Ordinance Aims to Quiet Barking Dogs

New ordinance could fine pet owners for noisy dogs

By Matt Bartosik
|  Friday, Sep 11, 2009  |  Updated 1:11 PM CDT
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Weirdest Creatures of the World

A new ordinance could fine pet owners who can't keep their dogs quiet.

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Ald. Wants You to Keep Your Dog Quiet

A incessantly barking dog could soon affect owners' wallets if some Chicago aldermen get their way.
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We're sure your dog is adorable. It's great that he's potty-trained and knows a bunch of tricks. But for many Chicagoans, the only trick we're interested in is his ability to keep reasonably quiet.

At least two aldermen feel the same way, and they introduced a proposal Wednesday that would fine pet owners for having a dog that barks incessantly.

Aldermen Richard Mell (33rd) and Pat O'Connor (40th), in response to several constituents' complaints about neighbors' dogs, authored the ordinance which would land a fine on irresponsible dog owners that can't keep their dogs quiet.

"People have called our office and said, 'Would you mind talking to the neighbor about the dog barking?'" Mell said. "Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't."

The Trib reported that the ordinance is focused on those pooches who bark constantly, not just a one-time offense. If the proposal is passed, police or other city employees would have the authority to write a ticket with a fine of $50 to $250.

Ideally, the ordinance would target those dogs that bark, whine, cry, or howl all night long, disturbing people's sleep.

But how will this law be enforced? How loud does a dog's whimpering have to be before it's too loud?

Enforcement will rely on the discretion of the officer called to the scene. Reportedly, the noise must be "louder than two people talking at a distance of 100 feet or more."

Oh yeah, that sounds like a scientific measurement.

Your dog's bark may be worse than his bite, but now it may be bad enough to earn a fine.

Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, lets sleeping dogs lie.

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