The Cost of a Barking Dog

by TTMK on November 25, 2013 · 7 comments

dog_that_misbehavesHow would you like to be awoken quite often, in the middle of the night, by a barking dog?

Obviously, nobody would like that.  Of course, sometimes if we have a pet, we have to deal with some nuisances.  However, what if it wasn’t your pet that was disturbing you, but rather it was one owned by your neighbor?

I recently wrote about money and neighbors, and how my many years ago my father handled  a situation with a neighbor that had a problematic dog.  In that case, the dog caused a bit of property damage.  My Dad thought of the bigger picture, and didn’t make too big of a deal about it.  There is merit to that approach, and as I reflect on it, I like how he handled it.

Interestingly, I had a conversation just recently with somebody else about a totally different issue with a neighbor’s dog.  She handled the situation quite differently than my Dad did, and with a head-on approach.  I’ll share my opinion later.

The Issue

In this case, it was a retiree that we know who was being woken up in the middle of the night by a barking dog.  A neighboring family owned the offending dog, and this lady we know did not like the fact that the dog would bark at night.  Finally, she had enough – and complained to the neighbor.

Nothing ended up happening.  The dog barked late at night again, and disturbed her.  She complained about it to the neighbors – in the middle of the night – and wasn’t met with an overly friendly response.  This frustrated her, as she felt that it wasn’t fair for a dog that’s not hers to be disturbing her in this way.

How She Handled It.

She decided that it would be a good idea to complain to the city.  She spelled out the details of the situation, and filed a formal complaint against her neighbors.   They were subsequently notified that this violated a city ordinance, and that this letter was essentially a warning.   One more compliant, and the dog owners would have to pay a $5,000 fine!

Apparently, the dog owning neighbor wasn’t happy at all.  At least, that’s what can be inferred by what happened next.  She then had a couple of other neighbors knock and her door, and nicely try to convince her to rescind the complaint against the dog owners.  They tried to say that a $5,000 fine is a lot, and nobody would win if they had to pay that kind of money.

Then, the neighbors tried to convince other neighbors to sign a counter-petition of sorts, basically saying that their dog wasn’t a nuisance and didn’t bother anyone.  Seems like there were some friends sticking together in this case.

The retiree then went back to the town and reiterated her claim, and insisted that the dog wasn’t just some small nuiscance.  Rather, it was a bigger dog that bothered her quite a bit.  She was assured that they understood that there are different tolerance levels, and that hers was respected.  Thus, the counter-petition wouldn’t have merit.

The Outcome

The dog no longer barks in the middle of the night!  She doesn’t know what happened, and doesn’t care I would guess.  The bottom line is that the people took action to make sure that they weren’t creating a nuisance anymore.


Clearly, this is a different approach than I shared with the other dog story (by the way, I personally have nothing against dogs or other pets).  In this case, rather than not wanting to upset a neighbor, the lady fought back.  Frankly, I also respect this approach too.

The reality is that nobody deserves to be awoken by a barking dog at night.  I wouldn’t like that.  It’s no different than playing loud music at that time of night, either way the person is responsible.

Sometimes, when people don’t respect your wishes, you have to respectfully take stronger action.  In this case, it was by taking action involving money.  Nobody wants to spend $5,000, and many would clearly try to do whatever it takes to avoid that type of fine.   Without money at stake, the people ignored the problem their dog was causing.  With money on the line, they magically solved the problem.

There is a saying that there are different ways to skin the cat – in this case, even if it involves dogs 🙂  I think these pet stories are a good example of how we can handle situations differently based on our own personalities and those of the others involved.

My Questions for You

What do you think of how this situation was handled?

Do you see this as justified action by the lady (as I do), or do you see it differently?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Little House November 25, 2013 at 10:43 am

I’d have to say that her approach worked. A barking dog in the middle of the night would be annoying! I can’t say that I’d sit by idly and not say anything if it kept waking me up. However, I wonder what her relationship with her neighbors is like in her neighborhood now, although I’m guessing she doesn’t care. 😉


TTMK December 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm

My guess is that she cares but feels that she also shouldn’t be bothered in the middle of the night be a barking dog.


krantcents November 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm

My last dog did not bark! My neighbors were spoiled until he died. We adopted a new dog last winter and she barks when were not home. My neighbor told us about it and we took action. I think it was a much better solution to the problem. Besides it is not against the law for a dog to bark as long as it is not after 10 PM or before 6 AM. She would bark during the daytime or early evening when we were away.


TTMK December 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Good that you were able to take action. Interesting how where you are it’s not a problem for dogs to bark after 6am. Many folks are still sleeping then, that would stink be woken up early due to a neighbor’s dog! Maybe 9pm to 9am should be nuisance-free.


SuburbanFinance November 25, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Her approach may have worked, but I’m sure it was a hard spot for the neighbors with the barking dogs, too. I wouldn’t have gone that route, I probably would have just went to the dollar store and got a package of ear plugs for a dollar, but that’s just me 🙂


TTMK December 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Tough situation all around. I think dog-lovers might be more tolerant.


jim December 3, 2013 at 1:11 am

Actually, where I come from it is illegal to have an excessively barking dog ANY time of the day or night. There are no time restrictions on it. If my neighbor told me our dogs were barking (regardless of the time of day) to the point that they were bothering ANYONE (even hyper-sensitive types), I’d do whatever it took to put an end to that. It is just plain rude and un-neighborly to allow your pets to disturb your neighbor’s quiet enjoyment of their home.


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