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Paws & Reflect by Maui Humane Society
July 1, 2011 - Mark Vieth
My neighbor's dog won't stop barking!
If you live near dogs, it's expected you will hear occasional barking, whining, or howling. Dogs vocalize for many reasons: to greet, warn or chase off people or other animals, and to communicate feelings — boredom, frustration, fear, excitement, pain. It's not realistic to expect any dog owner — or dog — to stop all barking.
However, knowing why a dog is barking is the first step to controlling it. We urge neighbors to work together to identify causes and find solutions themselves.
However, if you cannot remedy the matter, call MHS. We will need you to identify the exact location of the dog. Unfortunately, if you don't know where the barking is coming from, we cannot legally address the problem.
The law defines excessive barking as “continuous barking for 10 minutes” or “intermittent barking for 20 minutes” by the same dog. In order for MHS to cite the dog owner, this standard must be proven. First we will ask you to document the exact times and dates of the barking. We then follow a standard process, contacting the owner, providing advice on how to control the barking, following up with further documentation if the barking continues, then moving forward with legal action. "Barking dog" cases can go to court, with fines issued if excessive barking is proven.
The most effective way to address annoying barking is for people to collaborate to solve the problem. Talk with your neighbor about their dog — allow them to remedy the situation. And dog owners, if your neighbor tells you your dog barks all day (or night) when you are gone, believe them! Be a good neighbor and a responsible dog owner.
This column was sponsored by a donation from Maui Accommodations Guide: www.MauiAccommodations.com.
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