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Supervisors put teeth in barking dog ordinance

November 22nd, 2006, 08:10 PM

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Supervisors put teeth in barking dog ordinance
Stiff fines, officer visits part of new ordinance.


The Orange County Register

SANTA ANA The Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a plan today that will stiffen fines and add officer visits to the county's barking dog law.

Voting 5-0, supervisors sided with residents who complained that the current process doesn't work and instead protects dog owners who allow their pets to chronically bark, ruining a neighborhood's peace and quiet.

Supervisor Bill Campbell backed off his plan to lessen the fines which could range from $250 and escalate to $806. Supervisor Lou Correa called the proposal "workable, practical and cost-effective."

"Are we here to punish, to fine an individual? I like to think of our role as more accommodating to get the neighbors to live peacefully," Correa said.

Under the plan, the ordinance will change the offense from a criminal violation to a civil fine. A first offense is $250 and, if the dog owner doesn't comply, can be raised to $403. If the fine is not paid within 15 days, it's doubled.

The new proposal also calls for Animal Care Services to send an officer to visit with the dog owner after the first complaint is made. The officer will talk to the owner about how the dog is cared for, offer training, talk about ways to stop the incessant barking, and inform the owner about the complaint process.

If after 10 days the barking has not ceased to the satisfaction of the reporting party, a second complaint will be filed with Animal Care Services. Ultimately, the dispute could be resolved at an administrative hearing.

Joe Milazzo of Anaheim begged the supervisors to keep the fines expensive, so offending dog owners will pay attention.

"Please, please don't water it down," he said. "Please don't worry about the little old lady who can't pay the fine."

But Marie Amalung, whose elderly father is involved in a barking dog dispute in Stanton, urged the supervisors to make the new ordinance fair to dog owners, too. Sometimes a nasty neighbor can be ultrasensitive to a small amount of barking and become harassing, she said.

"Then the neighbor becomes the nuisance, not the dog," she said. "In reality, it's not a dog issue, it's a people issue."

The new ordinance, which covers unincorporated parts of the county, won't be operating for at least 120 days, said Jennifer Phillips, director of Animal Care Services. The 19 cities who contract with the county for services may also adopt the plan, if the local city council approves it.

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November 22nd, 2006, 08:13 PM
so okay... what proof does the neighbor have to provide to show that your dog actually IS barking loudly and incessantly, becoming a nuisance? are two or three barks here and there considered a nuisance? does the ACO take the person's word as is? will certain breeds be targeted? this is so shady... i'm sure glad I don't live there :pawprint:

December 7th, 2006, 08:32 PM
It depends on the wording of the counties bylaws. in my neighbourhood barking does not have to be lound or incessant, it simply has to be disturbing the peasce and enjoyment of the neighbour, the time of day makes no difference, and the reason I supervise all outings in the yard and use an air conditioner from spring to fall rather than leaving windows open, put blinds on the windows so the dogs are not barking at things they see outside, so I am not dealing with nuisance neighbour complaints even though they do not care about my peace and enjoyment by running power tools when I am trying to sleep(I work midnight shift) which the county considers acceptable noise :frustrated:

December 11th, 2006, 07:36 PM
in hamilton

animal control told me that the complaintant has to physically see the dog in the house i'm safe.....outside it's his word against now i log all the times and supervise all yard activites......the grinch that lives next to me hangs over the fence and growls at the dogs....just to get them barking.....i got a pic of him and called the police and filed a complaint of harassment....never laid charges but its on record now.