Barking Dog Complaints

Your neighbor’s dog is barking, and you’ve had enough!  Let’s resolve this together.  First, stay calm and do not leave any nasty messages in their mailbox.  It’s possible they aren’t aware their dog is barking.  Informing them of this is a delicate matter.  You must do this without making them upset or defensive.
  1. Be kind and you usually get what you want. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Assume they don’t know their dog is barking.
  2. If you see them, strike up a short conversation and delicately bring up the barking, but in a non-confrontational manner.
  3. If you are going to leave them a message it should look like this:

    “Dear Neighbor – I just wanted to let you know that your adorable dog misses you when you are away and tends to bark quite a bit.  I, too, am an animal lover and I wanted you to know they miss you.  Would it be possible to keep them indoors while you are away?  While I don’t mind the occasional barking, it has become a bit regular.Anyway, I hope you’re having a nice day and let me know if I can help out in any way.

    Your Friendly Neighbor.
    [NAME OPTIONAL]

    1. If communicating with the owner was unsuccessful, complete a Preliminary Complaint Form and send it via Email to nuisancebarking@vcas.us or FAX it to us at (805) 388-4393. [THIS WILL BE A FILLABLE FORM]
    2. Within 24-72 hours of receiving your complaint, VCAS will verify all information, check the license and vaccination status of all animals involved and send a letter to the dog’s owner/keeper. The complaining party (you) will not be named in the letter.
    3. The letter, typically hand-delivered by an Animal Control Officer, will state that a Barking Dog Complaint had been received, explain the city’s ordinance regarding barking dogs, request voluntary compliance within 7 days, and state potential further enforcement steps that may be taken if the issue is not resolved. The officer will also speak with the owner and offer suggestions on how to resolve the barking issue.
    4. If the barking persists, you may contact VCAS a second time 10 working days after your first report and request a formal hearing process to declare the dog a “Public Nuisance”.

Process to Declare a Dog a Public Nuisance

We enforce local ordinances prohibiting the ownership or maintenance of animal nuisances in the unincorporated areas of Ventura County and in the cities of Ojai, Fillmore, Port Hueneme, Moorpark, Ventura, Camarillo and Simi Valley. The ordinances, while different in varying degrees, all address certain animal activities that can be construed as public nuisance behavior such as excessive barking, infliction of injury to a person or other animal, destruction of property and vicious or threatening behavior. Please read the ordinance for your jurisdiction in its entirety before proceeding further.

  1. After 10 days, if your barking dog problem continues, you can file a Public Nuisance Complaint by calling (805) 388-4341 and requesting a Public Nuisance Complaint packet. In order to proceed, two or more adult neighbors must be willing to sign the Public Nuisance Complaint.
  2. Along with submitting the Complaint form, you and your co-complainant(s) need to submit separate “bark” logs on which you have recorded dates and times of nuisance barking over a minimum 5-day period.
  3. Upon receipt of the completed Complaint Form and corresponding “barking” logs, a Hearing Notice will be sent or delivered to the owner/keeper of the alleged nuisance dog(s). This letter defines the public nuisance laws and notices the legal proceedings that are to follow, including the date, time and location of the hearing. Since this is a public hearing process, the owner/keeper of the animal is legally entitled to request copies of any documentation pertaining to the complaint. The co-complainants will also receive notice of the hearing date, time and location.

If any party in the action is unable to attend the hearing at the date/time scheduled, they should immediately contact VCAS to request a postponement. Each party involved is granted one (1) postponement.

At any time during the process, if the situation is resolved and a complainant wishes to withdraw their request for a hearing, please contact the VCAS immediately. The complaint will remain on file but inactive for a period of one (1) year.  Should the situation reappear, the complainant need only send in an updated barking log and a written request to reinstate his/her complaint. After one (1) year, if we do not receive any further correspondence or complaints on the matter, the case will be considered closed and the files purged.

Nuisance = Excessive barking that deprives others of the comfortable enjoyment of their homes. When the barking is loud, frequent and continues over a long period of time, it is legally defined as a “Public Nuisance”.

For Animal Nuisance Complaints other than Barking

Any animal, except an animal kept or controlled by a governmental agency, which has committed any one or more of any of the following acts can be considered a public nuisance.

  • An unprovoked infliction of physical injury upon any person where such person is conducting himself or herself lawfully.
  • Unprovoked threatening behavior toward any person where such person is conducting himself or herself lawfully which occurs in such circumstances as to cause such person reasonably to fear for his or her physical safety.
  • An unprovoked infliction of physical injury upon any other animal which occurs off the property of the owner or keeper of the animal inflicting the injury.
  • The damaging of the real or personal property of some person other than the owner or keeper of the animal which occurs off the property of the owner or keeper of the animal.
  • The dumping of trash cans or the spreading of trash which occurs off the property of the owner or keeper of the animal.
  • The chasing of pedestrians, vehicles or ridden horses which occurs off the property of the owner or keeper of the chasing animal.

To file a Public Nuisance Complaint for the above animal behavior, contact the VCAS Complaint Desk at 805-388-4341 extension 8893 or email at nuisancebarking@vcas.us. The process is similar to that of a Barking Dog Public Nuisance explained above except that you do not need another party to file the complaint.