Chronically barking dog is a $150 fine

We live in east Medford near Lone Pine School and we have a horrible problem with dogs barking. These dogs bark any time, day or night. The owners seem oblivious to the sound and apparently don't care. Contacting them would only point out the obvious. Other neighbors have commented to us and feel the same. With the warm weather, we have our windows open at night, and the dog barking keeps everyone awake. What can be done? I don't want to be a grouchy neighbor, but, geez, enough is enough.

— Via email

A barking dog can be quite the nuisance, but thankfully for neighbors such as you, unnamed question asker, it's also clearly against the law.

"It's 5.225 of our municipal code," Lt. Mike Budreau of the Medford Police Department said.

The law states, "No person shall make, continue, cause, or permit to be made or continued any noise disturbance."

The very first in a list of noise disturbances is "barking dogs or other noisy animals which disturb the comfort and repose of any person in the vicinity."

We checked with Budreau to see whether contacting other agencies is appropriate. "I would just call the police," he said, noting that it's also worth checking with Jackson County Animal Care and Control if it's an ongoing issue.

Budreau said that although the barking dog may be more noticeable at night, you don't have to wait for a certain time before you have a right to complain. "There are no time constraints," he said.

Offenders face a $150 fine if cited. For that owner to be charged, according to Budreau, you're going to have to sign a citation and be prepared to appear in court if the owner pleads not guilty.

More commonly, Budreau told us, neighbors want to be anonymous, and police can issue a warning to the owner. "You want to be able to get along with your neighbors, but you want to be comfortable in your own home, too," he said.

Also clearly against the law are dogs running at-large within the city limits. If that barking dog is escaping and chasing vehicles or people, or if it's just getting in the trash, the owner also faces a $150 fine.

Because these cases often occur when an owner is away, Budreau said, police will leave a card instructing the owner to call the officer when the offender gets home.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to Because of the volume of questions we receive, we cannot answer all of them.

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