Few things in life are as annoying as having to listen to the constant bark, howl, whine or cry of another person’s dog. The noise from barking can disrupt sleep, lower the quality of your leisure hours, disturb your work, and make being at home not enjoyable. The first reaction of many people faced with a barking dog problem is to call the authorities. Believe it or not, this is not always the best route to resolve the problem. This problem has been looked at nationally and the conclusions reached have been uniformly the same: Barking is a neighborhood problem. Here are a few facts about the owners of barking dogs that may help you deal with what is really a neighborhood problem:
- The owner of a barking dog often doesn’t know the dog is barking. Owners may leave for work with a quiet dog in the back yard and return home to a quiet dog. The dog may only be barking because its owner is gone.
- The dog barking may be a comfort to the owner. Barking may tell the owner the dog is well and the property is protected. The owner may assume it gives the neighbor the same feeling.
- The owner may be desensitized to the barking. People that are around barking dogs all of the time learn to tune out the noise.
- The owner may assume that if it is daylight, everyone must be awake and it is okay to make noise. Owners may not think about people who sleep in the daytime, or that peace and quiet may be desired during normal working hours.
- The owners may assume that because they haven’t had anyone complain about the noise the dog is making, that the barking doesn’t bother anyone.
Owners of barking dogs falling into the above categories are best dealt with as neighbors. Letting an owner know, on a personal level, that the dog’s noise is disrupting your life can be very effective. People that do not first attempt to solve the problem as neighbors often begin long-term neighborhood feuds. Tell the person, very politely, in person, in writing or by phone exactly what the nature of the annoyance is. Communicate things such as “I can’t sleep”; “I can’t hear my television”; “I work nights and sleep days” or “I can’t study because of the noise your dog is making”. Neighborhood communication is a very important part of neighborhood security. Even the act of telling someone his or her dog is bothering you can further communication.
Do not try to silence the animal yourself or wait until you can no longer handle the barking. Tackle the problem early on. Animals are family and disciplining someone else’s family member can result in violence.
If these methods fail then you should call Animal Control at 963-1017. The Deputy may ask you to fill out a Barking Dog Log. This allows the Deputy to determine if the barking is a violation of county ordinance and also gives them solid proof that there is a problem. Simply telling the Deputy that “my neighbor’s dog barks all the time” won’t be sufficient to issue a citation.