Shelter board takes note of sound progress on barking

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Music’s charms have apparently proven somewhat soothing for the dogs at the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter.
The shelter’s Advisory Board heard an update on sound prevention measures during its meeting Tuesday evening, and the news was, to a point, music to its ears.
For the past few months, the advisory board has been working with Serenity’s Edge Campground owner Wes Wright and other Wright family members to find a solution for the noise of barking dogs that Wright said was disturbing campers.
At the end of August, the board approved installing an ambient sound system that plays classical or other soothing music to help calm the dogs and keep them from barking unnecessarily.
Board chair Mike Barnett asked Wright if he had noticed a difference in the noise level since the system had been installed.
While issues remain, Wright told the board he has noticed when the dogs do bark, they did seem to “settle down” faster than they did before, and the animals seemed calmer through the day or at times when no one was at the shelter.
“We do still have some issues, like when a stray dog runs past the shelter or someone comes out to clean or are near the dogs,” Wright said. “The duration of the barking is definitely shorter.”
Barnett said the board was still searching for more options, such as a landscaped barrier to help limit the noise to the campground even further.
He said after speaking with Extension Agent Keith Hart and landscapers, he discovered a possible option: planting Nellie R. Stevens holly trees along the edge of the outside kennels.
Barnett said the trees grew tall and fast, and they are very dense, which would muffle the sound.
“We need to get something close to the kennels to catch the sound so that it doesn’t go up and out,” Barnett said. “We are looking at different options but we do have to consider things, like cost, maintenance and the appearance of these things.”
A Carter County Humane Society volunteer addressed the board with concerns over the care and health of the cats at the shelter. She said she had witnessed many sick cats at the shelter, including some that she believed were in very serious condition. She urged board members to visit the shelter and to make changes to help the animals get the treatment they needed.

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