Having a dog is a wonderful thing. Having a neighbor with a constantly barking dog is a nightmare.

The Fruita Police Department is reminding residents of a city ordinance pertaining to barking dogs.

The ordinance states it is

'unlawful for the owner or keeper of an animal in the city to permit such animal to disturb the peace and quiet of any person by barking, whining, howling, or making any other noise in an excessive, continuous, or untimely fashion."

Of course, first, we have to understand that when God created dogs the voice he gave them was a bark. So barking is something that dogs do naturally.  You could say it's their God-given ability. However, like so many things in life, there is a time and a place for everything - including barking.

Dogs may bark at strangers, and they may bark when they are stuck outside while there's a party going on inside without them. They may bark when they are hungry, or simply in protest when you forget to include a side of mashed potatoes and gravy with their evening meal.

I am generally of the belief there are no bad kids, only bad parents. The same may be true for dogs. There are no bad dogs, just bad owners.

What is a bad owner? A bad owner is one who neglects their pet, failing to give them food and water every day, a soft bed to sleep on, and a warm place to retreat to when the weather outside is frightfully cold. A bad owner fails to teach their dog good manners about jumping on people uninvited, sharing unsolicited slobbering on unsuspecting guests, and - maintaining the peace when folks are trying to sleep.

While there's no ordinance against unsolicited slobbering, there is, in fact, a city ordinance in Fruita against dogs disturbing the peace. Notice the words in the ordinance - "excessive and continuous." Nobody is asking a dog to forsake his natural method of communication and live in silence. But, again, there is a time and a place to bark.

Occasional barking is one thing. Continuous barking is another, and that's where the owner needs to step in, out of consideration for the neighbors. Find out why the dog is barking and make an attempt to end the disturbance. If the dog cannot be silenced, then by all means, bring it inside and let the barking happen inside the four walls of your own house. Maintaining neighborhood peace is as much the responsibility of the dog owner as providing food, water, shelter, and medical care for their animal.

The main thing is to be aware of the noise your dog is making - and keep it under control. Your Fruita neighbors will thank you.

(FRUITA POLICE DEPARTMENT]