Noise Bylaws

Local bylaws prohibit excessive barking. The wording of the Capital Regional District, District of Langford, and District of Highlands bylaws can be summarized as follows:

"No owner of a dog shall permit or cause the dog to cry or bark in a manner which disturbs the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the neighbourhood or of persons in the vicinity of the place where the dog is kept."

In order for barking to be in violation of the bylaw it must be: (1) frequent and persistent; and, (2) disturb the neighbourhood (more than one household).

Excessive barking does not have a specific definition. There is no time duration or specific times of the day that automatically defines prohibited barking, and each case is dealt with individually. However, owners who allow their dogs to bark frequently and persistently or bark during the night are likely to be in violation of Animal Control bylaws.

What do I do if there is a serious barking problem in my neighbourhood?

Talk to Your Neighbour

If possible, approach your neighbour and tactfully discuss the problem with them. Believe it or not, many people do not realize that their dog barks when they are not home or that it disturbs their neighbours. Many dog owners react well to such friendly approaches and are able to find a solution without an official visit by a Bylaw Enforcement Officer.

Contact Animal Control

If no results are achieved by your friendly visit or you choose not to make contact with the dog owner, call the Animal Control Officer for you area. Be prepared to leave a voicemail message with name, address and phone number as well as the address of the barking dog, its recent barking history, description of the dog and name of the owners if known.

The Animal Control Officer will make contact with the dog owner and advise them a complaint has been made. The complainant's identity is kept confidential, they will only be referred as, "the complainant." The Officer uses this opportunity to first confirm that the complainant has identified the correct source of the barking and to educate and inform the dog owner about barking regulations.

The Officer will provide the dog owner with possible causes and solutions in efforts to assist the dog owner to correct the problem. The Officer will also ensure the dog is currently licensed and forewarn the dog owner that the complainant will be counselled to keep a Barking Log if they are further disturbed.

Approximately 90% of barking complaints are resolved after the Officer's initial visit. Some 8% of complaints require multiple visits - the Officer often requires Barking Logs at this point to convince a dog owner that a violation is occurring. One or two percent of complaints result in fines or injunctions.

If Barking Continues

If the barking continues unabated and the dog owner is obviously doing nothing to resolve the situation the complainant will be directed to complete a Barking Log (see below for details). The Animal Control Officer will likely issue a Warning Notice to the dog owner if the Officer is satisfied a disturbance is occurring.

If barking still continues the Animal Control Officer will, in most cases, need to identify a second complainant willing to corroborate the disturbances. The original complainant may already know of someone in the neighbourhood willing to come forward, if not, the Animal Control Officer will conduct a door to door canvass of the neighbourhood to determine the validity of the complainant's allegations. If the canvass confirms a violation has occurred a Final Warning Notice will likely be issued to the dog owner. The dog owner will be directed to rectify the problem immediately and advised of pending penalties.

If disturbances continue the complainant and other concerned neighbours must keep very detailed Barking Logs and use other means of documenting the disturbances (audio recordings, photographs, video tape). The Animal Control Officer will review evidence presented and where warranted issue fines to the dog owner. If the dog owner disputes the tickets, witnesses will be subpoenaed to court to provide testimony.

Barking Log

The Barking Log is to be used by persons who have recently reported a barking dog to the Animal Control Officer. The Officer has spoken to the dog owner about the disturbance, but there appears to have been no change and the dog continues to bark as before.

Once given direction to keep a Barking Log, be sure to follow all of the specific instructions on the form. When three days of significant barking has been recorded in any 10-day period, call the Animal Control Officer as soon as possible so they can review the log and take steps to resolve the matter while it is still fresh. Contact phone numbers are on the bottom of the Barking Log form.

Do NOT complete a Barking Log prior to contacting an Animal Control Officer and receiving direction to do so. Barking Logs completed without direction to do so will not be accepted.

Fill out our Interactive Form and email it to our office. *Please note that the form may not be fillable in Firefox 19.0 and higher.

Persons who keep Barking Logs must be 100% truthful when documenting disturbances and not exaggerate or embellish facts.

A Barking Log that consists of numerous entries detailing exact times, durations and observations will provide the Officer with a powerful tool to work with.

A Barking Log that consists of a few general statements and approximate times is unlikely to convince the Animal Control Officer, the dog owner or a Judge.

Most important: have patience and be consistent.

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