Q. Can my neighbor really mow their lawn at 6 a.m.?
A. Generally speaking, yes, they can. The usage of construction equipment and/or demolition equipment is specified by ordinance to only be used between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Lawn mowers aren’t considered to be construction equipment and don’t really fit the excessive or unusually loud portion of the ordinance. Excessive noise is considered making/creating excessive, unnecessary, or unusually loud noises within the corporate city limits and the extent and volume of such noises is increasing. The making/creating or maintenance of such excessive unnecessary or unusually loud noises which are prolonged, unusual, or unnatural in their time, place and use affect and are a detriment to public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare, and prosperity of the inhabitants of the City.
Within the following things are specifically named as loud, disturbing, and unnecessary noises; blowers, blower fans, pile drivers, hammers, steam shovels, pneumatic hammers, steam or electric hoists, steam whistles and engine breaks. There are also rules regarding exhausts, mufflers, horns, etc.
Unless there is something unique about your neighbor’s lawn mower which creates an unusual noise or unless you have reason to believe your neighbor is intentionally mowing at a certain time to disturb you, it is acceptable for them to mow during this time.
Q. How long does a dog need to be barking for it to be considered a nuisance and actionable by the police? My neighbor keeps harassing me, though my dog only barks for a small amount of time.
A. Scottsbluff city ordinance does not set forth a specific amount of time regarding barking dogs. The ordinance references “an animal that causes noise continually to the disturbance of the peace of the neighborhood.”
Without a specific time frame laid out, officers look at what is reasonable. In reality that’s what most laws are centered on, what a reasonable person would consider to be.
In the instance of a barking dog, officers generally respond to the area and stay back and observe for some time to see if the dog truly is being disruptive to the peace of the neighborhood. Officers weigh out the entirety of the circumstance. Things taken into consideration are; excessiveness, whether the dog is barking at people walking by, or is the dog just barking at nothing.
Again, we circle back to reasonable. Evaluate the circumstance in which your dog barks. Are there improvements you could make as a pet owner to help the situation? If you think you are doing all you can and the dogs barking isn’t excessive, consider having a conversation with your neighbor and try to reach a common ground.
Sgt. Krisa Brass is with the Scottsbluff Police Department. She will answer questions submitted by readers each week. To submit a question for consideration, email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your question in a message, 308-632-9057.