Legal Corner: Who do I complain to about constant dogs barking all hours of the night and day?

Published: Mar. 22, 2017 at 1:45 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2017 at 11:58 AM CDT
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Question: Who do I complain to about constant dogs barking all hours of the night and day? There's no one living there – just four dogs. I've contacted animal control several times, but I haven't seen any progress?

To clarify – incessant or late-night barking is definitely a violation of the parish's "Nuisance Animal" statute. Section 5-43 defines a nuisance animal in several ways, one of which is in section 43(a)3: One that "barks, whines or howls in an excessive, continuous or untimely manner." It also has fines for each violation, with the penalty for the 4th offense being impoundment of the animals. Although no one lives there, the owner of the property is the one to be held responsible for activities there.

It can be frustrating when enforcement of these ordinances moves slowly – especially when the dogs never seem to be barking when the animal control officer is present! However, since you are the victim in this scenario, you are in a unique position to gather evidence to present to the enforcement officer. So, what the viewer should do is (1) tape or record the dogs barking, being sure the time of day is noted, (2) tape/record the dogs every time they bark after hours or during the night, with proof it is on a different day each time, and (3) be ready to hand over (or email) copies of the dogs barking to the officer so as not to lose your original recordings. That should be enough, but if a hearing is required, you may also need to testify.

Question: I'm very excited and a fan of the expansion of LC, but the hotel construction taking place at 12:02 a.m. with stadium lights blaring into my house is disturbing. After a call to city police, the construction workers tilted one of two sets of the lights ever so slightly, still leaving my home lit up. Isn't there an ordinance?

One of the side effects of the economic boom is these types of "growing pains"! According to the city's attorneys, there are noise ordinances but no lighting ordinances. If you believe the work and the inconvenience will carry on more than a few days, their suggestion is to (similar to the other viewer) gather evidence of your claim. However, this will have to be handled in a civil capacity, possibly in the form of filing an injunction. It would also be wise to check with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing the same issue and ask if they would be open to pooling everyone's resources to file the injunction (a "strength in numbers" approach).

Disclaimer: The information furnished in this answer is general and may not apply to some situations. All legal situations are unique. No one should rely to their detriment on these answers. Anyone with a potential legal problem should seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any action or inaction. The answers provided are not intended to be specific legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created between the SWLA Law Center and the viewers of KPLC TV.

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