Barking Dogs!!

User Forum Topic
Submitted by Oxford on July 9, 2012 - 11:58pm

My neighbor in San Marcos has two loud german shepherds that bark excessively and disturb many of the neighbors including me. The woman who owns them is a total psycho and enjoys the annoyance and disturbance she creates. There are too many stories to tell, but trust me. Most all are afraid of her and her bully ways.

I am gathering information regarding code enforcement and steps to effectively solve the issue, but I thought I would run this by the PIGGS to tap into your wisdom and knowledge for dealing with nuisance barking dog issues.

OX
...back again :)

Submitted by an on July 10, 2012 - 12:08am.

Is there an automatic dog whistle you can set up to make the dog bark 24/7? Maybe that'll annoy her too and she'll do something about it. Else, maybe it'll make the dogs bark enough that they'll lose their voice permanently :-D.

Submitted by Oxford on July 10, 2012 - 12:13am.

I don' t think that would help. She enjoys harassing the neighborhood so that would make her happier.

Submitted by svelte on July 10, 2012 - 7:00am.

Been down this exact path, Ox, about 10 years ago at a house in San Marcos. Not my current house - I have excellent neighbors now.

Here is what I found out through much experimentation.

Buy one of these and mount it above the fence line:

http://www.amazon.com/Bark-Free-Control-...

Actually buy two. That's what I did. Works like a charm if the dog is in the next yard. If the dog is a few yards over, it may not work as great - or maybe you can buy them and donate them to the neighbor whose yard abuts the dogs. :-)

And actually they have a new and improved version that is apparently stronger but requires batteries:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000N2N...

I should note that the original device works great on big dogs with strong barks. It struggles with yappy dogs with high pitched barks.

Another way to go is to call the SM Sheriffs Dept. They will come out, though it will take awhile. One or two visits from the sheriff will often get the msg across. To take any legal action, I think two or more complaining neighbors are required. At least that's the way it used to be.

Submitted by jwizzle on July 10, 2012 - 8:51am.

I sympathize with this from two perspectives - one, because barking dogs annoy me, and two, because I have a dog that has defied all bark-control attempts (and I have tried it all - the sonic things, shock collars, citronlla bark spray, spraying water in the dogs face myself).

I would try talking to her. Make sure she is aware that everyone around her is annoyed, and tell her that you will start reporting her. Assuming she is unapologetic (as it sounds like she will be), then do it. And check out the sonic thing someone else recommended in the meantime - it may not have worked for one of my dogs, but the other would bolt to the back of the house whenever either of them barked. I ended up turning it off because I felt like I was punishing my other, non-barking dog.

Submitted by Hatfield on July 10, 2012 - 8:59am.

Once, I had a tenant who had a barking dog. The neighbor never talked to them about it, they never talked to me about it, instead they called Code Compliance. They came out, made an assessment, and then sent me (the property owner) a letter saying that complaints had been received, and if the problem was not resolved by such-and-such a date, that I would be fined a couple hundred dollars. As it happened, the tenant had already moved out at this point so the issue had already been resolved.

I was curious how the process worked, though, so I called Code Compliance and asked a series of what-if questions. Long of the short of it is: there's not much due process. Once they make a determination to fine you, you either pay the fine or face leins. I would think there would be some sort of appeals process, but if there is, it's pretty damn opaque.

So if the situation really is intractable, you might want to sic Code Compliance on her.

Submitted by CDMA ENG on July 10, 2012 - 9:48am.

Your Muni Code is pretty clear. I would suggest filing a complaint.

Look at 6.24.140 and 6.24.170. The only thing it does not state is who to complian to.

http://www.ci.san-marcos.ca.us/index.asp...

I had the same problem with an apartment neighbor. She liked to party all night long and the dog had seperation anxiety. Two complaints to SD Code enforcement and she didn't party anymore...

CE

Submitted by sdduuuude on July 10, 2012 - 10:06am.

In the city of SD, there is a noise abatement form.

I recommend this process, though I have resolved this through other means (see below).

First, talk to the owner. Ask them to make it stop.

Second, send them a letter asking them to stop. Take a few days documenting when they bark and include those details in the letter. Might want to mention in the letter that there is a big fine associated with a citation and that you intend to file a noise abatement form. Helps to include the form with the letter so they know you are following a formal process and have the form in-hand.

Third, fill out the form, make a copy of it and give it to the owner or put it on their doorstep.

If that doesn't work, sign it and send it in.

It's a long process and I've never had to go through it. I have had better luck sending anonymous post cards to the owner saying that they are annoying the whole neighborhood, that several neighbors are tired of it, that the fine is $600 and if it doesn't stop the city will be notified. Usually, barking dogs are caused by owners not being home and not knowing about it so this approach works well.

