GoDog to Get Extra Time to Sound Proof; Residents Feel like They Were not Heard

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – A local dog boarding business was in court today over complaints about excessive barking coming from their business.

About a month ago, we learned about the GoDog business on the Chattanooga Southside that neighbors say is causing major disruptions to their daily lives.

They had their first chance to hear from one of the owners today, but what they learned and the decision was made by the Court, is leaving a sour taste in their mouth.

One resident, Don Benedict, said, “This has been an incredibly taxing journey, and to be here at Court after four months having to listen to dogs barking nonstop is incredibly disappointing.”

He added it felt like months of work was wasted.

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A rooftop camera view of the GoDog business on W. 20th Street, showing the close proximity of the business to multiple residences. (Courtesy: Kosin Ru)

Hamilton County Judge Sherry Paty ruled Thursday that GoDog has 60 days to address the design of their structure to mitigate noise from dog barking.

Judge Paty said, “If I just impose a fine like court costs, if I found that there was a barking violation, the problem would not be solved, it would just be that the owners would have to pay money.”

She is also asking the business to not let dogs go into their backyard which faces several residences along 19th Street between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Residents wanted the Judge to not let GoDog use their backyard at all.

One of the three GoDog owners was present today and testified they are trying to find the best solution.

This includes recently conducting a sound study of their business to figure out ways to contain the noise.

Ben Eberdt, an owner of GoDog, said, “We were in lockstep with the city the whole way. All of our plans were reviewed constantly. Our zoning was approved. We did everything that we could.”

One of the main revelations today was that the McKamey Animal Center never gave GoDog a written citation, only a verbal warning.

GoDog’s lawyer argued this was not in line with city code, in which the Judge agreed.

However, according to section 7.57 of the city ordinances, there is no such requirement.

An email from McKamey to residents shared with News 12 acknowledges this ordinance and that they followed it.

But the McKamey representative who was in court today acknowledged they did not know the ordinance to dispute GoDog’s claim.

Neighbors had a meeting afterwards with McKamey representatives, which we were not allowed to film but able to listen to, where they were critical of McKamey’s handling of this case.

McKamey’s executive director told them she takes full responsibility for the mishap.

Katie Ford, a Southside resident, said, “We really didn’t feel like we were heard today, nor did we get to present any of our evidence. GoDog seemed to get their day in court, presented their solution. I don’t think we were heard as residents of the Southside who experience this on a daily basis.”

Kosin Ru, a resident who alerted News 12 to this issue a month ago, says he still is logging videos on a regular basis demonstrating the excessive barking.

He says he will continue to do so until the next court date as he has his doubts the issue will be fixed soon.

Ru said, “To hear they’re going to try to fix it in the next 60 days, honestly I don’t have much hope that they’ll do it correctly, but we’re willing to give them a chance.”

Ru also shared some pictures he’s taken of the property including a picture which he says shows the roof not being properly insulated for noise.

He also shared this picture showing wire-meshed windows.

Residents say they have had over 75 people sign a petition demanding a solution to the situation.

The residents said they hope to see a resolution at the next court date, which will be on June 15.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News