How Long Can a Dog Bark Legally Before You File Complaint

How long can a dog bark legally in the USA
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Dogs are known for their vocal nature, using barking as a means of communication, alerting their owners, and expressing their emotions. While barking is a natural behavior for dogs, it can sometimes become a source of concern for neighbors and communities.

This raises an important question: How long can a dog bark legally in the USA before it becomes a nuisance and you can file a complaint or even call the cops?

Before you call the cops, file a complaint or even take legal action, it is important you understand the causes of dogs barking and the solutions and types of dog barking and their meaning.

How Long Can a Dog Bark Legally in the United States Before Calling Cops

California Ordinance for barking dog before you file complaint or call cops

California Law

Dog barking laws in California differ depending on local ordinances. However, most parts of California take it seriously. A dog barking for 30 minutes continuously is called incessant barking and a dog barking on and off (intermittent) over 24 hours is a violation of the

Under the Contra Costa County Noisy Animal Ordinance (Ordinance Code section 416-12.202), it is unlawful to have an animal that makes noise for an extended period of time and the noise disturbs any person at any time of day or night. A copy of the Ordinance can be found here

Each of the following persons (called a “Responsible Person” in the Ordinance) can be fined for failing to correct a disturbance caused by a noisy animal:

  • The owner of a noisy animal,
  • A person with custody or control over a noisy animal,
  • The owner of property where a noisy animal is kept, or
  • A person with custody or control of property where a noisy animal is kept.

An animal violates the Noisy Animal Ordinance if it causes a disturbance to a person by:

  • Making noise for 30 continuous minutes or more (“incessant“), or
  • Making noise for 60 minutes off and on during a 24-hour period (“intermittent“).

To file a complaint complete this form.


There isn’t a specific law but chronic barking issues can result in the issuance of a citation by Animal Control ​Officers. You can report a barking dog online or call 311.​

Riverside County

Ordinance 630 Section 14. Stray or Barking Dogs noted that, “it shall be unlawful for any person to keep or allow to be kept, or permit any dog to remain upon the premises under control of such person, when such dog habitually barks, whines or makes loud noises in such manner as to disturb the peace and quiet of the neighbors surrounding of such premises.”

Orange County California


Florida Law

How long a dog can bark legally in Florida depends on the county whether it is Orlando or Hillsborough.

Nuisance Animal Noise Ordinance:

On May 3, 2017, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners passed the Nuisance Animal Noise Ordinance. The ordinance covers any nuisance animal that barks, meows, whines or howls non-stop for 20 minutes or longer with less than 20 seconds of interruption during that 20-minute time period.

This does not apply to animal shelters, commercial boarding kennels or properties that are zoned for agricultural purposes. State law prohibits noise ordinances from applying to those agriculturally zoned properties.

Click here to report or file a complaint. Miami-Dade noise complaint number is 305-476-5423

Virginia Law

It depends on the county, for example, In Prince William County in Virginia, a dog is a nuisance if its barking is “audible at least once a minute for ten consecutive minutes.”

In Fairfax, a dog cannot bark at all between 10 pm and 7 am if your neighbor can hear it with their doors and windows closed. During the day, barking is limited to 5 minutes out of any 10-minute period. Overall, laws in Virginia concerning dogs barking are fairly strict.

Washington Law

Dogs in Snohomish County in Washington can not legally bark for more than 10 minutes every half hour (code 9.12.060).  Many Washington counties, like Clark, Oregon, City of Tacoma, Spokane County, Kennewick, City Of Oak Harbor, Pierce and King do not specify a time limit for a barking dog but do provide resources that focus on a peaceful resolution.

Click any of the links above to see how to report.

Los Angeles  barking Law

Los Angeles Law

It shall be unlawful for any person (hereinafter in this section referred to as the owner) to permit any dog or dogs under his or her charge, care, custody or control to emit any excessive noise after the Department has issued a written notice to the owner of the dog or dogs emitting the alleged excessive noise and after the procedures as set forth below have been followed.

For purposes of this section, the term “excessive noise” shall mean noise which is unreasonably annoying, disturbing, offensive, or which unreasonably interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property of one or more persons occupying property in the community or neighborhood, within reasonable proximity to the property where the dog or dogs are kept (Section 53.63 of Article 3, Chapter 5 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC)).

If you are experiencing a problem with a barking dog, you must submit a written complaint to the Animal Shelter serving your area.

To file a complaint, you must write a letter including the following:

  • Your Name
  • Your Address
  • Your Phone Number
  • Address of the barking dog
  • Description of the Problem
  • Your Signature

You can also file a complaint here or contact the Noise Enforcement Team at 213-996-1250.

San Diego Law

The City of San Diego Municipal Code, Section 59.5.04 states that reduced noise levels must be maintained within the City of San Diego generally between the hours of 10 p.m. – 7 a.m. in residential zones.

The San Diego Police Department does not respond to calls about barking dogs. Complainants can try talking to the owner, contacting the landlord or mediation through the National Conflict Resolution Center at 619-238-2400.

You can also submit a Request for Investigation to City of San Diego Code Enforcement.

Chula Vista

6.24.040Barking dogs, enforcement procedure and nuisance state that “Extended period of time” shall consist of incessant barks, bays, cries, howls, or other noise for 60 minutes or more uninterrupted in any 24-hour period.

How To File Complaint

A Chula Vista resident lodges a barking dog complaint form with the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility (“CVACF”). The complaint must state:

  1. the home address, email address and contact information for the complaining party;
  2. The address location of the barking dog; and
  3. Specifics of when and for how long the barking dog barks, bays, cries, or howls.

CVACF will not process a complaint without the above-listed information. The complainant must complete the complaint form in its entirety and mail or deliver it to the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility at 130 Beyer Way, Chula Vista, CA 91911.

Texas Law

Section 9: Animal Nuisances states “It shall be unlawful and constitute a public nuisance to keep any animal(s) that causes frequent, excessive or long continuous barking, whining, crying, meowing, howling, or other animal-related noise that interferes with public peace and comfort.”

To file a complaint, contact Animal Control with your name, address, and contact phone number, as well as the location of the nuisance animals.


Most municipal ordinances in Wisconsin don’t specify how long a dog can bark, but dogs who bark, whine, or howl excessively can be labeled a public nuisance and can incur fines. In most areas, it’s best to contact animal control. In City of New Berlin it is 10 minutes or more in a 15 minute period before you can file a complaint.

How Much is the Fine For a Barking Dog

This depends on the state or county. For example, in Orange County in California, it is :

  1. First offense: …..$250.00
  2. Second offense within same 12-month period: …..$275.00
  3. Third offense within same 12-month period: …..$303.00
  4. Fourth offense within same 12-month period: …..$333.00
  5. Fifth offense within same 12-month period: …..$366.00
  6. Sixth and subsequent offense within same 12-month period: …..$403.00

How To Report Dog Barking Anonymously

This might be impossible to report a barking dog anonymously because you must fill out the form with your name. However, it is best to discuss with the authorities about your intention to remain anonymous.

How Long Can a dog bark before Calling the cops

The permissible duration of a dog’s barking before calling the cops or local authorities varies depending on local noise ordinances and regulations. There isn’t a specific universally applicable time frame for when it’s appropriate to make a complaint. Instead, it largely depends on your local laws and the degree of disruption the barking causes.

Can Neighbors Call Cops on Barking Dog

Yes, neighbors can call the police or animal control authorities to report a barking dog if the noise becomes a persistent disturbance and violates noise ordinances or local regulations.

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