How much barking is too much? What constitutes a nuisance? Is the neighbor's complaint legitimate or is he hypersensitive? Boards need a basis for separating reasonable complaints from unreasonable ones. To that end, boards should adopt rules regarding nuisance barking.
Nuisance Defined. Definitions can be limited to excessive barking or expanded to include other issues. Following are some examples:
Example #1 Nuisance noise from a dog is defined as barking or whining for more than 5-minutes in any 1-hour period.
Example #2 Excessive barking is barking that is persistent and occurs for an extended period of time or on a repeated basis. When determining if barking is a violation, consideration will be given to the time of day, duration and frequency of barking.
Example #3 No animal shall be allowed to unreasonably annoy residents, to endanger the life or health of other animals or persons, or to substantially interfere with the quiet enjoyment of others. Pet owners shall be deemed in violation if their pets:
- consistently or constantly makes excessive noise;
- cause damage to or destruction of another's property;
- cause unsanitary, dangerous or offensive conditions, including the fouling of the air by offensive odor emanating from excessive excrement; or
- create a pest, parasite or scavenger control problem which is not effectively treated.
Example #4 Animals will be deemed a nuisance that commit acts which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Any dog that chases, runs after, or jumps at vehicles moving on streets and alleys.
- Any dog that attacks, bites or injures a person, or snaps, growls, snarls, jumps upon or otherwise threatens persons without provocation. These acts shall be considered a violation whether or not the dog is confined by fence, chain or leash, or under the voice control of a responsible person.
- Any animal that howls, yelps, whines, or barks in such a manner as to unreasonably disturb any person.
- Any animal that feeds from, turns over, or otherwise disturbs garbage containers.
- Any animal that scratches or digs in flowerbeds or otherwise damages the property of another owner.
- Any dog or cat that goes onto the property of another or onto common areas to attack another animal or fowl.
- Cats or dogs that crawl upon, sleep on, scratch or otherwise soil the property of another.
Enforcement. Once a complaint is made, boards will often send a letter to the pet-owner letting him/her know that neighbors have complained about the barking. If the letter from the board is a warning only, there is no requirement that the board identify the source of the complaint. If the problem continues, the board must hold a hearing with the owner and make a determination that a nuisance exists. Once that is done, penalties can range from fines, to muzzling dogs deemed aggressive, to banishing nuisance animals from the association.
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.