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.
Both of the following criteria must be met in order for Augusta Animal Services to consider a barking dog an unlawful nuisance:
1. Barking, howling, yelping, whining or other utterance that can be heard beyond the property on which the dog resides.
2. Lasting ongoing for a period in excess of 20 minutes between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; or in excess of 10 minutes between the hours of 9:01 p.m to 6:59 a.m.; or in excess of 120 minutes anytime within a 24-hour period.
If both of the preceding criteria have been met, at least one complaint from a non-anonymous witness has to be filed with Augusta Animal Services to begin a thorough investigation. The following outlines the escalation of enforcement that Augusta Animal Services uses to address nuisance barking:
1. Issue a warning to the dog owner after the first complaint from a non-anonymous witness.
2. Issue a citation for the dog owner to appear in court if there are continued complaints after the 1stwarning and any the following conditions have been met:
a. An Animal Control Officer has personally observed the nuisance barking as outlined above and can testify to the observation.
b. The complainant has presented credible and admissible evidence to the Animal Control Officer in the form of a time and date stamped video recording. Please note that this recording should be made in a manner in which the dog is visibly not reacting to the complainant making the recording.
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