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How Long Can a Dog Bark Legally?

Barking dogs is one of the main reasons behind neighbor disputes. It’s surely irritating if your neighbor’s dog continuously barks at night, when your guests arrive, barks at your pets and even at you, and so on. Thus, many countries declared a dog’s barking illegal after a certain period. You can file a complaint if you are facing such an issue. Every state and county has different laws regarding dogs barking. In this article, you will learn about state laws regarding dog barking and the procedure for filing a complaint against dog barking.

Barking Dogs: State and Local Laws

According to an ordinance passed in 2010 in the U.S.A., a dog can bark up to 10 minutes before the neighbor can file a complaint against the owner. This ordinance was revised recently, and according to the revised edition, a dog can only bark for 5 minutes before a neighbor can file a complaint against the dog’s owner.

barking dog

Different states and counties have different rules and regulations for keeping pets. Some rules and laws suggest different actions if your neighbor is disturbed by your pet, especially nuisance dogs.

According to Lincoln, California Municipal Code: “Whenever the chief of animal control receives in writing by three or more persons each having separate residences or regularly employed in the neighborhood, that any dog is a habitual nuisance by reason of its howling, barking or by its actions, potentially vicious or in any manner causing undue annoyance, the animal control officer shall investigate the complaint and if he or she finds such conditions to exist, he or she may issue an order to conform requiring said owner or custodian to abate such conditions within a reasonable length of time.” (Ord. 804B § 2(part), 2006)

Similarly, U.S. Placer County Code Regarding Domestic Animals 6.08.020 Nuisance States: “If the dog has barked or howled for an aggregate period of twenty (20) minutes out of one hour shall be sufficient for conviction. If the first nuisance barking or howling complaint is determined to be provoked by any other animal or nearby pedestrian(s), it may be excluded from the aggregate time if the owner: (1) provides documentation that the provocation exists and cannot be avoided; and (2) takes remedial steps to change the environment of the dog(s) and abate the nuisance within a six-month period from the date of the complaint.”

Massachusetts law also allows the people to file a complaint to the city council against the barking dog. If your neighbor has a dog that is a nuisance because of excessive barking, you have the right to complain about it. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 140, § 157)

Oregon State law declares if a dog disturbs someone with excessive barking, it’s a public nuisance. The county will surely investigate the complaints. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 609.095)

Dog Barking Complaint Procedure

Different states and counties have different procedures for filing a complaint against a barking dog. The process is more or less the same with a few different steps. Here is a general procedure of complaint filing that is usually followed in the U.S.

barking dogs

Step 1: Keep a Record

Keep track of the incidents when your neighbor’s dog barks especially if speaking with your neighbor didn’t resolve the issue. Record the dates and the hours of the barking incidents, how long the noise endured and checks if your neighbor effectively attempts to stop barking. Also, list how often you asked your neighbor to stop and quiet his dog.

Step 2: Contact the Local Animal Control Agency

If talking with your neighbor didn’t work, contact your nearby local animal control agency, police division, or town representative about the barking dog issues. Every state has its own laws and procedures concerning this issue. Contact the office that can advise you, help you, and can work on your complaint. You might need to visit the concerned office and meet the official face to face. You will require filling the complaint through an official form.

Step 3: Document the Written Complain Accurately

You must record the data accurately if you are documenting a written complain. In most cases, you must provide the dog’s description, the owner’s name and address, and your name and address. Cite every incident you kept in your compliant form, giving as much data as possible about everything. After you have documented the objection, the owner of the dog will get a warning letter or a visit from a police station or an animal control officer. The authorized person will talk with your neighbor and ask him to control his dog.

Step 4: Follow Up

If your issue is not being resolved in a specific period, contact the organization you have been working with and demand further activity. Generally, one to two weeks are required to act upon dog barking complaints. You may be expected to submit another compliant form. This will be the reference for the dog’s owner to show up at a court hearing. Depending upon the result of court’s proceeding, the dog’s owner may be asked to pay a fine and keep his dog quiet in the future.

Final Thoughts

Dog barking is considered illegal and a nuisance in the U.S, if the barking period is extended from a set time limit. If your neighbor’s dog barks continuously and is not helping keep his dog quiet, you can file a complaint against him. The concerned authorities will punish him according to the state laws. Anti-barking device may help you control your excessively barking dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can dog barking be a noise complaint?

Yes, especially in the U.S., dog barking is illegal for above 10-20 minutes, depending on the state and county laws. You can file a noise complaint against your neighbors if their dog is continuously barking.

2. What is the fine for a barking dog?

In the U.S., the fine for a barking dog is around $6000, depending upon the state and county laws. The judge decides the exact amount by analyzing the severity of the case. During the first and second warnings, the fine is kept under $1000. But if the owner did nothing to stop the nuisance, the judge will impose a heavy fine.

3. What is the law on barking dogs in the U.K.?

According to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, a barking dog can be a legal noise nuisance, and you can be taken to court if you did nothing to stop your dog from barking. There could be a fine of up to £5,000 that you will have to pay to the complainer.

4. Can animal control take away your dog for barking?

If dog barking becomes a nuisance, your neighbors can file a complaint against you. Depending upon the barking time, loudness and frequency, you can be fined by the concerned authorities. After paying the fine, if your dog still misbehaves and excessively barks, especially at night, and you fail to control your dog, animal control can take away your dog.


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