Barking Dog Information
Augusta Animal Services (AAS) is dedicated to helping preserve the quality of neighborhoods by reducing animal control related disturbances and nuisances, while protecting the rights of animal owners or ‘Responsible Person’ to own and enjoy their pets.
Citizens of Augusta have the right and expectation to be able to use their back yards, work in their gardens, enjoy a summer evening on their deck, or sleep peacefully through the night. No individual should have to contend with the inability to sleep or enjoy his or her home because of a neighbor’s barking dog.
It is a given fact that dogs bark. Barking is part of their normal communication process and behavior; it is not a violation for a dog to bark. However, continual barking for long periods is a violation of City of Augusta ordinances.
Most barking problems occur when the dog owner is not home. It is usually the absence of its’ owner that facilitates the inappropriate barking. People rarely make up barking problems.
AAS encourages neighbors to attempt to resolve the problem with the animal owner or other ‘Responsible Person’ prior to filing a formal complaint. Sometimes the ‘Responsible Person’ may not know that their dog or dogs are disturbing others or they may not know that their dog barks when they are away, and would be grateful for the opportunity to address the issue, informally.
A very effective tool to help your neighbor understand when and why their dog is barking is to keep a log. If they can figure out the “why”, the easier it will be to stop the inappropriate barking or howling. So note the date, time and duration of the barking so that your neighbor has a point of reference. In addition, recording and videotaping may be helpful in proving your case.
We cannot help resolve this matter, without the assistance of complaining parties. Anonymous complaints will not be investigated; we will only proceed if two known witnesses initiate the complaint. Under no circumstances will prosecution of a barking dog offense occur without two victims who are willing to testify in court. Owners/responsible person will be given a copy of the complaint that has been filed against them, if requested.
If a formal complaint is necessary, accurate information is essential to solving the problem. Knowing date, time and duration a dog is barking helps Animal Control Officers (ACOs) assist dog owners/responsible person/responsible person in finding the best way to change their dog’s behavior. While a complainant’s perception may be that the dog barks “all the time, non-stop”, such generalizations make it difficult to isolate a true problem and to convince a dog owner that there is really a problem.
ACOs work hard to investigate and solve barking dog problems, but there are some things we are not lawfully allowed to do.
- Enter a dog owner’s property, without probable cause
- Take a pet from an owner to stop the barking
- Order a pet owner to remove an animal from their property
- Order a pet owner to keep their pet inside
- Prosecute anonymous complaints
- Prosecute complaints where victims are unwilling to testify
- Prosecute complaints where there are no witnesses
- Use audio or video recordings instead of witnesses
- Use witness statements that are general in nature
Dos and Don’ts for Reporting Barking Dogs:
- Do try to communicate the problem to your neighbors before calling law enforcement.
- Do know the address where the barking dog is; do not guess at the address or house.
- Do be able to confirm which dog is barking.
- Do not call in an “anonymous” complaint.
- Do provide your name and information on the complaint… without a witness, the complaint will not be processed!
- Do not cause the dog to bark.
- Do not file a complaint on behalf of another person