The Jefferson County Animal Control and Licensing Regulation prohibits a dog from disturbing the peace of any other person by loud, habitual and persistent barking, howling, yelping, whining, whether the dog is on or off the dog owner's premises. Violation of this provision could result in a penalty assessment which ranges from $50 to $1,000 and/or a court appearance.
How to Report Problem Barking
The Animal Control Section recommends talking face to face with the dog's owner as a the first step. If this is unsuccessful, you may call 303-271-5070 (extension 0) and file a formal complaint. Depending on what prior contacts we have with the dog owner, we can either mail a letter, post an official warning notice, or have you sign a complaint so we can issue a summons and assess a fine. For us to issue a summons, we must have two signed complaints from separate households in the area.
To file a complaint we need your name, address and phone number and the address of the owner of the barking dog. We need a description of the dog(s) and the most recent date and duration of time that you were disturbed. We also need you to describe how you know the barking is coming from the address you have identified, i.e. you can see the dogs barking from your window, you have followed the barking to the source, etc.
Animal Control does not take action on anonymous complaints. Its regulation requires that the caller provide his/her name, address, an address for the barking dog, a description of the barking dog(s), and the most recent date and duration of time that the barking created a disturbance. Depending on any prior contact with the dog owner, Animal Control may mail a letter, post an official warning notice, or have two neighbors sign a complaint and issue the dog owner a ticket.
If you have a dog barking problem in your neighborhood, Mediation Services (through Jefferson County Justice Services) may be an option. Mediation Services collaborates with government agencies in serving the citizens of Jefferson County by providing effective mediation, communication, and negotiation processes, using qualified, professional volunteers, in order to foster harmony through conflict resolution services. For more information click here.
If Your Dog is the "Problem Barker"
If you have received a complaint about your dog, it is important to correct the problem so that your neighbors do not take legal action, or take their frustrations out on your dog. Remember, being proactive and solving the problem at hand will help you to avoid legal action, and will promote good relations with your neighbors.
Solutions to the Problem
The following are some suggestions that may help you solve a barking dog problem. These suggestions may not work on hyperactive or vocal dogs. You may need to seek professional training for your pet. There are numerous local obedience classes which you can choose from.
- Bring your dog in the house when you leave. Many dogs bark continually once you are gone. If you do not want your dog to have the run of the house, you may wish to contain the dog in a certain area, i.e., a basement or laundry room.
- Put your dog in the garage. Many people choose to do this if they have a large dog. Be certain to provide old blankets, rugs, or carpet for your pet to lay on. A cold, hard cement floor is far from comfortable.
- No matter where you decide to keep your pet, be certain there is clean water and shelter available at all times. Many dogs will bark and whine if they are thirsty or cold.
- When your dog starts to bark, it is the dog owner's responsibility to find out what is causing the problem. The dog should not be allowed to bark at any activity unless it takes place on the dog owner's property. Do not ignore the barking no matter what time it may be.
Why Some Dogs Bark, and Some Suggestions
- Boredom: Some dogs will bark just because they are bored. Supply your pet with chew toys or beef bones. Give him a ball, stuffed toy or something that will occupy him while you are away.
- Loneliness: Many dogs bark because they are lonely and want some company. By barking, the dog has gotten your attention, and whether you punish him or not, he has attained his goal. Therefore, he may continue to bark just so he can see you. This is a bad situation for both you and the dog.
- Restrictions on Freedom: A dog who is chained continuously in a small area will tend to become aggressive. He will soon bark at the slightest sound or movement, such as leaves, moving cars, or the wind. Be aware that the dog is barking to relieve his tension due to being confined and lonely; a cruel situation for any animal to be in.
- Protective of Territory: This is very natural for any type of dog, yet consistent and habitual barking is a sign of an unruly dog. It is important to teach your dog to bark enough to alert you and then to respond to you and sit quietly. This way the dog feels he is protecting his property while the owner is still in control of his behavior.
The best thing you can do to correct this problem is work on training the dog. For specific directions, contact a qualified obedience instructor. Spend time with your dog and include him in your daily activities. Remember, you are his only means of exercise and love.
Mechanical and Surgical Solutions
Anti-bark collars, either electronic or sonic, as well as fence-mounted anti-bark devices, are available through local pet store and pet product distributors. Veterinarians can "debark" a dog surgically by cutting the vocal cords. Talk with your veterinarian about what method may be more appropriate for your pet. Both methods are more effective when accompanied by consistent training. If you are too busy to spend time with your dog everyday, you are probably too busy to own a dog. Please evaluate your situation and do what is best for your dog.
Aug 7, 2012 02:47 PM