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Dogged by constant barking, Haven Avenue residents seek relief

Original post made on Jul 12, 2019

The barking is constant, and has been since Jackie Comstock moved in to the Anton Menlo apartment complex on Haven Avenue in April 2017, she says.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 12, 2019, 10:39 AM

Comments (29)

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 12, 2019 at 1:53 pm

I read this article in the paper and just shook my head. That kennel has been there for 50 years. It was irresponsible of the developers to build an apartment so close without addressing the issue by adding additional soundproofing to the apartments close to the kennel. It was also a little short sighted of the tennands that rented those apartments. It the dogs bark 24 hours a day then they certainly must have heard them when the looked at the apartments and known that it would be an issue.

The only people I feel sorry for is the owner of the kennel. You operate a business for close to 50 years without a problem and then a developer looking to make a fortune puts apartments where they really don't belong and the tennants who should have know better get up in arms and cause a lot of problems. Maybe the tennants should turn their anger at the apartment owners and try to get them to mitigate the issue with a sound wall, additional sound proofing in the apartments and/or reduced rent for the apartments closest to the kennel.

Posted by zSquad1
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 12, 2019 at 2:18 pm

zSquad1 is a registered user.

Ditto What Brian said.

Instead if reaching out to the Police and Kennel to rectify this problem the tenants should be directing their issues to their LandLord and Developer maybe the Cities Planning and Permit Dept!!

-More sound proofing in Walls and windows would be a start.
-Sound Wall
-Compensation for moving expenses etc.
-Notice to prospective tenants

Posted by OzSquad1
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 12, 2019 at 2:19 pm

OzSquad1 is a registered user.

Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2019 at 2:19 pm

Brian stated it perfectly. The residents chose to move into an apartment complex next to a dog kennel. It's just like if you move into an apartment/house next to a train track - you can't complain about train noise when they come by. The train/dogs were there before you moved in.

Posted by Someone else needs to change
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 12, 2019 at 2:55 pm

I moved next to 85 in Cupertino and now all I hear is the sound of cars! Someone needs to change the freeway!

Posted by sandy ferrando
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 12, 2019 at 4:23 pm

I'm With Robert.
There should have been a disclaimer!
Airports get AirPlanes ~ Kennels get Dogs.
No sympathy here for any tenant.
They should move on.

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jul 12, 2019 at 5:18 pm

I would be more than happy donate to a law suit that Tyson’s might bring against the city and developer. The city planners should not have approved the apartments without the DEVELOPER taking action to put up a sound barrier to protect their tenants.
Tyson’s moved to a remote location many years ago and have run a very fine business that offers a great service to our citizens. This situation is ridiculous and can totally be blamed on the city and the Developers. If Trysons become embroiled with the city over this I hope there would be a lawsuit and I’m sure many will support the Tyson’s in every way possible.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2019 at 5:43 pm

Tyson's is icky and has a matching reputation for a reason. But how could potential apartment dwellers not know it would be a problem? It's pretty obvious.

Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2019 at 5:48 pm

Some local barking history.
When Clement Chen's family built the Westin Hotel at the corner of Wells and ECR there was a pet hospital with boarding across Wells. Hotel customers complained about the barking. But the pet faculty had been there forever. Chen finally bought out the owners for a very pretty penny (we knew one of the vet owners) and built the Clement Hotel charges $600 plus for it's rooms. We only had to pay about $25 a night for our dog at the pet facility.
BTW your pets get to stay for free at the Clement, check their web site.

Like the other comments I have no sympathy for the tenants or developers. Those apts were built because of Facebook employees needing housing. Facebook brings//brought a whole range of problems with it that MP gov has been blind to.

Posted by Barbara
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jul 12, 2019 at 7:10 pm

I agree w/ everyone above. The developer, planning commission, and tenants are to blame. If I don’t want traffic noise, I don’t move to a house on a 4-lane street. If I don’t want to listen to dogs, I don’t move next to a kennel...! If I don’t want to hear airplane noise, I don’t move next to an airport! The tenants should be looking to the Developer for remediation - certainly not to Tyson’s! They’ve been there 5O years and have all the necessary permits.

Posted by a Tyson’s customer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Jul 13, 2019 at 8:34 am

No need to repeat the apt arguments set forth above, but I do want to emphasize the comment that Tyson’s provides a good community service. We take our dog there regularly and it’s such a relief to know we can, for example, when we know we’ll be gone for a long day or have workers (e.g., plumbers) working in the house. Plus, my dog really enjoys the Saturday obedience lessons there.

