LEGAL CORNER: What can I do about a neighbor’s dog that won’t stop barking

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Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 12:43 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Legal Corner answers viewers’ civil legal questions.

You can submit your legal questions to the Southwest Louisiana Law Center by e-mailing us at Civil matters only please.

QUESTION: We live 5 miles out of the city limits in Union Parish in a subdivision. Almost in my backyard is the neighbor’s fence where his extremely loud, constantly barking german shepherd stays. He does not seem to take a breath to stop barking.

My husband has talked to the neighbor about his dog, and I have called the sheriff’s office several times. This has been going on for 7 months. Some days it starts at 7 a.m. and does not stop until 9 or 10 p.m. when the neighbors take the dog inside. What can I do?

ANSWER: For residents in the Lake Area, the first thing you should do in a situation like this is to check with your city’s code of ordinances. There should be provisions that provide for nuisances and the abatement of nuisances. The complainant should have the option to file suit under those ordinances.

Since the complainant resides in Union Parish, it appears the Union Parish Police Jury’s Code of Ordinances will apply. And in that parish, barking is considered a nuisance.

Sec. 24-1. - Illustrative enumeration.

The maintaining, using, placing, depositing, leaving or permitting to be or remain on any public or private property of any of the following items, conditions or actions are hereby declared to be and constitute a nuisance; provided, however, this enumeration shall not be deemed or construed to be conclusive, limiting or restrictive:

(5) All unnecessary or unauthorized noises and annoying vibrations, including animal noises.

Sec. 24-2. - Prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to cause, permit, maintain or allow the creation or maintenance of a nuisance.

SEC. 24-3. - Notice to abate.

Whenever a nuisance is found to exist, the duly designated officer of the parish shall give five days’ written notice to the owner or occupant of the property upon which such nuisance exists or upon the person causing or maintaining the nuisance.

Sec. 24-4. - Contents of notice.

The notice to abate a nuisance issued under the provisions of this chapter shall contain:

(1) An order to abate the nuisance or to request a hearing within a stated time, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances.

(2) The location of the nuisance, if the same is stationary.

(3) A description of what constitutes the nuisance.

(4) A statement of acts necessary to abate the nuisance.

(5) A statement that, if the nuisance is not abated as directed and no request for hearing is made within the prescribed time, the parish will abate such nuisance and assess the cost thereof against such person.

Sec. 24-5. - Service of notice.

The notice to abate a nuisance shall be served as any other legal process may be served pursuant to law.

Sec. 24-6. - Abatement by parish.

Upon the failure of the person upon whom notice to abate a nuisance was served pursuant to the provisions of this chapter to abate the same, the duly designated officer of the parish shall proceed to abate such nuisance and shall prepare a statement of costs incurred in the abatement thereof.

Sec. 24-7. - Parish’s costs declared lien.

Any and all costs incurred by the parish in the abatement of a nuisance under the provisions of this chapter shall constitute a lien against the property upon which such nuisance existed, which lien shall be filed, proven and collected as provided for by law. Such lien shall be notice to all persons from the time of its recording, and shall bear interest at the legal rate thereafter until satisfied.