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Dog's Barking Pits Pet Owner Against Fayetteville Neighborhood

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FAYETTEVILLE — A pooch problem in Fayetteville is pitting a pet owner's rights against neighborhood noise ordinances.

Kate is a pit bull mix weighing in at 80 pounds. To the Norton family, she is a loyal watchdog. To local neighbors, she is a nuisance.

"I don't know why the man complains about the dog. She's just trying to protect what's hers," says dog owner Terry Norton.

City attorney Bob Cogswell says the neighbors have complained numerous times about Kate's barking. Those complaints led to the city fining Norton $200. Norton says he will not pay the fines.

"I think it's ridiculous. We pay taxes every year, and just like us, we have a right to talk, she should have a right to bark," he says.

Neighbors who live on both sides of Norton's home say they do not have a problem with Kate's barking.

"I think it is stupid. Dogs bark," says neighbor Donna Brigman. "They bark to let you know that someone is in the yard, they play and that's it, but you hardly hear their dog."

Barking or not, Norton plans on keeping Kate because she is the only protection he has for his family.

"If they tell me to pay the fine or they are going to come and take my dog, then I might as well open my door, stand in the street and tell everyone to take what they want," he says.

The city has suggested Norton either get an invisible fence or a higher one, because the dog only barks when she sees people.

It is best to stop the loud barking before it starts. First of all, make sure your dog is socialized.

Expose your dog to many different people, dogs, and animals. This will make strange people, animals, and noises less scary.Give your dog plenty of exercise through walks and runs.If your dog still likes to bark, you can keep the curtains closed so they cannot see out the window or put a solid fence around your yard.