Here again, a few irresponsible dog owners and a few dog-hating people manage to get an ordinance passed that will make it difficult for ALL dog owners in Los Angeles.
As a lawyer, the first thing I look at in a new law is the language. In this ordinance, the first glaring red flag is the word “excessive”.
What is excessive barking? Some people think hearing the sound of a dog at all is excessive, while others don’t find barking excessive unless it continues non-stop for hours a day. Others, don’t care during the day, but most people would agree it is unacceptable at night.
What does Los Angeles define as excessive barking?
“A dog’s barking would be considered excessive if it continued for 10 minutes or more, or intermittently for 30 minutes or more within a three-hour period”
Next red flag. “INTERMITTENTLY.” Define that!?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Who came up with these definitions?! By this rule, if 1 person every five minutes walks by my yard and my dog barks for 15 seconds as they pass by, I could be subject to prosecution. If a squirrel in a tree throws pecans at my dog for 15 minutes in the middle of the day, I could be subject to prosecution.
This law puts the average dog squarely in the cross-hairs of any unreasonable, dog-hating neighbor. The sound of dogs barking intermittently all day long in my neighborhood is the norm. But I don’t live in LA. THANK GOD!
The punishment? Fines start at $250 and go up to $1000.
To all responsible dog owners in LA, my condolences. To all burglars in LA…..there will soon be fewer dogs barking at you.