If the city council member read this, please know how valuable Tyson’s is in our community and that my opinion is that it is totally unfair to Tyson’s and the dogs that housing has encroached upon them, previously way out of anyone’s habitat, in an industrial area. Please do the right thing.

Posted by Air BNB guest
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jul 13, 2019 at 8:52 am

I stayed in the Anton Apartments in May for 4 nights, and the"barking" is not an accurate description. It sounds a lot more like dog fights. it was heartbreaking to hear the agitation and stress of so many dogs around the clock.

Posted by Lynne Bramlett
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 13, 2019 at 6:32 pm

Lynne Bramlett is a registered user.

I went to Haven Avenue today to see how close the dog kennel was to the apartments. I would say that in person, they are even closer than what I thought just by looking at the picture.

As to what should be done, please also see the detailed letter that Jacqueline Comstock sent to City Council regarding the matter. Web Link As to just moving, it's not that easy as the letter details. Plus, there is the suggestion that perhaps the "affordable units" were placed next to the dog kennel.

The renters may not find it so easy to move for multiple reasons. It also sounds as though the "barking" is far worse than what most of us can imagine.

Some additional ideas would be to consult some veterinarians about the barking, or the Humane Society, as both might have some helpful ideas. Web Link

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 13, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Dogs bark. It's what they do. And when you put a bunch of them together, they bark incessantly. Only way to stop it is to drug them. Wish I could drug my neighbors when they're being noisy.

Sorry. This is just another example of people moving in close to a "nuisance" and then complaining about it. The kennel being there with barking dogs was no secret.

Posted by Tyson’s customer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Jul 14, 2019 at 7:12 am

I repeat myself, I take my dog there regularly. I’m there on Saturdays. The dog barking, in my opinion, is no different than at a dog park, where I’ve spent countless hours in various cities my adult life.

I’ve also boarded my dog at Tyson’s.

If I believed my dog would be unsafe or otherwise at Tyson’s, I wouldn’t bring my dog there.

I agree with the above: dogs bark; it’s what they do. It’s a dog kennel.

Posted by Tyson’s customer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Jul 14, 2019 at 8:32 am

Further, I agree that there is a problem, including the larger problem of housing. We’re in Silicon Valley, for goodness’s sake. There has got to be an abundance of creative engineers who can help devise a solution.

But, in my opinion, it’s unjust to denigrate an established community service and business, let alone a good family name, for a new problem.

Posted by Lynne Bramlett
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 14, 2019 at 12:06 pm

Lynne Bramlett is a registered user.

As the Humane Society article details, dogs get "some kind of reward" when they bark. Web Link article suggests ways to remove the stimulation and/or desentizing dogs from barking. More exercise is also listed as an idea as tired dogs bark less. A Vet might have additional ideas. This isn't intended as a criticism of the dog kennel's current operation. PetMD also has helpful ideas that the Kennel Staff might be willing to try. Web Link

Even if the current residents move out, other residents will move in and they will then experience the problem. I think it would be better to try to find a solution that works for all parties, including the dogs!

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 14, 2019 at 5:03 pm

Air BNB Guest,

It was mentioned in the article that the dogs are only barking and are not in distress.

"Important for her, she said, is to publicly challenge the assertion from nearby residents that the dogs are unhappy or in distress.

"The dogs are in no way in any harm or discomfort," she said. "We've been giving quality care for 50 years.""

I did not see any mention of fighting in the Yelp reviews so I am going ot have to assume that is not the case. I had a neighbor who had a dog that used to bark and whine like it was hurt. I was worried at first and went over to check on it, the dog was fine that was just how it behaved when it was alone.

The bottom line to me is that the Kennel has been there 50 years and provides a great community service. They built the apartments two years ago to make as much money as possible and didn't really care about the noise problem. Whose fault is that? The tennants would know immediately that there were dogs barking and must have choosen to rent knowing that problem existed. As one person pointed out, this is like people who rent/buy near an airport and then demand the airport be closed because it is noisy.

Posted by Travis Bickell
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 14, 2019 at 9:51 pm

The article says,"The land along Haven Ave was identified as a good location to try and address that situation (lack of housing)". The Menlo Park official who identified the location should be fired.

Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 15, 2019 at 10:52 am

I've walked through the apartments several times, and a few times the dogs were particularly loud ... but it's pretty obvious this would be a problem, so - not a lot of sympathy. I'm sure the dogs were barking during construction. The apartments with the good view of the bay would have the most problem; the inward pointing ones, not so much.

Posted by Steve_J
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Steve_J is a registered user.