Submitted by Oxford on July 10, 2012 - 12:46pm.

PIGGS ROCK! Thanks for all the great suggestions and information. I am taking notes and will plan my next course of action.

OX
...don't harsh my mellow, bitch.

Submitted by all on July 10, 2012 - 1:22pm.

I was hoping you posted something about Barking Dogs by Butthole Surfers.

Submitted by CDMA ENG on July 10, 2012 - 3:31pm.

sdduuuude wrote:
In the city of SD, there is a noise abatement form.

I recommend this process, though I have resolved this through other means (see below).

First, talk to the owner. Ask them to make it stop.

Second, send them a letter asking them to stop. Take a few days documenting when they bark and include those details in the letter. Might want to mention in the letter that there is a big fine associated with a citation and that you intend to file a noise abatement form. Helps to include the form with the letter so they know you are following a formal process and have the form in-hand.

Third, fill out the form, make a copy of it and give it to the owner or put it on their doorstep.

If that doesn't work, sign it and send it in.

It's a long process and I've never had to go through it. I have had better luck sending anonymous post cards to the owner saying that they are annoying the whole neighborhood, that several neighbors are tired of it, that the fine is $600 and if it doesn't stop the city will be notified. Usually, barking dogs are caused by owners not being home and not knowing about it so this approach works well.

I just called them... Twice within about seven days of each other. There must have been other callers becasue the took care of it immediately.

About two weeks from start to finish... But the dog was horrible... Howled at night long... Non-stop.

CE

Submitted by EconProf on July 10, 2012 - 5:50pm.

I do not allow tenants with pets. Solves a lot of problems. Every time I allowed a dog in the past I lived to regret it. That may cost something in lower rent, but it has proved worth it overall.

Submitted by moneymaker on July 10, 2012 - 9:54pm.

I remember once my girlfriend had a crazy neighbor, literally who would stand on her balcony and scream well into the night. I remember being amazed that nobody shot her dead, I guess people get mad at dogs but will tolerate humans, my goal in life is to be more like my dog.

Submitted by blake on July 10, 2012 - 9:57pm.

Just blast this in a loop and call it even.

Submitted by zk on July 10, 2012 - 10:14pm.

Oxford wrote:
PIGGS ROCK!

Truly, they do. Really, a great forum with fantastic people. A great community. And I'd be saying that even if I wasn't 7 margaritas deep. But probably not actually typing it here.

Submitted by zk on July 10, 2012 - 10:20pm.

But where's eavesdropper? (Christopher Walken): "We need more eavesdropper!"

Submitted by svelte on July 11, 2012 - 7:33am.

Please post a follow-up telling us the paths you chose and what the outcomes were, Ox.

I am sure we are all going to encounter a similar problem again in the future - data from you will help us too...

Submitted by Aecetia on July 11, 2012 - 8:58am.

California Penal Code Section 415

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Penal Code > California Penal Code Section 415

Any of the following persons shall be punished by imprisonment
in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days, a fine of
not more than four hundred dollars ($400), or both such imprisonment
and fine:
(1) Any person who unlawfully fights in a public place or
challenges another person in a public place to fight.
(2) Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another
person by loud and unreasonable noise.
(3) Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which
are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.

http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/4...

Since she refuses to control the dogs' barking, she is disturbing your peace.

The local ordinance is probably sufficient. I would keep a log of the duration and time of each noise disturbance (if this is possible) and also record the dogs barking in case you end up in court. If the code folks are going to do their job, they will want this information.

There also might be grounds for a civil action.

Good luck.

Submitted by spdrun on July 11, 2012 - 9:11am.

Mens rea would be difficult to prove in this case under the law you cited. Does CA have any specific laws that cover keeping of nuisance dogs?

Submitted by Aecetia on July 11, 2012 - 7:33pm.

I am unaware of any. However, various municipalities may have muni ordinances re. dogs. Some places allow chickens in the city and some do not. Usually most codes involve fines while violations of the penal code may be considered criminal. I am sure the dogs want attention. German Shepherds are smart dogs and they usually are easy to train if someone will take the time.

Submitted by JC on July 11, 2012 - 10:11pm.

