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Jefferson County to levy fines for excessive dog barking

October 10, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- In 30 days, excessive dog barking in Jefferson County will be illegal.

After receiving complaints from some county residents about constant dog barking in some neighborhoods, the Jefferson County Commission on Thursday passed a law that allows for fines up to $500 for barking dogs.

Under the law, a barking dog would be considered a "nuisance" whenever two or more people in two different households complain about the animal.

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

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Anyone complaining about barking dogs could contact police serving the county to investigate under the proposed law.

First offense of the proposed law could result in a fine between $50 and $300, a second offense would carry a possible fine between $100 and $500 and a third offense would carry a possible fine between $200 and $500, according to the proposal.

The commission agreed Thursday that the new law will go into effect in 30 days.

The law has generated various reactions.

Some people at an Oct. 2 public hearing said dogs can serve purposes such as security when they bark at something on their property while other residents complained about not being able to enjoy quality of life because of barking dogs.

Commissioner Rusty Morgan said Thursday that county residents have told him they want the problem of excessive dog barking corrected, and he believes the new law is a solution.

Commissioner Dale Manuel, the only commissioner to vote against the law, said remedies are available to people complaining about barking dogs, such as civil litigation.

Or barking dogs often is a problem of animal cruelty such as a lack of shelter or lack of food for a dog, and there are animal cruelty laws to address those problems, Manuel said.




Dog barking law at a glance

  • A barking dog would be considered a "nuisance" whenever two or more people in two different households complain about the animal.

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

  • First offense of the proposed law could result in a fine between $50 and $300, second offense would carry a possible fine between $100 and $500 and a third offense would carry a fine between $200 and $500.

  • Police in the county can be called to investigate barking.

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