Featured News 2013 Barking Dogs: A Neighbor Nuisance

Barking Dogs: A Neighbor Nuisance

Everyone has had a difficult neighbor at some time in their life. Oftentimes, those neighbors can become a point of tension and can make life uncomfortable, especially if they are a nuisance. There are some laws that make it illegal for neighbors to push the envelope when it comes to obnoxious neighbors. One of the most common difficulties with neighbors is barking dogs. For families living in relatively quiet American neighborhoods, a dog that constantly barks can become incredibly irritating. You may have tried to ask your neighbor’s to quiet their dog at night, but to no avail. If you have not been able to work anything out with your neighbors and the problem persists, then you may want to explore your legal rights.

Once you understand what laws are in place to help you, you may be able to better approach your neighbors or contact the animal authorities about the situation. You may also be able to talk to the police about the issue or take it to a small claims court. A real estate lawyer may also be able to help you with this situation. In some jurisdictions, there are laws that cover the issue of barking dogs. In Massachusetts, neighbors have the right to make a formal complaint to the town’s city council about any dog nuisance that have to do with excessive barking. The city council will evaluate the hearing and take whatever order is necessary in order to stop the dog from barking In some situations, this may even result in ordering an owner to get rid of the dog if the problem cannot be solved using other methods.

In some situations, the city board may confront the neighbor and ask him or her to keep the dog in house, purchase a corrective collar for the dog, train the dog not to bark, or take pains to avoid letting the dog outside while everyone else is sleeping. In Oregon, there are laws which declare that any dog that disturbs someone with frequent or prolonged noise is considered a public nuisance. This means that the irritated party has the right to complain to the city board or the local law enforcement, and the county can investigate those complaints and arrive at a solution.

As well, there are some jurisdictions which declare that keeping a dog who is barking is a nuisance that can be protected as a minor criminal offense. A Pennsylvania judge sentenced a woman to 10 days in jail when her five dogs continued to bark in a way that was “torturous” to her neighbors. In this case, the judge said that he would dismiss the 10 day jail sentence and the $300 fine that she had to pay if she would simply find homes for three of the five dogs. The woman refused to do so, and suffered the punishments instead.

In counties where there is not a law that is aimed specifically at barking dogs, there may be a law that declares that it is illegal to be obnoxious or inconvenient to neighbors. This can include situations with a dog. Local laws may prohibit loud noise after 10 p.m. and any “unreasonable” noise at late hours of the night. As well, some people may be arrested for disturbing the peace if they allow a dog to bark uncontrollably in a way that irritates neighbors. In Tennessee, a judge once imposed a $6,200 fine on a man whose dogs disturbed his neighbors. This owner owned 15 dogs. He said that he was willing to pay the fine and did not want to get rid of his animals, but the courts hope that the punishment will allow him to be more mindful of others. You can talk to a local real estate lawyer if you want more information about the barking dog statutes in your state and want to litigate against a difficult neighbor.

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