*cough* *cough*

a little info on dog barking from a somewhat reliable 3rd party: http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/underst...

i have kind of the opposite problem which is a bit comical. my two current dogs are essentially "angels". my first dog had separation anxiety and was not. (i still miss her, but she was not easy).

i live near balboa park in a home that has what you might call a half block behind it. this means that my back yard is about 2.5 feet and about the same for my neighbor. i had a great realtor who advised going by at all times of day and night to be sure i was ok living in this area. (i was. i have lived in more cramped quarters before but it was GOOD advice and I carefully considered this before moving here).

about six months ago or so, a new guy moved behind me who HATES dogs. (i have cutesy dog signs in front of my house to be very upfront that my kids are canine as I think no one likes surprises and after one actual break-in and one attempted break-in, the signs seemed like an actual safety item too). note the dogs were not here when the break-ins happened/ were attempted. no one bothers me now that the dogs are here.

so, my new neighbor has passive aggressively slammed doors at me for months every time i make a noise or my dogs do (yo, i got the message). i live alone and work 12 hours a day or more from home so i am pretty damn boring/quiet. last week, he stormed by to threaten to file a complaint. my next door neighbor was appalled by his behavior and offered to sign an affadavit about how quiet my dogs are. (i am SO lucky to have awesome neighbors on all other sides).

so, my dogs bark during the daytime when strangers come by (so, i do my best to make sure no one stops by unannounced) and they bark when my dog hating neighbor works on his house with power tools or when he has other workers crawling around on his roof). um, i dont know many dogs that would not bark in that situation? and, he has people working on his house since moving in. this is totally his right. i would never complain even if the noise is not always convenient for me as we live in close quarters.

so, i have spent thousands (yes, thousands) on dog training (the neighbor is often a topic of discussion), calming dog supplements, calming dog music (yes, they really make these items and they do help), i close doors and windows when he is home, and do everything possible to be a good neighbor. even so, he likes to slam doors in protest if they so much as utter a playful peep.

i have to say, at this point, a little sugar would go a long way. (just for those of you who have neighbors that you would like to send a message to). some of us are willing to be quite cooperative, so maybe try a little sugar before go for the threats.

just talk to us like we are humans and we care. frankly, if this guy was not being such an ass with the slamming doors and the threats, i would try to figure out what his schedule was to see what else i could adjust so we could all be peaceful.

heck, when he first moved in, i let his plumber come into my house like 3 times which was really inconvenient since i work like 12 hour days and such and my dogs are afraid of strangers. interestingly, he did not mind when it was for his benefit....

in San Diego, you are allowed to have up to 5 dogs. I stopped fostering just to try to appease this guy. interetinly, as he was yelling/threatening me last week, he acknowledged that the dogs were much better now. huh??!!?

this kind of negative reinforcement for trying very hard to be a good neighbor kind of makes me want to stop trying. especially, since none of my other neighbors even notice as they never utter a peep during quiet hours...

now, i have lived next to neighbors who just leave dogs outside unattended for days. first, i dont understand how you could do that to your dog. second, that can be a nightmare. my neighbors dogs would howl ALL night long. even in that extreme, i still think talking to the owners first is a good first step. if they don't take action or try to work with you, i can see taking that to the next level. so, i do empathize with those of you that are in that situation.

so, i guess the point of my unfocused rant is to encourage you to talk to your neighbors first. i think most people are pretty nice and try pretty hard to work with each other. we have rules and codes in place for those people that dont, right?

Submitted by Oxford on July 12, 2012 - 12:05am.

Nice post JC. And good advice.
Regarding my situation, I did speak with the owner of the dogs and wrote a heart-felt, polite anonymous letter. She said she would "do the best she can".

The dogs have continued to bark as much as before -- if not more. She, unlike you, is a nut-case.

OX
...nutcracker

Submitted by JC on July 12, 2012 - 6:51am.

Ox, I am so sorry that you did not get a better reply to your polite note. So, I have this awesome dog trainer that has given me all sorts of great ideas. For instance, my dogs bark at strangers in my house. Well, I will need to have strangers in and around my house in a few months to do foundation work and I can't take my dogs to boarding. (I have one dog that is "special needs" and a flight risk and I already went through one episode of not sleeping for 76 days as I tracked her down to bring her home safely. Really can't do that again). Anywho, I have to have the dogs here for the foundation work and I do not want to bother any of my neighbors so I am going to sound proof my garage so I can have them in there while they do the major work. (I will properly ventilate and such first too). My trainer has sent me info on materials that might be useful for the sound proofing that I could share with you if that might help you in your home? I was thinking of suggesting this to my neighbor too, but I am afraid to bring that up with him since he is so volatile. My trainer had another suggestion that might be useful on my side and my neighbor's side which is heavy drapes on the side of the house that faces his. And, what works for me in general whether it is power tools or the neighbors i had with the howling dogs -- white noise. It won't completely block the sound but it certainly helps. Good luck to you! PM me if you want the sound proofing info.

