BARKING DOG OR ANIMAL NUISANCE COMPLAINT PROCESS
Barking Dog & Animal Nuisance Ordinance
OC ANIMAL CARE’S OPERATIONS FAX NUMBER HAS CHANGED TO (714) 259-1087
This process covers complaints filed for violations occurring in the following cities:
San Juan Capistrano
Unincorporated Orange County
CLICK HERE for a Barking Dog Complaint Form
OCCO Sec. 4-1-3, Sec. 4-1-48, and Sec. 4-1-59 were recently amended. The amended ordinances take effect on October 12, 2017 and are effective in the cities and areas listed above. These changes allow for the civil citation process to be utilized for noise complaints involving animals other than dogs. These amended ordinances also allow for the issuance of a criminal citation following three (3) successful civil citations in a two (2) year period. OCCO Sec. 4-1-59 (as amended) also gives the responsible party 30 days to pay the fine associated with a civil citation.
OCAC facilitates the Barking Dog or Animal Nuisance complaint process, acting as an intermediary between the complainant and responsible person; and issuing a citation if necessary. OCAC does not investigate or make a determination that a Barking Dog or Animal Nuisance violation has occurred. OCAC can provide assistance mediating the circumstances of the issue or other information between both parties and can provide suggestions on how to resolve the issue with the animal in question. Citations are issued after the receipt of a second complaint and are based on the sworn affidavit signed by a complainant.
BARKING DOG OR ANIMAL NUISANCE CRITERIA
The criteria for a Barking Dog or Animal Nuisance violation are listed below. Complete definitions can be found in Orange County Codified Ordinance (OCCO) Sec. 4-1-3. For both types of complaints, the noise disturbance must satisfy at least ONE
of the following:
• 30 MINUTES
OR MORE OF INCESSANT
(NON-STOP) NOISE; OR
• 60 MINUTES
OR MORE OF ACCUMULATED INTERMITTENT
(ON/OFF) NOISE IN A 24 HOUR PERIOD
: Continuing without stopping, or without pause or interruption; unceasing
: Occurring in a non-continuous or non-steady fashion. Starting, stopping, and starting again. An occurrence with pauses or interruptions; occasional, sporadic
More detailed definitions of a Barking Dog of Animal Nuisance violation are listed below:
Barking Dog: a dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any noise for an extended period of time to the disturbance of any person at any time of day or night, regardless of whether the dog is physically situated in or upon private property. Such extended period of time shall consist of incessant barking for 30 minutes or more in any 24-hour period, or intermittent barking that accumulates to a total of 60 minutes or more during any 24-hour period.
Animal Nuisance: any animal other than a dog that makes a noise which emanates from the animal not resulting in contact with another object or structure. The noise must be for an extended period of time to the disturbance of any person at any time of day of night, regardless of whether the animal is physically situation in or upon private property. Such extended period of time shall consist of incessant noise for 30 minutes or more in any 24-hour period, or intermittent noise that accumulates to a total of 60 minutes or more during any 24-hour period.
WHO COULD RECEIVE A CITATION UNDER THIS PROGRAM?
Citations are issued to responsible persons. There may be more than one person responsible for a barking dog violation. A responsible person is defined as any one of the following:
A person who allows a barking dog or animal nuisance violation to exist, whether through willful action, failure to act, or failure to exercise proper control over a barking dog or animal nuisance.
A person whose agent, employee, or independent contractor allows a barking dog or animal nuisance violation to exist, whether through willful action, failure to act, or failure to exercise proper control over a barking dog.
A person who is the owner of, and a person who is a lessee or sub-lessee with the current right of possession of, real property in or upon which a barking dog or nuisance animal violation occurs.
THE BARKING DOG OR ANIMAL NUISANCE COMPLAINT PROCESS
An outline of the Barking Dog or Animal Nuisance complaint process is listed below.
