Guard Dogs at Local Business Trigger Review of City Rules


ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A Rockford business owner is using 4 guard dogs to keep crime away from his property but some neighbors say the dogs bark far too often to be doing any real good.

The barking that comes from MPH on Jefferson Street is too much for Karolyn Downey. The business sits across the street from Downey’s home on Rockton Avenue and by her count, the guard dogs on the property have been barking every day for more than a year.

“It's wore me out, I don’t know how else to say. 410 days of morning, daytime and night time barking. I’m just exhausted anymore," says Karolyn Downey.

Downey is asking city aldermen to change Rockford law so guard dogs are no longer exempt from noise violations. She says 35 other people in the neighborhood agree with her and have signed a petition to get the rules changed.

"When the rest of the neighborhood is quiet and at peace, you have the dogs barking constantly and it’s hard to go to sleep," says Davita McWillaims

The dogs’ owner, Tim Barth, says this is the best way to keep his business and workers safe.

“The guy trying to rob me in the parking lot, cameras nor an alarm system were going to help me that night, the dog did. The guy stealing the car out in the parking lot, again cameras and an alarm system won’t help you, the dog will," says Tim Bath.

Richard Schlee also lives across the street from MPH, he says he welcomes the 4 legged protectors and their barking.

“A few months ago there was a dumpster fire over at Noble’s and the barking woke us up and the people that live above Noble’s. If the dogs wouldn't have been there, who knows how much that fire would have spread," says Richard Schlee.

Downey says the neighbors watching out for each other, not the dogs, that have kept her street safe, and she's confident if they go, it will stay that way.

City council members are working together to figure out how to define what is and is not reasonable noise from barking dogs. They say they’re looking at Winnebago County’s rules as a guide. The county rules state a person can be fined for their barking dog if one person makes a complaint that is accompanied by a video that shows continues barking for 10 minutes, or if 2 people from separate homes makes a complaint about the same dog.


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