10 Minutes Dog Barking = Possible Ticket

Centennial Passes New Dog Barking Ordinance

Tired of a constantly barking dog? Move to Centennial where the city council is regulating how long a dog can bark before the owner faces a possible ticket.

In Centennial you are now subject to a big fine if your dog barks more than ten minutes in a row.

The city took hundreds of dog barking complaints last year, and they say it's gone on long enough. So, in a unanimous decision, the city council has decided to put a muzzle on the problem.

“It’s very frustrating to be out at a bbq, or sunbathing or tanning and have a dog perpetually barking,” said Marjorie Ewing, Centennial resident who supports the ordinance.

Centennial has cut in half its continuous bark policy, from 20 minutes to 10.

“Anybody who’s lived next to a barking dog that has barked for 10 to 15 minutes knows that’s entirely too long,” said Centennial Animal Services field services manager Joe Stafford. Stafford is also the Douglas County Animal Services field services manager and the president of the Colorado Association of Animal Control Officers.

The new ordinance states that 10 minutes is the maximum time a neighbor must endure a "bark-a-holic" before the city takes action.

"We appreciate neighbors who maintain their dogs in a responsible manner,” said Ewing. "In this quiet neighborhood we're fortunate not to have that problem."

But not everyone is in favor of the new ordinance.

“It just seems a little bit extreme to me,” said Michelle Carter who has two dogs. “For outside dogs you can’t monitor them 24/7. And shutting them up for an 8 hour workday can be cruel.”

Whatever the case, when it comes to your dog’s bark, a persistent pooch in Centennial can land you in the dog house.

And the maximum bark time drops to five minutes at night, after 9 p.m. and before 7 a.m.

Animal services will hand out warnings on a first offense and then the fines begin. $50 for a second offense, jumping to $75, $100 and so on.

Animal services said it will enforce the ordinance through multiple complaints, video of dogs barking or in extreme cases officers will come out and monitor for it.

Under the city’s previous ordinance, a dog could bark loudly as long as it stopped before 20 full minutes of barking.

The enforcement clock effectively restarted if the dog took a short break, regardless of what time of day or night the barking occurred.

"We sat down for Christmas dinner and the dog next door started barking maniacally," Lynn Nelson told the council. "This is with our windows and doors closed. We could not hold a conversation at our table during Christmas dinner."

Animal control told 7NEWS the new policy cuts in half (to 10 minutes) the amount of time a neighbor must endure barking before the city takes action. At night, the time is cut to five minutes. Cumulative barking of 90 minutes in any 24-hour period will also constitute a violation.

A written warning will be issued to dog owners upon a first offense. If a dog owner gets a second violation within 12 months, they'll receive a summons and complaint. The first fine will be $50. It then jumps to $75 and $100 for successive offenses.

Animal control said their goal isn't to take dogs from their owners, the goal is to create more peaceful neighborhoods.

Last year, animal control received about 250 complaints and issued 19 actual tickets.