When the City of Ottawa was growling about 'four-legged barking machines'

The City of Ottawa wanted to hear less barking from its dogs.

In 1987, city officials were looking at ordering dogs' larynxes removed in some cases

Less barking wanted in Ottawa

35 years ago
Duration 1:56
In 1987, the City of Ottawa was taking a tougher line on barking dogs.

Midday billed the story as hushed puppies, though it actually was a story about dogs of all ages.

In 1987, the CBC's Cory O'Kelly told Midday viewers about an effort in Ottawa to get noisy dogs to stop barking.

"There are more than 30,000 dogs living in Ottawa," O'Kelly told viewers, in the report that aired on Aug. 13, 1987.

"A lot of them spend their days and your nights barking."

He explained that the city was taking steps to make it easier for residents to report dogs that were barking too much.

A dog is seen sitting under a car in Ottawa in 1987. (Midday/CBC Archives)

"It used to take sworn statements from three people to get action from the city on a noisy dog," said O'Kelly.

"That will change — the city says in future, its animal control officers will do the work."

More specifically, the city was considering making dog owners have their pets' larynxes removed in some cases — a practice that O'Kelly reported was in effect in some parts of the United States.

Harry Rowsell, the executive director of the Canadian Council on Animal Care, objected to the practice.

"It's not an inhumane operation, it's simply that the dog sounds as if it's hoarse and I find it very distressing because I think the dog has a bad cold," he told CBC.

In September 1987, the Ottawa Citizen reported that city council did vote in favour of making it easier to pursue action against noisy dogs.

Specifically, the Citizen reported that city aldermen then voted "to change the noise bylaw so that owners of persistently noisy dogs can be charged after only one complaint."

But the paper did not report any other changes to the noise bylaw beyond that.

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