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By Carmen Ensinger
Mandy’s Whine and Bark Animal Shelter in White Hall has been saving dogs and cats in the Greene County area for almost four years. Each year, they rehome around 150 dogs who would otherwise have been euthanized and around 50 cats.
Without a doubt, they provide a very valuable and humane service to not only White Hall, but the entire county, but that service is in jeopardy thanks to a complaint lodged by a couple of disgruntled neighbors at their present location at 133 Centennial. This complaint led to an Ordinance Violation for owner Mandy Speaker for Disturbing the Peace, Disorderly Conduct and Barking Dogs. The Speaker was in Greene County Circuit Court to answer this Ordinance Violation on Tuesday, Dec. 14. The Ordinance Violation carries a $250 fine.
Mandy’s Whine and Bark moved to their present location in June of this year. Prior to that, they were located in Edgewood Manor, also a residential neighborhood.
The ticket was issued on Nov. 22. Prior to that, Speaker said that she had had a visit from White Hall Chief of Police Luke Coultas and Officer Eddie Ford on the matter.
“Officer Ford called me on a Sunday at 1:30 p.m. saying the dogs were barking and I told him that they were only let outside long enough for their bedding to be changed and then they were brought right back in,” Speaker said. “Then, Chief Coultas and Officer Ford came back down and said there was a complaint and that is when Chief Coultas told me to try shock collars and then they show up here with a ticket.”
Speaker said she has videos of other dogs in the neighborhood barking.
“The barking isn’t coming from my dogs,” she said. “I’ve even had the ones that have complained tell me and the police that they don’t bark at night – it is just during the day.”
White Hall has no zoning ordinance and no noise ordinance.
“We have had regular residents call and complain about dogs during the day and the police will tell them there is nothing they can do until after 10 p.m.,” Speaker said. “So, why am I being targeted. I’m just trying to save these animal’s lives but yet I’m the one that is getting slapped in the face for trying to do something good.”
The case of the Ordinance Violation was continued until Feb. 8 and Todd Parish, who was standing in for White Hall City Attorney Bill Strang suggested that Speaker get with the Mayor, Chief of Police and her neighbors and try to work things out.
“I am more than willing to meet with all of them,” Speaker said. “I have pretty much spoken to every single neighbor there and everyone told me that my dogs don’t bother them. I do know who is complaining, though, and I’m being lied to.”
Speaker said it isn’t even her dogs that are barking in the first place.
“I have people who come in and walk the dogs and one lady has actually videoed several different days of her walking the dogs in different locations,” she said. “She noticed other dogs barking but not mine. The barking is not coming from my shelter.”
Her plan of action is very simple.
“I’m just going to keep going day to day doing what I do,” she said. “I’m not going to neglect my animals. I refuse to neglect my animals. My dogs are still going to go outside – They deserve fresh air and sunlight and I’m not going to deny them that, even if it is only for a few minutes a day. We will do our best to keep them quiet when they are out in respect to our neighbors.”