How to Call Animal Control on Your Neighbor’s Dog

You can call animal control on your neighbor’s dog if it is barking excessively.

In some areas, they will also act for:

  • The dog not having the necessary vaccinations
  • Being a type of animal that is not allowed
  • Having too many animals in a household
  • How it behaves when outside, and so on

Many people think that a barking dog is no big deal. However, when you’re the one who has to hear it while you’re trying to sleep, it can definitely be a real problem. This might lead you to wonder, can you call Animal Control on your neighbor’s dog?

You probably don’t want to cause any animosity between you and your neighbor. This is understandable; after all, you have to live around this person. However, it doesn’t make sense that you need to continue to listen to barking at all hours of the day.


You Can Call Animal Control on Your Neighbor’s Dog

Technically, you can call Animal Control or the police at any time. However, you shouldn’t abuse this privilege. You should only use it as a last resort. There are a few things that you should try before making this phone call.


Decide How Bad the Barking Really Is

Before you take any measures at all, you should think to yourself about whether the barking is really an unbearable nuisance. When you live in a house that’s right next to someone else’s, it’s inevitable that you’re going to hear some noise. You’ll probably hear people talking in the street at random times, for example.

If your neighbor has a dog, you’re probably going to hear some barking on and off no matter what. If you hear a little bit of barking randomly throughout the day, it’s probably not enough to warrant a call to Animal Control. If it’s incessant and is keeping you from being able to concentrate on anything and waking you up at night, that’s a different story.


Familiarize Yourself with the Law

Different locations have different laws when it comes to barking dogs. It’s important that you know the law that applies in your area. This way, you can figure out the right course of action to take.

In some places, your call to the authorities could result in your neighbor receiving a hefty fine or even having  dog taken away. Most people would not want this to happen, so you should be aware of the worst possible consequence before you call them.

Local ordinances or state laws may be able to assist you. There are certain regulations that are imposed on pet owners that involve the following:

  • Maximum number of animals per household
  • Types of animals that are allowed in a household
  • Length and frequency of barking sessions
  • Etiquette-related requirements when taking a pet outside, such as cleaning up after the pet and leash requirements
  • Vaccination requirements

If your neighbor violates any of these laws, you could have a real case when you call Animal Control. However, as we already said, this should be a last resort.


Talk to Your Neighbor

In almost any similar situation, you should address the person responsible for the problematic behavior before turning to the authorities. It’s possible that your neighbor has gotten so used to the sound of his dog barking that they aren’t even aware that it could be bothering you.

If possible, take a written copy of the relevant laws in your area, and politely approach your neighbor. Tell him about how the barking is affecting you and disturbing your ability to sleep, get work done, et cetera.

Hopefully, your neighbor will be receptive and apologetic once you openly address your concerns. You can make suggestions as to how to reduce the amount of barking that you have to hear, such as providing more physical stimulation for the dog or having him spend more time inside the house.

Unfortunately, there’s always a chance that your neighbor isn’t going to take it well. If this is the case, you might have to tell him that if the incessant barking doesn’t stop, you might have no choice but to call Animal Control. This will give them a chance to see how serious you really are about the situation and take the appropriate actions before Animal Control is involved.


What You Can Expect to Happen If You Call Animal Control

If Animal Control believes that you have a legitimate complaint, they might contact the owner of the dog with a warning. If the barking doesn’t stop, your neighbor might also get a citation. He will then have the option to either pay it or challenge it in a courtroom.

However, there are some situations where reports to Animal Control won’t solve the problem. In this case, you might want to consider filing a nuisance lawsuit against your neighbor.

If you have other neighbors who may also be disturbed by the dog’s barking, you might want to ask if they would be willing to participate as well.


Potential Problems with Calling Animal Control

When you call the Animal Control Department, sometimes persistence is necessary. When you first talk to someone, make sure to take down the name of that person. This way, you’ll have a chance of getting to talk to the same person again the next time you call and won’t have to explain the entire problem again.

Also, ask the person about the standard procedures of the department. You should know what the department typically does in this situation, and the time frame that you are looking at.

It may be possible that with a barking dog, the department would need to receive a certain number of complaints before it can do anything. If this is true, it might be important for you to discuss the issue with other neighbors to see if they have also found the barking dog to be disruptive. If they agree with you, it would be good to have them on your side as well.

In some cities, there are special programs set up specifically for dog complaints. In these situations, typically there is a simple procedure that will involve a quick response on the part of Animal Control. In many of these cases, the quick response is largely because there is a specific department or city official who takes responsibility for the problem; this will usually be the public safety, health, or police department.

When the system is streamlined like this, it’s more likely that the problem will be handled in a straightforward manner, as opposed to being shuffled between several different people and never truly addressed.

The other good thing about a straightforward dog complaint program in an area is that everyone has a way of knowing what to expect.

If there is a straightforward set of warnings and sanctions for dog behavior:

  1. Owners are more likely to prevent things such as incessant barking from becoming problems in the first place.
  2. Neighbors of the barking dog, such as yourself, will have a better idea of how you should go about addressing problems like this before they get out of hand. This is most effective when the rules are published and easily available to everyone.


Why Dogs Bark Excessively

It’s easy to be annoyed when your neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking. However, it’s very unlikely that the dog is doing it just to annoy you.

When a dog barks, he’s trying to communicate a message, whether it’s to his owner, other dogs, or whoever else is in the area. There are many causes that can lead to incessant barking in dogs. These include some of the following:

  • Protection of his territory. When an unfamiliar person or animal enters what the dog perceives to be his territory, they will often start barking. The dogwill  be very alert and sometimes even aggressive in this case.
  • Fear or alarm. Sometimes, a dog will bark at any sight or sound that scares or startles it. This is similar to a human gasping or screaming at a startling trigger.
  • Boredom and loneliness. When a dog is left alone for long periods of time, they can become bored due to the lack of physical and mental stimulation. Sometimes, the dog will  also be lonely, causing them to bark as an expression of its sadness.
  • Playfulness and greeting new friends. Many dogs will bark when they see people or other animals, or when they think it’s playtime. In these cases, you can tell they are happy, and their tails will often be wagging. They may also be jumping around.
  • Attention seeking. Many dogs will bark to get their owners’ attention. When they want something, such as food, play, or the ability to go outside, they might bark to express this desire.
  • Anxiety. Often, dogs bark as a result of separation anxiety when you leave them alone. There are also dogs who bark compulsively, which could be linked to anxiety as well.

It’s always good to remember that the dog is going through his own struggle if they’re barking excessively. Keep this in mind before you make the decision to call Animal Control, especially if you know that a potential consequence is the dog being removed from a happy home.


So Can You Call Animal Control on a Neighbor’s Dog?

You can call Animal Control if a neighbor’s dog is barking or causing a disturbance in some other way. However, it’s always a good idea to talk to your neighbor first if this is possible. Calling Animal Control without giving your neighbor a chance to resolve the problem could lead to hostility between you and your neighbor. You should only call Animal Control if your neighbor refuses to comply with reasonable requests.

Remember that the dog isn’t intentionally making your life difficult. The dog’s welfare is very important to keep in mind, when you take an action such as calling Animal Control.

Even if your neighbor is being inconsiderate and selfish, the dog is truly innocent in this whole scenario. This is why it’s important to try to use the most peaceful methods possible to create a solution that will work for everyone, including the dog.


Writer: Nilani Thiyagarajah

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