Summer night breezes, a cool walk in the park and a barking dog…These are the ingredients for a great evening. If dog barking has become a problem in your community, here are six easy solutions to silence the barking.
- Personal contact. If the board is comfortable approaching the owner, many times a simple, “hello, by the way your dog kept me awake again last night” may work.
Courtesy letter. Often, dog owners are not actually aware that their dog has become a problem. The board should communicate, in very polite terms, this issue and request the owner bring his/her dog inside.
- Fine letter. The board may fine a dog owner pursuant to the association’s rules and regulations. To validly fine a dog owner for a barking dog, the association should, at a minimum, have a “nuisance” prohibition in its declaration. However, ideally the declaration or rules should also address obnoxious animals. Also, because it is extremely difficult for a board to “independently verify” a barking dog violation, at least two complaints from two different owners should be submitted. Prior to fining, an owner must be provided with notice of the violation and given an opportunity to address the board of directors (or other association representative) at a hearing.
- Local law enforcement. Owners additionally have the option of contacting local animal control to report barking dogs. Animal control has options available to it that are not available to the association which may be more effective than the association’s enforcement capabilities. Local animal control will likely notify the owner of the problem and if the problem is severe enough, fine the owner, issue a violation, or remove the dog.
- Encourage group animal play. Many times a dog will bark as a result of boredom. If a community contains a large number of dogs, the board may consider reserving portions of the common elements (if feasible) for a dog park. Dogs will be able to exercise and play with other dogs rendering them less likely to bark.
- Legal action. If all attempts at voluntary compliance fail, and the dog continues to be an unrepentant barker, the association may have initiate legal action against the owner to enforce its covenants. Through such legal action, the association can seek an order requiring the owner to keep the dog inside, or possibly even an order requiring the dog be removed from the community.