Is It Illegal for Your Dog to Bark?

by Tom Ryan
A dog whose barking irritates the neighbors may be breaking the law.

A dog whose barking irritates the neighbors may be breaking the law.

David De Lossy/Valueline/Getty Images

Barking is a natural form of communication for a dog, but doing it too much or at the wrong time of day or night may make him a lawbreaker in some municipalities. Laws vary, but in many residential areas and elsewhere, your dog's barking may constitute a nuisance or disturbing the peace. Repeat violations could land you in front of a judge.

Area-Specific Laws

Check with your city's animal control office for information about barking dog ordinances. While "normal" dog barking isn't illegal, the definition of "normal" varies from area to area; municipal zoning and residence type -- single-family dwelling, apartment, estate -- may make a difference between where barking's regulated and where it's not. Generally, your dog has to consistently bark and be audible from a neighboring residence for a certain length of time and at certain times of day, such as nighttime hours, before it is considered an illegal nuisance. After that point, you may be visited by a police officer or animal control officer. Violations can result in tickets or even court appearances, so don't take a nuisance violation lightly -- find out what your area's laws are and abide by them.

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Valueline/Getty Images

About the Author

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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