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Animal Services provides pet owner tips

CARLSBAD — A pet friendly community, Carlsbad brims with walking paths and a seaside breeze to cool down a four-legged companion during a stroll. But despite how welcoming Carlsbad is toward dogs, rules and regulations are still at the forefront.
At a recent Carlsbad City Council meeting, Lauren Joniaux, deputy director from the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services, provided interesting pet owner tidbits and informational guidelines.
To start with, a total of 8,000 dogs are licensed in Carlsbad. Popular breeds chosen among residents are Golden and Labradors Retrievers while top name picks are Max and Bella.
“I think that Carlsbad residents are very, very conscientious and responsible pet owners,” Joniaux said.
But still, from the 1,254 service calls they received last year, the main complaint was dog barking.
“Oftentimes, we find the barking is during the day when the dog is lonely or bored or has other behavioral issues,” Joniaux said. For the most part, people are considerate and do what they can to curb the barking challenge, she explained.
Joniaux said the first step is identifying why the animal is having problems.
“Once someone is aware of the problem they really need to address it,” she said.
Joniaux wants people to know that another valuable alternative is to seek the assistance of a certified dog trainer. Also, hiring a pet sitter who can visit once or twice a day may provide a dog with company, playtime and exercise to burn off some energy.
Yet, in some cases, few pet owners don’t do anything about the barking issue. A “do-nothing” attitude may ultimately lead to the San Diego County Code offense of 36.414, which is specific to Carlsbad.
In this instance, Joniaux said, two individuals living in separate residences start the process by signing a written affidavit indicating that the barking is frequent and a continued noise that’s annoying.
From there, the affidavit is taken to a judge, and if the alleged offending party pleads not guilty then a trial date is set.
Joniaux said that before neighbors go to this extreme it’s simpler to just bring the issue up with the neighbor or getting some type of mediation so they have an opportunity to fix it.
Carlsbad residents are allowed six adult dogs. On average, 5,500 animals are brought into the Carlsbad shelter facility and have an 82 percent save rate where animals are adopted by private families or rescued by other agencies.
Last year, 79 dog bites were reported, according to Joniaux.
“If anybody has knowledge of a bite or suspects a rabid animal, they are required by law to report it,” she said.
The recent dog attack on a woman and her small dog in June has left Joniaux and others frustrated. No clear witnesses have identified the individual on the skateboard and/or the large dog that was leashed at the time of the incident at Pine Street and Carlsbad Boulevard. The brutal attack left the woman injured and her small dog was killed.
“If you have knowledge that your dog behaves in a certain way, you do have an obligation to manage its behavior,” Joniaux said. “Besides the fact that it’s the moral and right thing to do, you want to keep yourself and your animal safe and are obligated to keep the public and their animals safe — there are huge liabilities issues with problems we see with certain bites that cause psychological and physical damage.”
Joniaux pointed out that on a whole, Carlsbad is a very responsible community with their pets. They remain educated about laws, spaying and neutering, and pet microchipping.
For more information about the County of San Diego Animal Shelter in Carlsbad including its vet clinics, adoptions, volunteer opportunities and more, call (760) 438-2312. The shelter is located at 2481 Palomar Airport Road.