In this week’s Protect Yourself segment we hear from Margret in Chula Vista, California, who lives next door to a noisy dog.
My neighbor has a dog that barks at all hours. I can not get any sleep. I also am going thru chemotherapy. I must have peace and quiet. Can I call the police? Please help. Thanks.
Can I Call The Police?
Hi, Margret. Yes, you can call the police. However, I can tell you this will probably not fix your problem. Police need evidence and they will probably not take the time to stake the house and get the information they need to act accordingly. The police are there for emergencies. A barking dog does not qualify as an emergency. Because a noisy dog isn’t a typical problem for the police, I have some other options for you.
1. Talk To Your Neighbor
The best thing you can do is try and talk to your neighbor. So often we run to court or call the police before even addressing the issue directly. Your neighbor may not even be aware of the incessant barking. Once the neighbor is aware of the problem they may be able to fix it! No police. No courts. No more barking. It is truly a win for all.
2. File Charges
You do have the option of filing misdemeanor or criminal charges if the barking is a public nuisance. Things that can determine whether or not this is considered a public nuisance are:
– Time of day when barking occurs.
– Frequency of barking.
– Loudness of barking.
– How many people the barking affects.
That being said, this is not normally enforced very well. So, again, your best option is to speak directly with your neighbor and work together to figure out a solution.
3. Civil Charges
Margret, you can go to small claims court. You can actually file a lawsuit (called a tort action). Because there are health concerns at play here, you have a stronger case than most.
Again, I cannot reiterate this enough: try and resolve your problems first, before you contact the police or a lawyer. I hope that helps, Margret!
Remember, if you have a legal question that you want to get answered live on San Diego 6, please e-mail me at LawyerinBlueJeans@gmail.com.