The Animal Control Bylaw #808 states in part that dog owners shall not allow their dog(s) to:
“Bark or howl in a manner so as to disturb any person day or night”
It is generally accepted that in order for barking to be in violation of the bylaw it must disturb the neighborhood and be frequent and persistent. The Town is aware that dogs naturally and rightfully bark to warn someone when they approach their owner's property. This does not necessarily constitute habitual barking.
What to do if a Barking Problem Persists:
If you and your neighbors are plagued with a barking dog problem the first step should be to tactfully approach the dog owner and make them aware of your concern. Many dog owners do not realize that their pet may be causing you an unreasonable discomfort when they are way or when they put the dog out for prolonged periods. Many people in our community work shift work so even disturbances during the day can be quite annoying.
If satisfaction is not achieved by your friendly visit or you choose not to talk directly with your neighbor then it is recommended that you contact the Animal Control Officer and leave a detailed message containing the following information:
• Name, address and phone number
• Address of the barking dog(s)
• Supply a recent barking history
• A description of the dog(s)
• Name of the owner if known
The Animal Control Officer may contact the dog owner either in person, by phone or by written letter to make them aware that a complaint has been made. Complaints are kept confidential. The Officer may ask the complainant to fill out a complaint form for the record. The Officer will take the opportunity to make sure the dog is the correct animal in question and if it is currently licensed. He will also take this opportunity to educate and inform the owner of the situation and offer possible solutions to help rectify the problem.
If this still does not result in compliance then the Officer will direct the complainant to fill in a Dog Barking Log and perhaps find others in the neighborhood willing to do the same. A stern written warning is usually given to the owner at this time and they are advised that barking logs are being kept.
If compliance is not forthcoming the Animal Control Officer will issue a fine. You and your neighbors as complainants may be called upon as witnesses and the barking logs may be entered as evidence in a court of law if the dog owner wishes to dispute the ticket.
A barking log is initiated only after the Animal Control Officer has issued a proper warning and the problem is ongoing with little or no effort being made on behalf of the dog owner to curtail the barking.
The Barking Log is considered admissible evidence and must kept accurately and completed with total honesty and without any embellishment by the complainant filling it out. Please follow the directions carefully.
The Animal Control Officer must give permission and directions to the complainant(s) before logs can be filled out. Logs filled out prior to this permission will not be accepted.
Be sure to document all activity thoroughly. Skimpy documentation will not convince anybody of a chronic barking problem, especially a judge.