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Morgan County considering barking dog ordinance

March 09, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The Morgan County Commission will hold a public hearing Friday, March 23, at 2 p.m. to discuss enacting public nuisance and barking dog ordinances.

The commission will use the ordinance language in laws in place in Jefferson and Berkeley counties. Copies are available at the Morgan County Commission office, said commission President Glen Stotler.

"We need to decide to what extent we want to pursue this. Jefferson and Berkeley counties have both adopted some kind of nuisance ordinance," he said.

The Berkeley County ordinance states habitually barking, howling or yelping dogs are a public nuisance and the owners can be fined $100 for the first offense and subsequent offenses could cost up to $250, he said.

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Jefferson County's excessive residential noise ordinance includes loud music, radios and television, parties and social events audible above 65 decibels through the walls or apartment units within the same building or from another property line or street between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Using power tools and equipment is also discouraged during that time.

Exempted from the noise ordinance are sporting events, emergency or public safety vehicles, emergency repair activities, private emergency alarm devices, farm equipment or farm activities, and legal use of firearms including hunting and shooting activities.

Chief Deputy Vince Shambaugh of the Morgan County Sheriff Department said he will determine from Jefferson County officials what type of equipment will be needed to determine the 65-or-above decibel limit, and the cost to equip the sheriff department deputies.

Shambaugh said the department answers many complaints, but without an ordinance there is not much the sheriff's department can do.

"It has to be either black or white; there can be no gray areas," he said.

Stotler said, "We are considering it (nuisance ordinance). We can't adopt something if we can't enforce it."

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