Jefferson County Commission consider law regulating dog barking

September 15, 2008|By DAVE MCMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - Some county residents believed several years ago that Jefferson County officials were going to extremes by considering a law controlling barking dogs, but other residents continue to complain about the problem, a county official said Sunday.

A couple of families have written letters to the county commission recently pushing for a barking dog law in the county, according to Jefferson County Commission member Rusty Morgan.

Morgan said such laws are becoming common in other areas and the commissioners again are considering passing a law that would set up a system of fines for people who let their dogs bark excessively.

The commissioners put a proposed dog law on hold in 2004 after some local residents said the county was going to extremes with the proposal. Some residents said it is natural for a dog to bark, especially if the animal senses trouble around its property.


The barking dog law now being considered is similar to the previous proposal in that the county would consider a barking dog a "nuisance" whenever two or more people in two households complain about a dog.

Public nuisance refers to a dog that excessively barks, howls or yelps intermittently or continuously for more than 15 minutes, according to the proposal.

According to the proposed law, anyone complaining about barking dogs could contact local police to investigate.

A first violation of the proposed law could result in a fine of $50 to $300; second offense would carry a possible fine of $100 to $500; and a third offense would carry a fine of $200 to $500, the proposal states.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 2 during the county commission meeting at the Jefferson County Courthouse at the intersection of George and Washington streets.

The commission could vote on the proposal after the hearing, Morgan said.

In 2005, the commission passed a noise law controlling noise from a variety of sources, including radios, musical instruments and motorcycles, and some officials thought then that the commission eventually would consider a separate law controlling barking dogs, Morgan said.

Public hearing

What: After continuing to receive complaints about barking dogs in the county, the Jefferson County Commission has decided to hold a public hearing about a proposed law to control barking dogs.

Where: The county commission chambers in the Jefferson County Courthouse at the intersection of George and Washington Streets.

When: Thursday, Oct. 2, 1:30 p.m.

On line: The entire barking dog law can be viewed on the Jefferson County government's Web site at

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