John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Barking dogs 'ruined' lives of neighbours

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Christine King speaks out about barking dogs. Photo/ John Borren
Christine King speaks out about barking dogs. Photo/ John Borren

An investigation has been ordered into barking dog complaints from neighbours of a commercial kennel at Papamoa.

Tauranga City Council yesterday heard how the kennels near the Papamoa end of Welcome Bay Rd had "ruined the lives" of neighbours.

Christine King and Dawn McNaughton outlined how they had tried without success to get the council to take action on the barking which began to disrupt their lives last year after many years of the kennel being a good neighbour.

The business sits just inside the boundary of the city council while the families who have raised the issue live in the Western Bay District Council.

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Mrs King said the owners of the kennel had taken away her enjoyment of their home as a place to snuggle with your loved ones after a hard day's work.

She said that in September last year after a horrendous night of dogs howling, she called into the kennels and spoke to one of the owners. "This was when I found out they no longer lived on site."

Mrs King said she then outlined her concerns to council staff and in January this year was told that the owners had reduced the number of dogs over Christmas from 100 to 80.
She was not happy with the reply. ""When did we ever question the number of dogs.

It makes no difference how many dogs exist, it is the same if five out of 80 bark or five out of 100, it is still barking."

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But despite many noise complaints by her and other neighbours, Mrs King said she had not had any contact or update from the council. "I don't ring now. I can't take the additional stress of being given the scripted spin of an answer."

She said she could have cried when Mrs McNaughton received a letter from the council saying it could do nothing and for them to consult a lawyer.

Mrs King said the council was hiding behind the kennel's consent and used words like they could not affect someone's business.

Meanwhile they were being affected by lack of sleep, stress and a property that they could never sell.

"Would you live in an environment where dogs bark for long periods at night and start again at five in the morning. On many weekends the dogs do not stop barking for long enough to enjoy a coffee outside.

"It is very disappointing that you are prepared to allow the current owners to ruin so many lives simply because you are not prepared to do the right things and admit the 1985 consent is so inappropriate it is useless," she aid.

Mrs McNaughton quoted the New Zealand Bill of Rights which said that no one should be subjected to torture or cruel treatment. "Constant noise and sleep deprivation is a form of torture."

She also cited the Health Act which was meant to protect people from any noise that was injurious to health. "They are not barking occasionally, it is constant."

The women's grievances were raised in the public forum at the start of the meeting and was not an item on the agenda.

However, Mayor Stuart Crosby called on the issue to be addressed by staff. He said he lived nearby for 18 years and the kennel was not a significant problem. "The dynamics may have changed."

The kennel owners were unable to be contacted for comment. The person who answered the phone at the kennels said the owners were out of town and not reachable by cellphone.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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