It may be a little bit old-fashioned, but I still believe in common courtesy, good manners and the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Somehow, in today’s society many of those social graces have been lost and now city officials had to create ordinances to limit noise and keep pets — unruly or not — on a leash. And that’s a shame.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Bill 1913 was introduced. It was requested by Mayor Kiernan McManus to put specific definitions into the city code, specifically what it means when an animal is “at large” and prohibits any animal from being at large within the city limits, particularly public parks.
The ordinance reads that being at large means the animal is “not confined or contained on the owner, caretaker or responsible party’s property or under the control of a leash.”
As a longtime, responsible animal owner, I never take my dog out for a walk if he’s not on a leash. I won’t even walk him from the front door to the car in the driveway if he’s not properly harnessed and leashed.
And when we had horses, they never left their stalls unless they had on at the very minimum a halter and lead line and were firmly under our control.
No matter how well-behaved or trained an animal is, there are just too many distractions out in the world and something can happen. It’s nearly impossible to prepare for every circumstance and what wasn’t scary today or yesterday could be frightening tomorrow and cause them to jump, bolt or even attack. If not properly leashed, the unthinkable could happen.
The noise ordinance, which was passed Jan. 11 and takes effect Feb. 3, made it unlawful to create a noise at any time in a residential area that is higher than 70 decibels. Noises in commercial and industrial areas cannot be louder than 100 decibels between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 90 decibels the rest of the day. Most of us don’t have sound level meters, so we really won’t be able to tell what the decibels are.
Of course, there are a few exemptions, including emergency noises, civic functions and construction, maintenance and common residential noise. But anyone who lives in a house with a teenager can attest that loud music, conversations and arguments over chores are pretty common.
Once the ordinance takes effect, police officers will be required to carry meters that measure sound levels along with their other equipment. And, if a meter is not available, then the noise will be measured by whether it disturbs or annoys those with normal sensitivities or causes an adverse effect on public health or welfare, according to the ordinance.
Determining if a noise disturbs people or causes an adverse effect can be pretty subjective and can vary by which police officer is on duty. And that’s very problematic.
According to Communications Manager Lisa LaPlante, the city is ordering the necessary equipment. She also said it was “not clear how long it may take to receive the equipment/training and start enforcement.”
These two ordinances are bothersome, and not just because of the likely delay between the time the complaint is made and officers’ arrival on the scene to witness or verify if a violation has occurred. I would like to think that it’s more important for officers to be tackling serious issues like crime, domestic violence and unsafe driving.
Granted, I would not like to be forced to leave my home because someone nearby is creating a racket or be chased by a ferocious dog, but that’s where common courtesy and consideration for one’s neighbors is supposed to come in.
Is it really necessary for the city to tell us how to behave and treat each other nicely? I would like to think we should be able to do this on our own. After all, isn’t Boulder City supposed to be a modern-day Mayberry? Perhaps instead of touting the community as clean and green we should be looking to be more golden.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.