Atlanta City Council bolsters limit on how long dogs can bark

Things are about to get rougher for parents of Atlanta’s yappy pets.

The Atlanta City Council this week passed an ordinance to reinforce the city’s existing “nuisance animals” law. If a dog continuously barks for 10 minutes or longer, the owner could receive a doggone fine of $150 for a first-time violation. Repeat offenses could result in a $1,000 fine.

Previously, Atlanta’s nuisance animal ordinance regulated pet noises made for 20 minutes or longer. But according to an ordinance from City Councilman Dustin Hillis, the 20-minute requirement is unreasonable and difficult to enforce by animal control or law enforcement officers.

Atlanta’s amended nuisance animal ordinance doesn’t let other pets off the hook for their noises either. According to the ordinance, this law applies to animals that bark, meow, whine, crow, or make other sounds common to their species.

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The ordinance applies to any person with full or temporary custody or control of an animal that is not contained in an enclosure that muffles loud noises.

Residents or businesses must live within a 1,000-foot radius of the property where the animal is making noise in order for the complaint to be accepted, according to the ordinance.

The nuisance animal fine can be issued when either an animal control officer or law enforcement officer receives reports about the noise from at least two unrelated adult witnesses from different addresses. The penalty could also be issued if an adult gives authorities a recorded video of the violation, or if the animal control officer or law enforcement officer witnesses the offense.

The ordinance does not apply to veterinary hospitals and animal welfare organizations.