21 Aug 2014
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Ask A Cop: Can I Call the Police on a Barking Dog?

Have a question for the Sheriff's Office? Let us know.

Ask A Cop: Can I Call the Police on a Barking Dog?

Is there anything you have ever wanted to know from the police department? Well, this is your chance to ask. 

Whether you have a question about certain laws and how they might affect you, your family or friends or how to stay safe in certain situations, we want you to ask them. Every week we will run one question and answer. To submit a question, email Shannon.burkey@patch.com.

Question:

When can a person call the cops on a neighbor's barking dog?

Answer:

We don’t go out on barking dogs at all. It’s a nuisance complaint so we are not going to respond in person. If there is something else going on, like the person can see the dog and it doesn’t have food and water or it is tangled, that would be different. That would be a neglect call. But if it’s simply barking, we won’t respond in person.

In a situation like this, what we do is direct people to our website, www.scanimalshelter.org, and that explains everything they can do. There is basically a lot of information that explains how the barking process works. They can file a complaint online. When they fill out an online complaint Animal Services sends out a notice that there is a complaint. The dog owner then has 30 days to abate the nuisance. If the 30 days has passed, and there is still a problem, Animal Services will send a second notice to the animal owner that gives them an additional 15 days to abate the nuisance. If after the end of the 15-day period the noise is still a problem, you and other households that have kept similar logs can cite the animal owner. County guidelines for public nuisance complaints state that there must be a minimum of two complaints from separate households.

If someone did actually call the police, the police will usually refer them back to us. As a general rule, I don’t think people should be calling the police about a barking dog. Honestly, most of the barking issues are not an ongoing problem. It’s usually an issue where someone went out of town for the weekend and the dog was left, or its routine has been disrupted in some way.

Honestly the best way to solve a barking dog problem is to communicate with your neighbor. If that doesn’t help then maybe try going to some sort of mediation. We really recommend that people try and communicate.

~Lisa Holland, Field Services Dispatcher, Santa Cruz County Animal Services

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