Hillsborough County aims to crack down on excessive dog barking

Right now, there's no rules on barking
Posted at 7:55 PM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 19:55:03-05

Hillsborough County is considering new rules about how to deal with excessive dog barking.

Currently, there are no laws concerning dog barking in Hillsborough County.

Several courts have held that excessive dog barking which interferes with a neighboring property owner's right to enjoy the use of his or her home constitutes a nuisance, according to a recent report by the Hillsborough County Attorney's office.

Although there is no exact rule or formula for figuring out when barking dogs rise to the level of a nuisance, the Supreme Court of Florida has found this usually means barking sounds which are unreasonably loud, raucous, jarring, disturbing, or a nuisance to a reasonable person.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman is helping create some of the new provisions and said curbing excessive dog barking not only protects homeowners but dogs.

"There could be maybe abandonment type issues where the dogs just aren't being taken care of," Murman said.

But for those out there concerned this could mean a little dog barking could land them with a fine, Murman said don't worry.

"It would have to be something very excessive," she said. "We want to protect our citizen's quality of life and their neighborhoods."

Murman said the county doesn't even have the resources to chase every dog barking complaint.

Some pet owners in the area feel barking could be challenging to regulate.

"That is a dog's nature," said John Cornish, a Tampa dog owner. "I mean so unless you're going to get a breed that does not bark, they're gonna do what they're supposed to do."

County leaders are also considering recommendations for any necessary improvements in the area of general nuisances related to pets, including provisions addressing odor, unsanitary conditions, and pest/parasite problems,

It's unclear now if dog owners could be fined for excessive barking or what kind of penalties they could face for allowing too much dog barking.

The new ordinance language is expected to be discussed Wednesday at an Animal Advisory Committee meeting.