teenager and realised that you might actually have something there. Certainly, it would explain a lot of stuff.
    Good hypothesis. Now – let’s do an experiment to test it. Somehow.

    DW > Because of this post? Why so? Damn SARS!
    P.S. efiled two weeks ago. Ever so smooth.

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