Police Department, Department Guide
Bothersome barking is a common problem in Longmont. There are solutions and recommendations for both the dog owners and for the neighbors at their wits end.
It is unlawful for any person owning, possessing or keeping custodial or supervisory authority or control over any animal, to permit such animal to habitually squeal, snort, grunt, bark, howl, yelp, squawk, screech, caterwaul, wail, crow or make any other animal sound in such manner as to significantly disrupt the peace and quiet of the neighborhood, or in such manner as to materially and persistently disturb the peace of another in the neighborhood under conditions that would disturb a person of reasonable and ordinary sensibilities. Such animals are declared to be a public nuisance.
HOW TO REPORT PROBLEM BARKING
Animal Control recommends talking face to face with the dog's owner as a first step, if possible. If this is unsuccessful, or you are not comfortable talking with the dog owner you may call (303)651-8500 and report the complaint. Animal Control can verbally or in writing, warn the dog owner if it is an anonymous complaint. A warning notice can be posted if there is a complainant that is willing to leave their name and phone number, or a summons can be issued with appropriate evidence.
For Animal Control to issue a summons, there needs to be at least one warning on record for this offense for the offending dog owner and have two separate households in the area willing to witness. A video, or audio tape of the offense can also be provided as evidence if there is a single witness. Witnesses must be willing to appear in court if necessary.
To report a complaint, Animal Control needs the exact address of the barking dog. We need a description of the dog(s), if possible and the most recent date and duration of time that you were disturbed. We also need you to describe how you know the barking is coming from the address you have identified, ie you can see the dogs barking from your window, you have followed the barking to the source, etc.
- Mediation. If you have a dog barking problem in your neighborhood, City of Longmont Mediation Services may be an option. Mediation Services collaborates with government agencies in serving the citizens of Longmont by providing effective mediation, communication, and negotiation processes, using qualified, professional volunteers, in order to foster harmony through conflict resolution services. Contact the City of Longmont, Community and Neighborhood Services at (303)651-8444.
IF YOUR DOG IS THE "PROBLEM BARKER"
If you have received a complaint about your dog, it is important to correct the problem so that your neighbors do not take legal action, or take their frustrations out on your dog. Remember, being proactive and solving the problem at hand will help you to avoid legal action, and will promote good relations with your neighbors.
Solutions to the Problem
The following are some suggestions that may help you solve a barking dog problem. These suggestions may not work on hyperactive or vocal dogs. You may need to seek professional training for your pet. There are numerous local obedience classes which you can choose from.
- Bring your dog in the house when you leave. Many dogs bark continually once you are gone. If you do not want your dog to have the run of the house, you may wish to contain the dog in a certain area, i.e. a basement or laundry room.
- Put your dog in the garage. Many people choose to do this if they have a large dog. Be certain to provide old blankets, rugs or carpet for your pet to lay on. A cold, hard cement floor is far from comfortable.
- No matter where you decide to keep your pet, be certain there is clean water and shelter available at all times. Many dogs will bark and whine if they are thirsty or cold.
- When your dog starts to bark, it is the dog owner's responsibility to find out what is causing the problem. Do not ignore the barking no matter what time it may be.
Why Some Dogs Bark, and Some Suggestions
- Boredom: some dogs will bark just because they are bored. Supply your pet with chew toys or beef bones. Give him a ball, a stuffed toy or something that will occupy him while you are away.
- Loneliness: many dogs bark because they are lonely and want some company. By barking, the dog has gotten your attention, and whether you punish him or not, he has attained his goal. Therefore, he may continue to bark just so he can see you. This is a bad situation for both you and the dog.
- Restrictions on Freedom: a dog who is chained continuously in a small area will tend to become aggressive. He will soon bark at the slightest sound or movement, such as leaves, moving cars, or the wind. Be aware that the dog is barking to relieve his tension due to being confined and lonely; a cruel situation for any animal to be in.
- Protective of Territory: this is very natural for any type of dog, yet consistent and habitual barking is a sign of an unruly dog. It is important to teach your dog to bark enough to alert you and then to respond to you and sit quietly. This way the dog feels he is protecting his property while the owner is still in control of his behavior.
The best thing you can do to correct his problem is work on training the dog. For specific directions, contact a qualified obedience instructor. Spend time with your dog and include him in your daily activities. Remember, you are his only means of exercise and love.
Mechanical and Surgical Solutions
Anti-bark collars, either electronic or sonic, as well as fence-mounted anti-bark devices, are available through local pet stores and pet product distributors. Veterinarians can "debark" a dog surgically by cutting the vocal cords. Talk with your vet about what method may be more appropriate for your pet. Both methods are more effective when accompanied by consistent training. If you are too busy to spend time with your dog everyday, you are probably too busy to own a dog.
To contact the Longmont Police Department Animal Control call 303 - 651 - 8500. For information only regarding animal related issues you may email Sgt. Dave Moore.