Submitted by Oxford on July 12, 2012 - 5:23pm.

Thanks JC. But I am not interested in sound control. I am throwing all the code enforcement at this and even taking it to court if necessary. There is nothing nice about this woman or the situation.

As far as I consider it, it is ON.

OX
...on

Submitted by Coronita on July 12, 2012 - 6:35pm.

JC wrote:
*cough* *cough*

a little info on dog barking from a somewhat reliable 3rd party: http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/underst...

i have kind of the opposite problem which is a bit comical. my two current dogs are essentially "angels". my first dog had separation anxiety and was not. (i still miss her, but she was not easy).

i live near balboa park in a home that has what you might call a half block behind it. this means that my back yard is about 2.5 feet and about the same for my neighbor. i had a great realtor who advised going by at all times of day and night to be sure i was ok living in this area. (i was. i have lived in more cramped quarters before but it was GOOD advice and I carefully considered this before moving here).

about six months ago or so, a new guy moved behind me who HATES dogs. (i have cutesy dog signs in front of my house to be very upfront that my kids are canine as I think no one likes surprises and after one actual break-in and one attempted break-in, the signs seemed like an actual safety item too). note the dogs were not here when the break-ins happened/ were attempted. no one bothers me now that the dogs are here.

so, my new neighbor has passive aggressively slammed doors at me for months every time i make a noise or my dogs do (yo, i got the message). i live alone and work 12 hours a day or more from home so i am pretty damn boring/quiet. last week, he stormed by to threaten to file a complaint. my next door neighbor was appalled by his behavior and offered to sign an affadavit about how quiet my dogs are. (i am SO lucky to have awesome neighbors on all other sides).

so, my dogs bark during the daytime when strangers come by (so, i do my best to make sure no one stops by unannounced) and they bark when my dog hating neighbor works on his house with power tools or when he has other workers crawling around on his roof). um, i dont know many dogs that would not bark in that situation? and, he has people working on his house since moving in. this is totally his right. i would never complain even if the noise is not always convenient for me as we live in close quarters.

so, i have spent thousands (yes, thousands) on dog training (the neighbor is often a topic of discussion), calming dog supplements, calming dog music (yes, they really make these items and they do help), i close doors and windows when he is home, and do everything possible to be a good neighbor. even so, he likes to slam doors in protest if they so much as utter a playful peep.

i have to say, at this point, a little sugar would go a long way. (just for those of you who have neighbors that you would like to send a message to). some of us are willing to be quite cooperative, so maybe try a little sugar before go for the threats.

just talk to us like we are humans and we care. frankly, if this guy was not being such an ass with the slamming doors and the threats, i would try to figure out what his schedule was to see what else i could adjust so we could all be peaceful.

heck, when he first moved in, i let his plumber come into my house like 3 times which was really inconvenient since i work like 12 hour days and such and my dogs are afraid of strangers. interestingly, he did not mind when it was for his benefit....

in San Diego, you are allowed to have up to 5 dogs. I stopped fostering just to try to appease this guy. interetinly, as he was yelling/threatening me last week, he acknowledged that the dogs were much better now. huh??!!?

this kind of negative reinforcement for trying very hard to be a good neighbor kind of makes me want to stop trying. especially, since none of my other neighbors even notice as they never utter a peep during quiet hours...

now, i have lived next to neighbors who just leave dogs outside unattended for days. first, i dont understand how you could do that to your dog. second, that can be a nightmare. my neighbors dogs would howl ALL night long. even in that extreme, i still think talking to the owners first is a good first step. if they don't take action or try to work with you, i can see taking that to the next level. so, i do empathize with those of you that are in that situation.

so, i guess the point of my unfocused rant is to encourage you to talk to your neighbors first. i think most people are pretty nice and try pretty hard to work with each other. we have rules and codes in place for those people that dont, right?

I think it this particular situation, you should bark with the dog just to annoy the neighbor. Or invite a really loud/crying baby that cries all the time.

sometimes people don't appreciate things until they experience something worse.

Submitted by JC on July 12, 2012 - 9:04pm.

LMAO -- that is funny and tempting, but not really my style. I'll keep trying. I usually give people at least 3 or 4 tries before I give up. Of course, I did consider how awful it would be for him if I had teenagers in that back bedroom. I am pretty sure that would be far more annoying?!?!? In fact, if he keeps making being at home tiresome, I might start dating again and at my age they come with teenagers. Hmmm......KIDDING!

Submitted by Aecetia on July 12, 2012 - 10:37pm.

JC,

Your neighbor is a jerk. I bet he hates people and dogs.

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