Barking Dog Info
Oconee County Animal Services is here to try and solve your barking dog complaint. We encourage you to work out any barking dog issues with your neighbors. A formal complaint should be filed only after your attempts to resolve the problem have been unsuccessful.
Not all barking is considered nuisance barking. A dog barking at someone coming onto private property where the dog is located such as a service person, a visitor or intruder, or a dog barking because they are being teased or provoked by someone (other than their owner), would not be considered nuisance barking. Complaints about barking happening on private property (within an apartment complex or mobile home park) should be handled by the apartment or park manager.
Nuisance is defined by County Ordinance as:
Nuisance means an animal that: damages the property of another; disturbs trash or other refuse; runs at large frequently or while in heat (estrus) or in a County recreational park; defecates or urinates on the property of another unless same is promptly removed; chases vehicles or threatens, attacks, or interferes with person, other Domestic animal, or livestock on public or private property; or disturbs the peace of any person by loud, persistent, or habitual vocalization.
Section 5-8: Animal Nuisance.
(a) An Owner shall not allow his or her animals to be a Nuisance. In the case of loud, persistent or habitual vocalization, the following standard shall be used: if a person of normal hearing who is inside a residence that is not the location of the source of the noise can: clearly hear the noise, distinguish the noise from the background ambient noise and ascertain and identify the nature and the source of the noise, then the noise is a nuisance between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
(b) A dog in heat (estrus) may not be allowed to roam free. If outdoors, a dog in heat must either be under control of a responsible person or must be confined in a secure enclosure.
(c) A cat in heat may not be allowed to roam free and if outdoors, must be confined in a secure enclosure.
(d) This article shall not apply to noises arising from normal animal behavior or agricultural activities or operations as long as same are in compliance with the Unified Development Code and other County Ordinances.
(e) If any person neglects or refuses to abate a noise in violation of this Article the ASO may impound the animal causing the noise if the ASO determines that such action is necessary to abate the noise. Any such impoundment the animal will be available for the owner to reclaim the next business day during normal business hours.
Before you take any action, be sure the barking is truly a problem:
Keep a log listing the date, time, and duration of when the dog is barking. Is there a pattern? Is it every day when the owner is at work, or does the dog bark all evening once the owner comes home? Is the owner home when the dog is barking or away? The owner might not be aware their dog is barking at all. Are there triggers like the mailman or trash collector, does the dog bark at every little thing, or for long periods for no apparent reason at all? Has the dog just started barking, and if so, has something changed like new construction in the neighborhood or the owner's work schedule? Have you contacted other neighbors to see if the barking bothers them? If the dog is not bothering anyone else then the barking may not actually meet the criteria for being a nuisance.
If after assessing the situation, you feel the barking is truly a nuisance, the first step is to contact the dog's owner. Call, visit or write a letter (posted or mailed) to your neighbor explaining that their dog is barking, and be as detailed as possible using the information from your log. Your neighbor may not even know their dog is barking and quite often this is all that is needed to resolve the issue. Be willing to keep an open dialog with your neighbor to give them feedback on what is or isn't working. It may take time for the dog's owner to correct the problem. Note the day and time you called or visited, or keep a copy of the letter you sent for your records.
If your attempts to resolve the barking dog issue directly with the dog owner have been unsuccessful:
You may file a written complaint online. Oconee County Animal Services does not respond to anonymous or incomplete forms filed.
Complete Barking Complaint Form Online. (You can attach pictures and a log.)
You must be certain on the complaint form that you have identified the correct address and dog(s). Your information is required on this form. If it is not provided, we will be unable to assist you. Be advised that once you have filed this form as a complaint, your name and address could be made known if the matter goes to court.
Once you make a written complaint, Animal Services will make a visit to the dog owner to make them aware of the complaint. The owner will receive tips to reduce the barking and inform them of the consequences for not complying. Often this may be enough to resolve the barking dog issue.
Each act or omission in violation of the County Ordinance shall constitute a separate offense. Each day that such violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate offense.
Before a citation can be issued, you will be required to provide evidence for the complaint. There must be enough information in the log to warrant a citation. You may be required to attend a court hearing if the person that was cited contests the citation. If you do not attend the hearing, the citation will be dismissed in the dog owner’s favor, ending the complaint process.
If you have questions about barking dogs, please contact Oconee County Animal Services at 706-769-3956.