Noise bothers you, MOVE!!!!

Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 15, 2019 at 11:14 pm

@ Hmm - shame on you for attempting to anonymously smear a respected local business!
Tysons's has a good reputation. I fully support Tyson's and have been a a customer for 40+ years, both for boarding my pets & for dog training classes.
The developers and the MP Planning Commission are to blame. Maybe the barking is worse now because of car traffic to/from apartments at all hours? This is classic "I just got here & the neighbors bother me so the neighbors are to blame" idiocy.

The MP planning commission is to blame for plenty of ill-though decisions (Red Cottage snafu, etc) and often fails to consider the impact of or on pre-existing residents & businesses, then blames those for newbie problems. They love & enable the collection of fees associated with any new developments. The developers here were simply greedy. They bought the cheapest land they could find & didn't provide adequate soundproofing. Sue the developer to replace all windows with triple-pane glass.

Tenants: Look & listen before you lease. Do not blame others for your own failure to perform due diligence. Did it occur to any of you to park @ Anton after office hours & maybe picnic in your car for 30 minutes to assess the noise levels which might be expected near a kennel? Thought not.

Tyson's isn't the problem here. It was there first. Any newcomers who can pay $3190 monthly for a 563 sq. ft. apartment can afford to move.
Web Link

Neighboring Elan Apartments have plenty of complaints on yelp but NONE are about Tyson Kennels.
Web Link

Posted by Jackie Comstock
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2019 at 9:08 am

While I have not wanted to post on this thread, I feel compelled to speak up, as many of the comments inaccurately represent the situation. I am so glad that many posts acknowledge that this was short sighted of the City. Unfortunately, other posts place blame on the tenants. Please don't be short-sighted.

Ms. Bramlett posted a link to the letter I wrote the City on July 10th, 2019. Before attacking the residents, please educate yourself on the situation.
Web Link

The dogs do not bark 24/7. They bark anywhere from 40-70% of the day and night at constant levels typically ranging from 45dB to 75dB. Many of us, especially those of us who rented very early on, were unaware that a kennel existed behind the property (again the dogs do not bark 24/7) - and even for those who were aware (myself not included), who would think that a City would allow for noise levels to reach 80+dB at 2:30 in the morning within City limits?! A picnic in our cars to monitor noise at a residential community? Really?

The original permit was issued in 1972, and it clearly states that the dogs are to be indoors at night. That being said, I agree with all who think it is unfair to the kennel. In fact, I reached out to Tiffany Tyson to see if the kennel wanted to join me in urging the City to help find a resolution. During the call, I gathered information about additional soundproofing that could help the situation. Just to be clear - I have never attacked their business, have never posted on Yelp or Facebook, and have never said that dogs at a kennel should not bark.

I can only speak for myself when I say that fault is with the City. Not the kennel and not the tenants. The developer did what a developer is supposed to do - develop. Anton Dev Co. built apartments in conjunction with the City rezoning the land so they could build – the City needed these apartments so they would be in compliance with a settlement agreement. The City is supposed to zone land so adjacent uses are compatible. The City failed to conduct an accurate Environmental Assessment when rezoning the land. In fact, they omitted Tyson Kennels from the noise studies all together! They should have required the developer to mitigate the noise during development. Developers are not going implement such measures without it being required by the City.

All I have asked is that the City own up to its mistake and help implement a solution (i.e. additional soundproofing at the kennel and at the apartments). The City failed in its duty to protect residents from noise and to protect a local business from increased development.

Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 16, 2019 at 10:47 am

People contemplating renting or buying near businesses, especially shopping centers, gas stations, large grocery stores, motels, and churches are often advised by their real estate agents to check out in advance what might disturb them as neighbors.

Safeway & other large supermarkets usually get deliveries from semi-trucks very late at night & in the wee hours. People worried about whether a motel becomes party central on weekend nights are advised to get go check it out around midnight. Churches often produce severe traffic & parking problems for local residents during service hours. There are many immediately local examples.

It's unfortunate that some tenants were unaware of the neighboring kennel. They might have opted to live elsewhere.

Posted by Lynne Bramlett
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Lynne Bramlett is a registered user.

I first went out to Haven Avenue before the new apartments were built as I wanted to see their early development. At that visit, I did not see a dog kennel. So I was surprised to learn that there was one after hearing some residents speak about the dog barking problem at a City Council meeting.

The recent Almanac article, combined with my being in the area (to attend a Belle Haven Library event) promoted me to try to find the kennel.

