I’m annoyed by a noisy, dog-friendly cafe in my neighborhood

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 60s, and I’ve been living in the same house for 40 years, since I got married. It’s a quiet residential area close to the sea, and I like it very much. But ever since a dog-friendly cafe opened in my neighborhood a few years ago, I’ve been troubled by barking dogs.

The owners let their dogs play in the yard while they carry on loud conversations. Their dogs bark and squeak their toys. It’s a total racket. Some dogs kept barking for almost two hours the other day.

I’m sick and tired of it. If I try to read, the words don’t stick in my head. The couple next door also said it’s noisy.

I thought about complaining, but decided not to. I don’t want to get into an argument since I haven’t interacted with the shop owner before.

The only time I can relax is when the cafe is closed or it rains. When I wake up in the morning these days, I feel depressed thinking of being pestered by that barking again. Do I have to put up with this?

D, Kanagawa Prefecture

Dear Ms. D:

Since the cafe is quiet when it’s closed or it rains, that means it doesn’t keep any dogs. All the dogs you think are noisy are pets brought to the cafe.

In that case, it’s not just the problem of noise from the cafe but also a problem of the manners of owners who take their pets to public places.

Sensible customers probably find it annoying to see owners who don’t care if their dogs keep barking and don’t consider it a nuisance to others, since if the dogs end up getting into a fight and get injured, it will be a problem for the cafe and its customers.

So, the cafe may possibly also think things shouldn’t be left as they are, and this makes a complaint from you seem less likely to become an issue. Since your neighbors are also saying it’s noisy, you can talk to the neighborhood association together and submit a petition to the cafe as the collective opinion of the neighbors.

You can ask the shop to take measures such as posting etiquette for owners on its website or at the entrance, reducing the number of noisy toys and setting time limits.

The shop found it worthwhile to open a cafe in your town, and I think the shop owner will understand if the neighbors politely show how much they care about the town they live in.

Hazuki Saisho, writer