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”.
“I’ve had ENOUGH!”
Sound familiar? But before you file a complaint or leave a nastygram in their mailbox, take a breath and remain calm. Give the owner the benefit of the doubt. Pet owners are often unaware their dog barks when the leave for work. So what should you do?
1. Assume they don’t know their dog is barking. Let them know about it, but don’t go knocking at their door upset. Bring it up delicately, perhaps when you see them taking out the trash. If you’re angry, they’ll get defensive and they won’t listen.
2. Leave them a note, but not a nastygram. Give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are unaware of their dog’s barking. Here’s a good example of a letter to leave them. →
I just wanted to let you know that your adorable dog misses you when you are away and he tends to bark quite a bit until you get home. I, too, am an animal lover and I wanted you to know he misses you.
Would it be possible to keep them indoors when you’re away? While I don’t mind the occasional barking, it has kind of become a regular thing.
Anyways, I hope you’re well and please let me know if I can help out in any way.
Your Friendly Neighbor,
3. If communicating with your neighbor has not stopped the barking, you may complete a Preliminary Complaint Form at the bottom of this page. Within 24-72 hours we will verify all of the information, check the license and vaccination status of all animals involved, and send a letter to the animal’s owner/keeper. The complaining party (you) will not be named in the letter. The letter is typically hand-delivered by an Animal Control Officer and will state that a complaint has been received. It will explain the city’s ordinance regarding barking dogs, in this case. The letter will request voluntary compliance within seven (7) days, and will 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 addition suggestions on how to resolve the issue.
4. If the barking persists, you may contact Ventura County Animal Services a second time, ten (10) working days after your first report and request a formal hearing process to declare the dog a “Public Nuisance”. Please remember that occasional barking is not consider a nuisance.
Process to Declare a Dog a Public Nuisance
Ventura County Animal Services enforces local ordinances prohibiting the ownership or maintenance of animal nuisances in the unincorporated areas of Ventura County and in the cities of Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai, Port Hueneme, Simi Valley and Ventura. 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.
- After 10 days, if the barking 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 (2) or more adult neighbors must be willing to sign the Public Nuisance Complaint.
- 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.
- 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, email our Humane Officer 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.
Preliminary Nuisance Complaint Form
Please only complete this form if you have made an effort to resolve the issue on your own. You will need to live near this person/family for a long time and you do not want this to be a dividing issue. Again, please try to defuse the situation without involving a third party.