You don't have to live with barking dogs

What recourse do we have when neighbors let their dogs bark well into the night disrupting the sleep of our family? Calling the police seems silly; they must have better things to do, but we're left with few options and are getting very grumpy from lack of sleep.

— Name withheld by request

Your question doesn't specify whether you're in a county or city jurisdiction, and that makes a difference. In the city, be it Medford, Ashland, Talent, etc. then the police are the ones to call regarding barking dogs and the police handle the calls and enforce as needed. In the county, animal control gets the call and it responds.

Les Couch at Jackson County Animal Control said that first of all, the barking must be "frequent or prolonged" and carry outside the boundaries of the dog's property. The barking can occur at any time of day or night. When it gets the call, then it will typically give the dog's owner a verbal warning on the first complaint. Subsequent complaints will get a citation which runs $65 and can be knocked down to $43 with a guilty plea. Additional citations will cost around $200 each.

If a case is to be cited, then animal control officers request that the reporting party get a recording — audio or video — of the dog barking. Lacking that, then they would like to have reports from more than one party, like other neighbors, and they'd like to have a calendar kept that documents the date, time and duration of the dog barking. That way if the case ends up in court, they'll have a little easier time defending the citation.

Just call the appropriate agency depending upon the jurisdiction where you live.

Dace Cochran is a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

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