The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female student in my third year of high school. I can’t stand the continuous barking of the dog next door.
Our next-door neighbors keep their small dog outside their home. Since my room is closest to their property, I can clearly hear the dog’s barking, even though I’m inside. As a result, I have trouble concentrating when I’m studying for my entrance exam.
The dog yaps when cars or people pass by. It cries when it rains or there are thunderstorms. It howls during the night, depriving me of sleep. Our neighbors used to own a large dog that always barked at me when I passed by.
Moreover, I can hear them berate the dog, saying things like, “Be quiet!” or “Why are you spilling your food?” when feeding it.
I’m not the type that hates dogs. As a matter of fact, I think I like them. It’s hard for me to understand why my neighbors can’t treat their dog with affection.
I’ve talked to my parents about this, but they seem reluctant to do anything, probably because we moved to the neighborhood later than our neighbors and built our house next to theirs. There also aren’t any other homes near ours. How should I deal with this problem?
R, Tochigi Prefecture
Dear Ms. R:
I suppose it’s more irritating to hear dogs barking at night compared to during the day when it’s noisier.
Of course, a certain degree of patience is necessary as your relations with your neighbors last a long time. However, you should take corrective action when things have gotten so bad that anyone would be troubled by the situation.
I’ve heard that in certain municipalities, public health centers or other facilities handle complaints such as yours and if necessary, issue orders to dog owners. I suggest you first consult these offices to learn what kind of measures they can take.
At any rate, the dog’s owners bear full responsibility for their pet’s barking. You have no choice but to ask them to improve the situation.
Another approach would be to record the dog’s barking and play it to your neighbors. You could then ask them to keep the dog inside at night or move it to a different place.
By the way, joining the neighborhood later or building your house in a certain place is irrelevant when you’re trying to improve the local environment. What’s important is to talk to others with sincerity.
Sachiyo Dohi, lawyer