Posted: Sep 5, 2012 9:12 PM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
One of the largest animal rescue missions in Montana is wreaking havoc for some Helena area neighbors.
Neighbors living across the street from more than 160 confiscated Malamutes are frustrated over the noise they have to put up with day and night.
But the Lewis and Clark Humane Society says its living up to the mission of taking care of the dogs and not breaking any laws.
For the past three months, the Lode family has been living with the howling and barking of dozens of Malamutes. The rescued animals are considered evidence in an animal cruelty case in Jefferson County.
The dogs are housed in a greenhouse across the street from the Lode family.
Theresa Lode says they bark during feeding times and even in the middle of the night.
"We're awakened at 5:30 in the morning, 4:30 in the morning, during the day. I work from home so this has been very challenging having this distraction constantly in the background," said Theresa.
The Lodes have complained about the noise, but were told there is nothing that can be done, since there is no zoning in the area, and no noise ordinance.
"The Humane Society, as we understand it so far, falls under this category of animal boarding facility and so they are exempted from the dog control ordinance," said Jay Lode.
Gina Wiest of the Lewis and Clark Humane Society said, "We are within our rights to have those animals there. I'm sorry that he is being disturbed in his home."
But the Lodes say the barking has got to stop.
They have been keeping a "barking log" to document their situation.
Wiest said that the Humane Society has tried to mitigate the noise: "We did put up styrofoam insulating board on the windows. And that was to the tune of probably about $300. We did paint the ceiling trying to do some sound behavior mitigation there as well. These poor animals have been, you know, through the ringer and we really really want to do the best for them. Unfortunately the wheels of justice do not move fast."
After the court case they hope to adopt out all of the dogs; once they get the count down to about 40 dogs, they will have room to relocate them back at the animal shelter in Helena.
In the meantime neighbors in the area will have to either turn a deaf ear or continue to shut the windows until the court case in October.
The court date for the dogs' owner, Mike Chillinski, is scheduled for Oct. 15.