While an occasional bark must be expected from your neighbor's dog, because dogs communicate by barking just as people communicate by talking, some dogs bark excessively. Excessive barking can result from boredom or loneliness due to separation anxiety. This type of nuisance barking can be unpleasant to hear, especially for prolonged periods of time during the day and especially at night. If your neighbor's dog barking disturbs you, there are several things you can try to remedy the situation.
Speak with your neighbor about his dog's excessive or loud barking. He may not be aware that the dog barks when he is not present, which is common in dogs with separation anxiety. If you aren't comfortable speaking to your neighbor in person, write a polite, non-confrontational note to him informing him of his dog's barking.
Notify your homeowners association, apartment manager or landlord about the constant barking. Inform the person you speak to of the neighbor's address, the times of the barking and the duration of the barking. Ask that she contact the neighbor and instruct him to take steps to stop his dog from barking.
Some HOAs and rental communities have websites where you can simply fill out a complaint form online. This usually results in a letter being sent to the owner of the dog telling him to stop his dog's constant barking.
Contact your local law enforcement agency or animal control office to file a noise complaint about your neighbor's dog. Fill out a complaint form, usually found online, with the name and address of the neighbor, his breed of dog, and times and durations of the barking. You will also need to fill in your contact information. The neighbor will be contacted by the authorities to encourage him to quiet his dog, usually by mail; your information may or may not be divulged, depending on the laws of your area.
Dog barking is governed by different laws, some of which specify that barking must be controlled at certain times of the night or for extended periods of time, such as 30 minutes of barking in a 3-hour time period, according to the Los Angeles Times. In some municipalities you will have to go to your city hall to file a complaint in person.
File a second or third complaint with animal control or local law enforcement to have the dog declared a "public nuisance" or indicate that she and her owner are in violation of noise laws. Two or more complaints usually result in the neighbor being required to come to court and have the dog declared a public nuisance. You will be required to come to court to prove the case and will need a record of the dog's barking. This record usually consists of a written log of the dog's barking, along with video or audio recordings of the barking. Most municipalities require corroboration from two, or possibly more, of your other neighbors.
Depending on local ordinances, barking dog complaints may be governed under either nuisance or noise laws. There is usually a waiting period required between filing separate complaints about barking dogs.
Set up an ultrasonic barking deterrent device in your backyard to stop a neighbor's dog from barking if she is left outside and unattended. These devices emit a loud, high-pitched tone when the dog barks within range of the device, discouraging the dog from barking. The tone can only be heard by a dog, not people. Ultrasonic devices usually have a range of between 25 and 50 feet; some are designed to look like birdhouses you can hang on a tree.
Contact your local animal services or law enforcement if you believe a dog is barking due to animal cruelty or neglect. Describe the situation to the agency and ask that someone investigate the matter. For example, a dog that is tied up outside for several hours at a time may be considered a victim of animal cruelty in some states.
Avoid angry or violent confrontations with your neighbor over his dog's barking. Never harm or attempt to harm your neighbor's dog to stop the barking; this is animal cruelty and may result in criminal charges against you.
If your neighbor's dog is declared a public nuisance or in violation of noise laws in court, the owner may face a fine or jail time, or even have his dog seized by authorities.
Have a lawyer draw up a letter to get the attention of your HOA, landlord or local authorities if they seem reluctant to deal with your complaint. If renting, many leases contain noise ordinances that can be pointed out to a landlord or even result in your neighbor being evicted.
In certain cases, you may be able to take your neighbor to court to sue for damages related to the dog's excessive barking.
Some cities may offer mediation as an option to deal with your neighbor if he does nothing to stop his dog's barking.
If you have a good relationship with your neighbor, give them tips on controlling his dog's barking, such as providing her with interactive toys or the use of a citronella collar that sprays a harmless burst of the essential oil when the dog barks. Recommend the neighbor take his dog to a veterinarian, as excessive barking can sometimes indicate a medical issue.
An Item You Will Need
- Ultrasonic barking deterrent device
- PetPlace.com: When Barking Is a Problem
- The New York Times: Barking Dogs and Other Threats to Backyard Diplomacy
- United Kingdom Directgov: Dealing With a Noise Nuisance
- ToyBreeds.com: How to Stop Your Neighbor's Dog from Barking
- City of Phoenix: Barking Dog Information Center
- Los Angeles Times: Excessive Dog Barking Will Cost You in L.A.
- County of Fairfax Virginia: Section 108-5-2 -- Loud and Unnecessary Noise, Specific Prohibitions
- County of Santa Barbara Public Health Department: Dog Noise Complaint Process
- dog image by Andrii IURLOV from Fotolia.com