I thought I would easily find the kennel, so went without an address. Long story short, I didn't see it! So I slowly drove up and down Haven Avenue several times to no avail. I pulled into the apartments to see if that would help, but it didn't. Finally, I noticed the kennel on my last attempt before looking up the address! As one comes from the Bayfront Expressway, crossing Marsh Road, the kennels are in a small curved part of the road. The kennel sign was small and mostly I just saw a driveway that went into a lot.

In other words, a minimal street presence on a portion of the road where drivers are likely concentrating on the road. The kennel is very easy to miss! So I'm not surprised that the prospective apartment residents did not realize that one existed nearby and so did not ask about dog barking. When I visited Saturday, I did not hear any dogs either.

The whole situation is most unfortunate for the kennel and the apartment residents.

Posted by Marvin
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 17, 2019 at 12:45 pm

"Muenzer contrasted the problem of the dog kennel and the next-door apartments to another noise-related neighborhood tension playing out elsewhere in the city. In the Willows neighborhood, BootUp World a tech company incubator at 68 Willow Road that also hosts parties and events for tech founders to mingle with venture capitalists has attracted fierce opposition from neighbors, who say the business violates the city's noise ordinance with its late-night raucous parties.

Unlike BootUp World, which has not received permission to host such events and is in the process of applying for a new use permit, on Haven Avenue, both the apartment complex and the dog kennel are entitled to be there under city zoning laws, Muenzer said."

First, BootUp is not in the Willows but in Linfield Oaks, adjacent to Palo Alto's downtown north. The difference between the situations is not that Tyson has a permit and BootUp does not! Rather, BootUp is trying to get permission to foist noisy and disruptive events on two established and otherwise quiet neighborhoods. It's the opposite of what has happened with the kennels and the apartments, which were built on Haven because it was one of the few locations that didn't raise objections from existing residents.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 17, 2019 at 4:45 pm

One thing to remember is the BootUp came long after the houses and the residents of those houses. They, and the noise they have generated, are recent addition to the neighborhood. So this is not at all like the Apartment and Kennel issue.

I am afraid that I do believe some of the responsibility falls to the tenants of the apartment building. The ones complaining about the noise failed to do due diligence. First to look on Google Maps at the surrounding area and what businesses were nearby and second to spend a little time in the area before renting which would have let them hear the noise. In the Article it states that Comstock "she finds herself and her family kept up at night, subject to incessant barking..." and another resident told the council that ""It's extremely uncomfortable to function," Sargis told the council, adding that the barking takes place 24/7". That tells me that it should have been easy to identify the issue with even a short visit.

The kennel is out there because 50 years ago there was nothing there. No one was bothered by the dogs of any other noise. Now that has changed but it is hardly the Kennels fault. The City, maybe they bear some responsibility for approving apartments there, but the real responsibility goes to the developer for not addressing the issue when building the apartments and the tenants for not doing due diligence before moving in (Buyer/Renter beware). If anyone should be on the hook now to fix the problem is should only be the apartment complex, not the kennel or the city.

Posted by Marvin
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 18, 2019 at 9:35 am

Yesterday evening I had to stop by the Menlo-Atherton storage facility which is adjacent to the kennels and also owned by the Tyson Family. Standing right outside the kennels, I could hear some noise, but it wasn't excessive or disturbing. Of course, I'm not having to hear it all day and night.

The apartment buildings come right up to the property lines. I assume they were built in compliance with zoned setbacks, but they tower over the Tyson properties. I don't hear the Tysons complaining about that, although they could!

I understand the tenants' complaints as they are paying premium rents. The owners, not the city, and certainly not the Tysons, need to remedy the sound problem.

Posted by Tyson's customer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Jul 18, 2019 at 4:09 pm

Regarding due diligence of dwellers, I take issue with: "A picnic in our cars to monitor noise at a residential community? Really?"

Yes, even in Portola Valley, before we bought our house somewhat close to a sometime busy street, we sat outside in the backyard to ascertain the level of noise. Then, based on that we installed the appropriate windows before moving in.

Also, I am personally concerned about any negative impact on Tyson's business and hence service it provides me (and presumably the greater community), caused by the incorrect information (e.g., references to 24/7 barking, "These dogs clearly are not being taken care of." "The barking at all hours leads me to believe that the dogs are not paid attention to and rarely, if ever, get to leave their cage. Do you really want your dogs locked in a cage their entire stay? Cruel.") about Tyson's that has been posted by the Haven St. renters and others on Tyson's Facebook page and on Google reviews, where these neighbors don't actually use the Tyson's facilities.

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