How to File a Noise Complaint About a Barking Dog

Having a barking dog living next door is distracting, annoying, and frustrating, making it harder to work from home, get a good night’s sleep, or simply enjoy your home. Fortunately, there are ways to address the issue. You can address the dog’s owner directly to see if they’ll intervene or file a noise complaint with your landlord or the proper local authorities.

In this article, we’ll go over all the ways you can file a noise complaint about a barking dog.

Speak with Your Neighbor

In many cases, dogs bark or howl excessively when their owners aren’t home. As a result, your neighbor may not know that their dog is disruptive, so speaking with them about the problem is typically a wise first step.

When you speak with your neighbor, avoid being accusatory or aggressive. Instead, focus on how the situation is hindering your daily activities, such as your ability to work or sleep. Next, let them know you’d appreciate it if they’d work to address the issue. That way, you’re positioning the conversation as a request for help, which is often better received.

If the neighbor gets combative, defensive, or otherwise is clearly reluctant to take action, don’t engage in an argument. Instead, thank them for hearing you out. Then, document what occurred, including the day, time, and what you and they said during the conversation.

In some cases, the owner has a change of heart after they absorb what you shared. Since that’s the case, the situation may resolve even if they didn’t seem receptive initially. However, by documenting what occurred, you’re ready for any next steps if they’re necessary. Make sure to jot down any subsequent barking instances, too, allowing you to show that the problem is disruptive and ongoing.

Talk to Your Landlord

Renters are typically subject to a variety of clauses in their lease, and noise restrictions are typically part of the equation. If the neighbor is part of your apartment complex and has the same landlord, speaking with your landlord is the next best step.

When you talk to your landlord, describe the nature of the issue. Reference any incidents you’ve documented and let them know you tried to handle the problem directly. It’s also wise to mention any noise clauses in the lease the other tenant is violating, as that shows the landlord that you’re aware of the rules.

During the discussion, request a timeline for when the landlord is going to take action and document what you learn. Then, track if the barking dog remains a problem over the coming weeks.

Having some patience is wise, as it allows the landlord to approach the situation correctly. For example, they might have to notify the other tenant of a noise violation in writing. If that document is mailed, it can take several days to reach the dog’s owner, so keep that in mind.

If the barking dog is still a problem after one to two weeks, contact your landlord in writing. Submitting your complaint via email or a certified letter gives you evidence that you’re trying to get the issue resolved in the proper manner, which is helpful if you need to take additional action should the problem continue occurring.

Contact Local Animal Control or Law Enforcement

In most areas, there are noise ordinances or nuisance laws relating to barking dogs. As a result, if you and your landlord are unable to get the situation resolved, you can contact local animal control or law enforcement to file a formal complaint.

The exact process for filing a complaint can vary by municipality. Since that’s the case, it’s wise to research noise ordinances and nuisance laws in your area. Along with letting you see if the barking dog is a violation, it could let you know the best point of contact for problems of this nature.

Often, you’ll need to submit your complaint in writing or through a designated online form. When you do, make sure to refer to your documentation to outline when and how often barking is happening and the steps you’ve taken to try to resolve the matter.

In most cases, your neighbor will either receive a formal letter from the appropriate agency or a visit from an animal control or police officer about the problem. They’ll inform the neighbor that their dog is violating noise or nuisance laws and let them know what may occur if they don’t get the situation under control.

After that, wait two weeks to see if the barking stops. If not, submit another written request to the appropriate agency. That typically escalates the matter and could result in a variety of penalties for the dog owner.

Consider Moving

In some cases, a barking dog problem that isn’t going away makes moving a smart idea. If you’re near the end of your lease and you have the means to find a new place, start your search right away. By doing so, you can potentially secure a property, provide your landlord with appropriate notice, and seamlessly transition into a quieter home.

Even if your lease isn’t getting close to ending, you might have the option to move if you and the neighbor have the same landlord. If the landlord fails to address the barking dog and that noise is a clear violation of the lease, you might be able to break your lease without facing any penalties.

Whether breaking your lease is plausible can depend on local landlord-tenant law or clauses in your lease that outline tenant rights to “quiet enjoyment.” While quiet enjoyment is typically directed at landlords, ensuring their activities don’t disrupt their tenants excessively, some interpretations also cover landlords failing to address noise issues involving their other renters.

With proper documentation about your attempts to remedy the problem and the landlord’s failure to fix the issue, that could give you enough to break your lease without penalty.

File a Lawsuit

If landlord, local animal control, or law enforcement agency intervention doesn’t resolve the problem and moving isn’t a solid option, you can potentially file a lawsuit over the barking dog being a nuisance. The steps you’ll need to take or the evidence you need to acquire before filing can vary by jurisdiction, so review local requirements.

Typically, it’s best to consider a lawsuit a last resort. Along with being time-consuming, a suit is often expensive. As a result, moving is usually a better choice, but this is technically a path that’s on the table.

Note: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.