The bill would impose fines on people whose dogs bark excessively.

Homeowners could be soon be fined for their barking dogs 

Jarek RutzGovernment, Headlines

 

The bill would impose fines on people whose dogs bark excessively.

The bill would impose fines on people whose dogs bark excessively.

A bill that would shift the burden away from police while also establishing monetary fines for homeowners with excessively barking dogs was unanimously supported in the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday.

House Bill 124, sponsored by Rep. Eric Morrison, D-Glasgow, eliminates animal noise and noise disturbances from the Noise Control and Abatement Chapter in Delaware Code. 

It clarifies that the Office of Animal Welfare and Department of Agriculture has the authority to enforce all state laws relating to the protection and control of animals with, as occasion requires, the assistance of police officers. 

HB 124 prohibits the owner or person in possession or control of a dog from allowing the dog to bark for an extended period, defined as continuously for 15 minutes or more, or intermittently for 30 minutes or more. 

It exempts barking dogs if:

  • A person is trespassing on private property
  • An animal is intruding on private property
  • The dog is being teased or provoked. 

It also exempts dogs located in animal shelters, pet stores, dog grooming facilities, veterinarian offices and animal clinics. 

More exemptions are if the dog’s engaged in dog training, dog exhibition, lawful performance competitions, hunting and herding. 

Penalties include a first warning, $50 for a second violation, $100 for third violations and $150 for all violations after. 

There is a state cost of about $240,000 each year for personnel operations, specifically with the Office of Animal Welfare.

There was no discussion about how this would work in real time, how long it would take officers to react to calls and what that would mean to the average resident.

HB 124 now moves on to the full House floor.

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