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Nuisance Complaints

NUISANCE is defined as:  “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”.  PLEASE NOTE:  occasional barking is not a nuisance.

Prior to completing a nuisance complaint form, please explore alternative solutions as you will need to live near your neighbors for a long time and you do not want this to be a dividing issue.  We suggest working things out with your neighbor on your own, before requesting the assistance of Animal Services.

COMMUNICATE:  Before you file a complaint or leave a note in their mailbox, remain calm and give the owner the benefit of the doubt.  Pet owners are often unaware their dog barks, for example, when the leave for work.  So, what can 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.  If you are part of an HOA (Home Owner’s Association) you can contact them to make them aware anonymously.

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.

Dear Neighbor,

I wanted to let you know that your dog misses you when you are away and he tends to bark quite a bit until you return home.  I am an animal lover also, and I wanted you to know he misses you. 

I was wondering if it would be possible to keep him indoors when you’re away.  While the occasional barking is understandable, it has become somewhat of a regular occurrence.

Anyways, I hope you’re well and please let me know if I can help out in any way.

Your Friendly Neighbor,

Jose

3.  If communicating with your neighbor has not stopped the barking, you may complete a Complaint Form at the bottom of this page.  Within 24-72 hours, VCAS 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 mailed and will state that a complaint has been received.  It will explain the city’s ordinance regarding, in this case, barking dogs.  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.

4.  After a reasonable amount of time, if the barking persists, you may contact Ventura County Animal Services a second time.  A citation may be issued pursuant to county ordinance 4467-12 provided the complaint meets or exceeds the parameters indicated in the ordinance.  Please remember that occasional barking is not consider a “nuisance.”

Process to Declare a Dog a Public Nuisance

Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) enforces local ordinances mitigating the ownership or maintenance of a Potentially Dangerous or Vicious dog in the unincorporated areas of Ventura County and in the cities of Camarillo, Fillmore, Ojai, Port Hueneme, Simi Valley and Ventura.  The ordinances, while different in varying degrees, all address certain animal activities that can be construed as potentially dangerous or vicious behavior such as, infliction of injury to a person or other animal, and vicious or threatening behavior.  Please read the ordinance for your jurisdiction in its entirety before proceeding further.  CLICK HERE TO VIEW ORDINANCES.

  1. If you are involved in an incident where you and or your animal was injured by another dog or you had to take defensive action to protect yourself or your pet, you can file a complaint by calling (805) 388-4341 or by completing the Complaint form below. In order to proceed, the criteria set forth in the ordinance must be met.
  2. Along with submitting the Complaint form, you and your co-complainant(s) are able to submit valid evidence that corroborates the incident. This can be in the form of date and time stamped video, photos or audio, witness statements, medical records, etc.   
  3. Upon receipt of the completed Complaint Form and corresponding evidence, an Animal Control Officer will be assigned to investigate the case. A letter will be sent to the animal owner informing them that a complaint has been received. If there is probable cause that a dog’s behavior may fall under the definition of a Potentially Dangerous or Vicious Dog, a hearing may be scheduled to determine if the dog(s) are potentially dangerous or vicious.
  4. If any party in the action is unable to attend the hearing at the date/time scheduled, they should immediately contact VCAS.

At any time during the process, if the situation is resolved and a complainant wishes to withdraw their request for a hearing, please contact 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.

DEFINITIONS:

For the purposes of Section 4470, et seq., unless the context otherwise requires,

(a) The term “potentially dangerous dog” means any of the following:

(1) Any dog which, when unprovoked, on two (2) separate occasions within the prior thirty-six (36)-month period, engages in any behavior that requires a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury when the person and dog are off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog.

(2) Any dog which, when unprovoked, bites a person causing a less severe injury than the injury defined in Section 4470-3, subdivision (c).

(3) Any dog which, when unprovoked, on two (2) separate occasions within the prior thirty-six (36)-month period, has killed, seriously bitten, inflicted injury, or otherwise caused injury attacking a domestic animal off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog.

(b) The term “vicious dog” means either of following:

(1) Any dog that, when unprovoked, in an aggressive manner, inflicts severe injury on or kills a human being.

(2) Any dog previously determined to be and currently listed as a potentially dangerous dog that, after its owner or keeper has been notified of this determination, continues the behavior described in Section 4470(a), or is maintained in violation of Section 4470-9.

(c) The term “severe injury” means any physical injury to a human being that results in muscle tears or disfiguring lacerations or requires multiple sutures or corrective or cosmetic surgery.

(d) The term “enclosure” means a fence or structure suitable to prevent the entry of young children, and which is suitable to prevent the dog from escaping. The dog shall be housed pursuant to Penal Code Section 597t.

(e) The term “impounded” means taken into the custody of the Division.

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”.

Nuisance Complaint Form

Please only complete this form if you have made an attempt to resolve the issue on your own.  Consider the fact that you will need to live near this person for a long time and you do not want this to be a dividing issue.  Again, please try to defuse the situation on your own if possible.

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TRANSLATE DISCLAIMER

The VCAS.US website has been translated by Google Translate. Reasonable efforts have been made to provide an accurate translation, however, no automated translation is perfect nor is it intended to replace human translators. Translations are provided as a service to users of the VCAS.US website, and are provided “as is.” No warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability, or correctness of any translations made from English into any other language. Some content (such as images, videos, Flash, etc.) may not be accurately translated due to the limitations of the translation software.

The official text is the English version of the website. Any discrepancies or differences created in the translation are not binding and have no legal effect for compliance or enforcement purposes. If any questions arise related to the accuracy of the information contained in the translated website, please refer to the English version of the website which is the official version. Ventura County Animal Services employs bilingual staff who are able to provide assistance.  Please call (805) 388-4341 or email info@vcas.us.

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