John’s neighbor, Betsy, loved animals. In particular, Betsy loved dogs. Betsy’s dogs barked all day and all night. The noise was terrible. John and Betsy’s townhouses were right next to each other. The noise from the dogs just seemed to come right through the walls into John’s house. John tried talking to Betsy, but she never really took care of the problem for more than a day or two. After many sleepless nights, John decided that he couldn’t take it any more. What can John do?
The regulation of noise from pets is governed by state and local law. The laws vary widely and must be consulted individually for further details. Generally speaking, however, most localities have laws in place that set forth restrictions as to barking dogs. Some examples of local noise law provisions are as follows:
- no loud noises after 11:00 p.m. at night; or
- dogs are not allowed to bark after 6:00 p.m.
A wide range of remedies is available to a property owner who is troubled by a neighbor’s barking dog or dogs. As an initial matter, the parties could try to work the matter out on their own. In that way, the parties could try to reach a workable resolution and still preserve their relationship as neighbors.
A property owner also has the option of reporting a neighbor’s barking dog to the police. The police will intervene in the event a criminal law is being violated as a result of the conduct. A property owner also has the option of contacting animal control authorities.
Also, alternative dispute mechanisms, such as mediation, can help neighbors solve problems. By using mediation, neighbors can work with a neutral third party to resolve their dispute.
Lastly, legal action remains an available remedy. A property owner may prevail in a nuisance action against a neighbor if the property owner can establish that a dog’s barking constitutes an unreasonable interference with the property owner’s use and enjoyment of his or her property.