How To Handle Your Neighbor If Her Dog Won’t Stop Barking
A neighbor with a barking dog is a nightmare. You can’t get any sleep, or have any peace and quiet when your kids play in the backyard. If the dog doesn’t stop, then you are going to have to find some way to stop it.
This is never pleasant. It requires some form of contentious behavior with your neighbor. But there are good ways and bad ways to go about stopping the dog’s barking.
First of all, don’t do anything which puts you in legal jeopardy. Don’t hurt the dog. Don’t threaten to hurt the dog. And don’t begin to harass your neighbor. All of these actions might end up with the cops at your house.
In fact, the less interaction you have with your neighbor, the better. You shouldn’t confront your neighbor about the dog. Most of the time, this is going to lead to hard feelings. The owner might get defensive and could become abusive. Even if the neighbor tries to accommodate you, it is going to create a certain tension that shouldn’t exist among neighbors who might live next to one another for decades.
So try to keep the interaction between you and your neighbor to a minimum. There are ways to do this and still get results. If it has to get ugly later, then you can make that choice in calm and reasonable manner. Most importantly, you can do so in a legal manner.
1. Inform the local Home Owners Association.
Often, the HOA will handle the matter for you, which is good for neighbor relations.
2. If you want to spend the money, put a Super Bark Free device on your property.
When the dog barks, the device “hears” it and responds in kind. It sends out a high-pitched signal that dogs can hear, but people cannot. Basically, the device delivers a shrill sound to the dog’s ears every time it barks.
The dog will take a day or two to realize the connection between its barking and the piercing sound. At that point, the dog should be conditioned not to bark.
If you don’t want to spend the money, which might be $75 or $80, then you are going to have to move on to other options.
3. Write an anonymous note to the dog’s owner.
Be polite. Explain succinctly exactly your complaint about the dog. If you live in a place with similar leases, such as an apartment complex, point out the clauses of their lease covering barking dogs.
Do not make any sort of threats. This note could end up in a small claims court, so choose your words carefully.
Wait a week or two before taking any new actions. This will allow you to gauge whether the dog has quit barking or if the stoppage is temporary in nature.
4. Write a follow up letter
Write a second note, this one discussing the noise laws of your state and local municipality. Call the district attorney’s office and learning the exact laws. Procure a copy of the law and leave it with your second note.
Once again, do not make any threats. Simply inform the owner that you will inform the authorities if they barking continues.
Wait a week or two before taking any other actions. See if the dog’s barking habits change.
5. Maintain a log of when the dog barks.
Note which days it barks, along with what time of day (or night) it barks. Keep a journal of how many hours it barks every day.
If the dog barks when people jog by its house or when a car drives by, note this as well.
Make a recording of the dog’s barking if you really want to be thorough. Basically, you are showing a pattern of behavior that is encroaching on your life. The more thorough the documentation, the better.
6. Bring in the local law enforcement.
File a complaint with the animal control or the local cops. Cops aren’t likely to show up to deal with a barking dog. You would probably have to live in a very peaceful community for the cops to have that kind of time.
Animal control is more likely to help. This is where the documentation comes into play. If you can show a pattern of disruptive behavior, authorities are more likely to follow up your complaint.
Note that the authorities are likely to have you sign a complaint. At this point, your neighbor will know who his or her disgruntled neighbor is.
7. Small Claims Court
Let’s take it to court. If nothing else works, you finally have the “nuclear option”. You can take your neighbor to small claims court. The amount of money is small, but large enough to motivate your neighbor to shut the dog up.
Remember to keep your barking logs and any videos you have of the barking dog. Also, obtain copies of any police or animal control reports that exist.
8. Hire A Lawyer
If small claims court doesn’t help, you can go beyond the nuclear option. This is retaining the services of a lawyer. Have your lawyer send a letter to the Home Owners Association or the neighbor’s landlord.
The appropriate overseer usually will get involved when a lawyer starts sending them letters. If even this doesn’t work, then the lawyer can start legal proceedings. All this involves is a restraining order, which means the owner must keep the dog from barking.