TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - Dogs barking is a familiar sound in virtually every neighborhood. Playful barking is one thing; it's understood as such and not a problem for most people. But barking for hours on end, every day, every week is something very different. Not only is it annoying. It's illegal.
"We have had noise fines assessed for thousands of dollars on repeat complaints."
That's Michelle Moore, an enforcement support specialist with Pima County Animal Care. Some months, her office receives hundreds of complaints about barking dogs and other loud animals--which can result in fines up to 500 dollars per day. Starting May 5th, those will fines continue, in addition to a possible trip to court.
"If found responsible twice previously... for that to be cited directly to Justice Court," Moore says.
"Is an ordinance necessary? I don't know, perhaps," says Lee Warren. "To me, it feels just a tad strict."
Warren is the proud owner of two, fully grown labs. Like most dogs, his dogs bark when they're playing or they're if startled. But Warren's always been able to control them. That's every dog owner's responsibility, Warren says. If he had a problem with somebody's else's dog, Warren says he'd take it upon himself to do something about it.
"If it's affecting your quality of life in your own home, the first thing I'm gonna do..." Warren says, "I'm gonna go ask them what's going on; is there anything we can do? I'm sure you're aware of it if we are."
But there are exceptions.
"I understand," Pima County resident Lori Carlson says, referring to the new ordinance. "I wouldn't want a dog barking at night--I don't have issues with it during the day, but at night it would definitely be a problem."
Marana resident Tony Frausto agrees.
"I have no problem with it--when the dogs do bark we usually come out and shush them."
Frausto lives in a busy neighborhood near Ina Road and Old Father. Because his dogs will bark when people walk by, he's proactive in his approach to handling them.
"Some people leave their dogs out during the day and they're not being attended to," Frausto says. "When we're not home we bring them inside and I think that's probably the problem. When they're not home they bark and bark--and there's nobody to shush them, that's probably where the ordinance comes around."
The Pima County Board of Supervisors adopted the new noise ordinance on April 6th. It officially goes into effect May 5th. All money generated from fines will go toward the Pima County Animal Care Center.
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