JoAnna Lou
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Clarifying Barking Ordinances
Los Angeles city council votes to create a barking limit

Often times, I wake up during the night to the sound of my neighbor’s dog barking. Sometimes it’s accompanied by said neighbor yelling at the dog to be quiet. This almost never works, but it can be self-rewarding in the moment to the person, and unfortunately the dog. I have Shelties, so I know from personal experience!

A neighboring town has a barking limit that they recently put in place (ten minutes during the day and five minutes after 10 p.m.), but my city does not. However, other places are starting to follow suit.

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance amendment that clarifies their guidelines for barking dogs. A violation is now defined as a dog barking continuously for ten minutes or intermittently for 30 minutes in a three-hour period. The plan has to be passed by the mayor before it’s put into action.

Barking ordinances can be good and bad news for pets. If they’re loosely defined, it can make it harder to weed out the legitimate cases. Some dogs may be unfairly targeted by people who don’t like pets or are feeling vengeful towards a neighbor.  

But if the ordinance is well defined, like the proposed amendment in Los Angeles, it can protect well behaved dogs and preserve resources, such as off-leash runs and pet-friendly apartments. What’s nice about Los Angeles’ ordinance is that all complaints will be handled on a case-by-case basis through the hearing process.

I would love it if the ordinance required offenders to meet with a dog trainer or behavior counselor. People may find barking annoying, but we should never forget that dogs bark for a reason.

What do you think about barking ordinances?

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by grilled cheese/flickr.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Anonymous | January 11 2012 |

I have suffered for 5 YEARS in Hawaii County because they are REFUSING to cite barking nuisances...even after they INSIST they do! My neighbor is a nurse who threatened my life for reporting her violations and she was convited for Terroristic threatening and STILL they let her dogs bark without any citations!!!!

I am a RESPONSIBILE pet owner and my step father is a veternarian...we are well aware that there are WAY too many irresponsible pet owners who shouldn't even BE ALLOWED TO OWN A DOG, especially after complaints are not rectified!

When you have police that fail to cite the owners, they are DIRECTLY COMPLICIT in the crime...they also lie that "they never heard it"...another lie to cover for their "Friends"...I have PERSONALLY seen the police corruption and coverups of violations...then they get kickbacks...just as a DA in Stockton did for covering up felonies there!

You cannot BELIEVE how much I have suffered...I have lost my TOTAL LIFE because of Hawaii County's ineptitude and failures by lenient IGNORANT judges to DETER future crimes and violations...the nurse got a $100 fine for threatening my life, and has been able to tirture me through retaliation ever since!

Stricter laws need to be ENFORCED, not just cost the tax payers money to simply PUT THEM ON THE BOOKS!!! Until you get a REAL TASK FORCE to do the job, the cops arent about to deter it...maybe some of them, but some are pretty thick in the head!

Submitted by Anonymous | May 26 2012 |

This article talks about the LA city council adopting an ordinance to allow a neighbors dog to wake you up every night barking and it is not against the law unless he does it for at least 10 minutes....obviously the council members have not had to endure the ignorance of neighboring pet owners allowing their dogs to awake them every night with their howling. NO, LA City Council, it is not your job to protect those destroying the lives of their neighbors.....it is your job to do the opposite, and join with an overwhelming majority of citizens that believe this kind of annoyance in life is not ok, and should be addressed with an enforceable ordinance. More of us pay you to do that, than pay you to protect their howling mongerals.

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