North Yarmouth may add teeth to rules on barking dogs

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NORTH YARMOUTH — Complaints about barking dogs at a home off North Road has prompted the Select Board to seek stronger language in the town’s animal noise ordinance.

A public hearing on amendments is scheduled at the Select Board’s 7 p.m. meeting at Town Hall Tuesday, Feb. 6. The proposed changes would then go to the annual Town Meeting April 29.

The Select Board unanimously called the hearing at its Jan. 16 meeting. The panel that night also authorized Kerry Libby, the town’s animal control officer, to summons Lauren Faulhaber of 1 Redmond Road on a charge of violating the animal noise ordinance.

Faulhaber is scheduled to appear Feb. 27 at Maine District Court in Portland.

Existing ordinance language requires the animal control officer to first issue a warning and then submit a written report to the Select Board before being allowed to issue a summons. In the amended language, the officer would issue a second warning, then submit a report to the town manager, avoiding the need to wait for a Select Board meeting for authorization to proceed with the summons.

If the court convicts the dog owner of being guilty of a civil violation, that person would be levied a fine of $50, according to North Yarmouth’s fee schedule. The fine would remain unchanged under the amendment. 

Libby said she has received two written complaints. Faulhaber, who operates Godiva Goldens & Gardens, could not be reached for comment.

The canines, as described at goldivagoldens.com, “are not kennel dogs but live in our homes as personal companions with our family or in Boarding Contract homes for our show dogs and pet therapy homes.”

According to a document shared by Town Manager Rosemary Roy, Libby on Sept. 18, 2017, issued Faulhaber a warning notice after receiving a complaint about dogs barking “insistently” outside from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The ordinance prohibits barking for more than 20 consecutive minutes straight, or intermittently for at least an hour.

Libby on Jan. 17 said she tried repeatedly to reach Faulhaber by phone and email, as well as leaving her business card at the property, but never heard back. Neighbors have spoken only to Faulhaber’s boyfriend, who blamed the barking on coyotes being nearby while the dogs were outside, Libby said.

“I’ve had multiple complaints, and after the initial warning it basically has to go to the (Select Board) as to how to handle it from there,” Libby said. “This has been an ongoing issue for about a year, though, given what the neighbors have told me.”

Libby said she did not see any dogs at the residence, since they were always inside when she was there.

“I don’t have to personally witness the barking, but I do need written statements from anyone who has called in a complaint,” she said. “I can issue a summons based on those.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Alleged violations of North Yarmouth’s barking dog ordinance at 1 Redmond Road have prompted the town to consider strengthening its rules about canines.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.