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ASK A COP: What constitutes ‘nuisance’ when it comes to a barking dog?

ASK A COP: What constitutes ‘nuisance’ when it comes to a barking dog?

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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. Will the cops always show up when something like this is reported?

A. City ordinance does not outline a specific amount of time regarding barking dogs. The ordinance simply states an individual may not own “an animal that causes noise continually to the disturbance of the peace of the neighborhood.”

Since a specific time frame is not given, we revert back to the basis of most statutes and ordinances. What is reasonable? Now, if you truly let your dog outside, he yips a couple of times before you let him back in, and law enforcement is at your door, I can understand feeling a sense of harassment.

On the other hand, if you let your dog out five times each day and each time you let the dog out he barks for 10 minutes, I can see how a neighbor may find this barking disruptive and a disturbance of their peace.

As for the law enforcement response, we are going to show up when we get the call because that’s our job. Most officers will respond to the area and sit back and observe for some time to try and see the big picture. Is the dog barking just to bark? Is the dog barking because people are walking by? Again to determine the appropriate action based on what is reasonable.

Q. Does your dog have to be on a leash if it’s in your own yard? What about while playing fetch at a park?

A. So long as the dog stays in your yard, no the leash law does not apply.

Scottsbluff city ordinance states, “no domestic animal shall run at large in the city. An animal will be deemed at large when it is off the owner’s premises and not in a receptacle, enclosed vehicle, or on a leash.”

As for regular parks, leash laws still apply there. Ideally playing fetch would be better suited for your own yard but I understand not all people have access to that kind of space.

In that case, you can always take your dog to one of the local dog parks. Both the Riverside dog park and the Monument dog park are considered off leash areas where dogs are free to run and play. There is plenty of room at either park to play fetch.

Each week, Sgt. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by Star-Herald readers. Send questions for consideration to or by leaving your question at 308-632-9057.

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