Can I Call Animal Control for a Barking Dog?

by Quentin Coleman
    Dog owners should monitor their pet's behavior when outside and discourage excessive barking.

    Dog owners should monitor their pet's behavior when outside and discourage excessive barking.

    Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Few things sour relationships between neighbors like a dog's incessant barking. Calling animal control is one way to resolve the issue, although it's not the only solution available. While regulations and policies may be enforced on the county or city level, excessive barking is considered noise pollution throughout the country.

    Diplomacy First

    Maintaining harmonious relations with the neighbors is a priority for many homeowners in residential communities. Talking to the dog's owner about the barking problem can resolve the issue quickly and peacefully. In fact, many animal control departments recommend a diplomatic solution rather than calling for legal enforcement. There's a good chance that the dog's owner doesn't realize the dog is barking when he is away, or that the noise is disrupting the community. Discuss your situation with the owner, making it clear how and when the noise bothers you.

    Find the Number

    Locating the proper agency or official to contact can pose a challenge. Communities often develop set procedures for dealing with barking dogs and other pet-related problems, so look up your county or city regulations for more information. Some areas allow residents to contact the police through a nonemergency number if animal control offices are closed at the time of the complaint.

    Making the Call

    Take note of the dog owner's address before contacting animal control, and be prepared to divulge your name, address and phone number as well. It's best to make the call when the dog is actively barking, so that the officials responding to your call can verify your complaint themselves. The agents may wait near the home for up to 10 minutes to check for noise violations. Animal control officers contact the dog's owner or leave a written warning about the incident if they consider the barking to be a nuisance.

    Following Through

    Depending on the policies of your city or county, you may have more work ahead of you after calling animal control. In some jurisdictions, you must must file a formal complaint through the local court system. In other regions, the police or animal control officers handle all of the legal proceedings after receiving your call. Even in these cases, you may be required to submit testimony as a witness before the court can issue a citation or other penalty. Be sure to ask the animal control representative about your responsibilities as the individual lodging the complaint.

    Photo Credits

    • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Quentin Coleman has written for several news publications as well as the University of Delaware's public relations department. He also spent more than 10 years working with a local animal shelter to help nurse kittens, treat sick cats and domesticate feral animals. Coleman graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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