Inundated with pet owners’ complaints from as far away as Calgary, Canada, Ballston Spa officials have dropped the idea of limiting the number of dogs per household, claiming that laws already on the books can sufficiently address any problems. For the sake of any people who might be stuck living next to a breeder or rescue operation, we hope they’re right.
Just as there are dog owners who insist that certain breeds of dogs aren’t inherently vicious, there are those who say it’s not the number of animals someone keeps but the way they keep them that determines whether they’re good neighbors.
Both claims may be true to some extent, but statistics and common sense say otherwise: Pit bulls are involved in far more attacks than, say, golden retrievers; and when it comes to numbers, there’s no question that the more dogs a person keeps, the more likely that one (or more) of them will be making noise at any point in time. And when one dog barks, it often tends to set off others.
So wouldn’t five dogs — the number in the village’s controversial proposal — seem like more than enough? Most of the houses in the village are urban-like, built right on top of one another. That doesn’t seem appropriate, frankly, for more than a pair of dogs — unless they truly never bark. (Only one breed comes close to qualifying — a basenji.) And dog breeders or doggie day-care operators are both businesses — in violation of residential neighborhood zoning.
Yes, the village can use existing restrictions — against noise or businesses in residential neighborhoods — to address these issues, but a specific limit on the number of dogs might be easier to enforce than mediating an unneighborly dispute over whose dogs are barking and when.