The complainant must first initiate a complaint in writing, under penalty of perjury, by submitting a completed Barking Dog or Animal Nuisance Complaint Form to OCAC. Complaint forms can be submitted in the following ways:
OC Animal Care
Barking Dog/Animal Nuisance Program
1630 Victory Road
Tustin, CA 92782
OC Animal Care Shelter
1630 Victory Road
Tustin, CA 92782
(during regular business hours)
Initial Complaint Forms CANNOT
be submitted over the phone.
Once the complaint has been processed, an Animal Control Public Education Officer (PEO) will attempt to contact the owner or responsible person to explain the Barking Dog or Animal Nuisance complaint process and to help resolve the situation.
If the owner or responsible person is not available, a courtesy notice with an attached informational packet will be left at the residence. The notice will give the owner or responsible person ten (10) days to resolve the situation. Many complaints received are resolved after the delivery of the courtesy notice and do not escalate to the issuance of a citation. Be advised, OCAC does not provide identifying information of the complainant at the first step in the process.
The COURTESY NOTICE is NOT
a citation and is only meant to advise the responsible person of the complaint and of the ten (10) day period allowed to resolve the issue.
If the situation still occurs after the ten (10) day period allowed for the responsible party to correct the issue, a second complaint may be submitted to OCAC by the complainant. Second complaints may be submitted by speaking to a Barking Dog or Animal Nuisance Program staff member over the phone. At the time the second complaint is received, OCAC will schedule an affidavit appointment to meet with the complainant. If OCAC is not contacted within thirty (30) days following the ten (10) day resolution period, the complaint will expire.
If the complainant files a second complaint within the thirty (30) day period and before the complaint expires, they will be required to complete an affidavit, signed under penalty of perjury, attesting to the observed violation during the affidavit appointment in order to further their complaint to the issuance of a citation.
Once a signed affidavit is received by OCAC, a citation may be issued. The affidavit will contain name and address of the complainant. The responsible person will get a copy of the affidavit along with their citation. Civil citations may be either posted at the residence, mailed certified and standard mail, and/or hand-delivered. Posted citations will also be mailed to make ensure receipt of the citation. Criminal citations are issued in person.
The first three (3) citations issued for a Barking Dog or Animal Nuisance complaint are civil citations. After three (3) successful civil citations within a two (2) year period, the fourth citation issued may be a criminal citation. Criminal citations issued as a result of this process are issued for a violation of OCCO 4-1-48 (misdemeanor violation) and submitted to the OC Superior Court for processing and disposition. Civil citations, however, are dispositioned through an administrative hearing process.
CIVIL CITATION ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING
For civil citations, unless the responsible person elects to pay the fine associated with the citation, the citation will be scheduled for an informal administrative hearing so that a Hearing Officer can make a decision on the outcome of the citation. The complainant is required to attend this administrative hearing. If they do not, the civil citation may be dismissed by the Hearing Officer. The responsible person is also required to attend the administrative hearing if they chose to contest the civil citation. If a responsible party does not attend the administrative hearing, they will be unable to appeal the determination made by the Hearing Officer.
For civil citations, it is the responsibility of both parties to bring evidence or testimony to the administrative hearing. In order to be considered, copies of evidence or digital media must be submitted at the hearing. Copies will not be returned.
If the civil citation is upheld, the responsible person will have 30 days to pay the civil citation fine. Civil citation fines paid after 30 days will result in a late penalty equal to the amount of the original fine.
EDUCATION OR MEDIATION APPOINTMENTS
OC Animal Care staff are here to help. Education and mediation appointments are available services to participants of this program. An Animal Control Public Education Officer can meet with you, discuss the situation, and convey information to the responsible person at your request. This may help facilitate the resolution of this issue. Feel free to reach out and schedule a mediation appointment if you are involved in a Barking Dog or Animal Nuisance complaint.
OCAC’s Barking Dog or Animal Nuisance Program staff can be reached at (714) 796-6442.
Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday
7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
(closed on holidays)