Barking issue continues to dog shelter

Published 7:28 am Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Much of the noise made at Tuesday’s meeting of the Elizabethton Carter County Animal Shelter Advisory Board was about … noise.
Board members once again heard complaints from the owners of property near the animal shelter regarding barking dogs, which they say are disturbing the peace of the community.
Phillip Wright, representing the Serenity’s Edge Campground, addressed the board regarding what he called a continuing noise problem from the shelter.
During the board’s meeting in March, Wright addressed the board regarding the noise issue and County Mayor Leon Humphrey, who is a member of the board, asked Wright to provide documentation concerning the noise levels and the effects on the campground’s business. At that time Wright said that he would provide documentation to the board.
However, Wright didn’t provide the material at Tuesday’s meeting, telling the board that “it being a nuisance to me is a foregone conclusion.”
Instead of submitting the requested documentation, Wright distributed an unsigned letter to the board further stating the complaint regarding the noise he said disturbs his business.
“I am satisfied the burden of proof regarding disturbing the peace by excessive dog barking has been met,” the letter said. “Kylie McGivern’s coverage on WJHL allowed thousands of people in and around Carter County to not only see, but hear this nuisance. The news coverage along with the several hours of measured decibel readings that I have conducted is an ample amount of evidence to prove there is in fact a noise problem. I do understand that you may wish to conduct a 24-hour noise decibel reading. I am willing to agree to this under the conditions that prior written notification is provided to myself or Wes Wright and the cost of the testing be paid by Carter County,” said the letter handed out by Phillip Wright.
The letter continued, “The success of the campground lies with the many guests that we host each year. Whether the decision to locate an animal shelter was made by the city, the state, or the county is irrelevant to our guests. The rest and relaxation is ruined by the constant and annoying barking of dogs. That’s all that will matter to them. I’m convinced unless a realistic solution is found it will be the eminent demise of a promising small business. This is not in line with Carter County and the City of Elizabethton’s desire to grow tourism and ultimately sales tax revenue.”
Board Chairman Mike Barnett told the board he has been in contact with a company regarding noise reduction barriers which could help alleviate complaints about noise from the shelter, but that he is waiting to hear back from a representative from the company regarding what options would be available.
Humphrey said he is not convinced that a problem exists, and that even if a problem did exist, it would not be something that could be immediately fixed.
“Again, I am still of the opinion that there is not a problem. At the last meeting you agreed to provide documentation and now you are refusing,” Humphrey said. “What we are being told has not come to pass. At this point in time no proof has been brought forth that a problem exists.”
Humphrey said the board is “acting in good faith” and has “reached out” to the owners of Serenity’s Edge in an attempt to work together toward a resolution, but that any action taken would take some time. He said experts would have to be brought in to determine if, in fact, there was a noise issue and what, if anything, could be done to alleviate it. “We can’t just spend money to build something without first knowing that it will work,” Humphrey said.
Wright said he did not feel that the board was acting in good faith, and it was his opinion that the board had no intention of acting on his complaint.
Humphrey said the board is acting on his complaint by looking into noise reducing options, and reminded Wright things take time to move forward.
“This board will not be addressing this issue month after month after month. We have been addressing this for about four months now,” Humphrey said. “I think the family has taken a stance with this right here,” he added, holding up the letter Wright submitted to the board.
“We are taking every step and if that is not good enough then go ahead and take your next step,” Humphrey said. “Sir, just go ahead and seek your legal action.”
Wright responded “That is already being done.”

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