Residents of urban areas live with many different kinds of noise. If you are a Costa Mesa resident and the noise of a barking dog is disturbing you, information is provided in this section on what constitutes a violation of law and what happens when a complaint is filed with Costa Mesa Animal Control. Costa Mesa Animal Control recommends that neighbors make a genuine attempt to resolve the problem with the nuisance dog owner or other responsible person prior to filing a complaint.Costa Mesa Municipal Code (CMMC) Section 3-8 defines a barking dog:
“Barking dog” means a dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any noise audible beyond the boundaries of the property on which the dog is situated 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, baying, crying, howling or making of any noise for thirty (30) minutes or more in any twenty-four-hour period, or intermittent barking, baying, crying, howling or making any noise for sixty (60) minutes or more during any twenty-four-hour period. A dog shall not be deemed a “barking dog” for purposes of this article if, at any time the dog is barking, a person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon private property in or upon which the dog is situated, or when the dog is being teased or provoked.Barking dogs are unlawful pursuant to CMMC Section 3-113:
The City Council of the City of Costa Mesa hereby decrees that maintaining, keeping and/or permitting a barking dog, as defined in Section 3-8 of this Code, on any premises in the City of Costa Mesa constitutes a public nuisance. Every day the barking dog violation exists beyond the ten day notice period to correct the problem, as set out in Section 3-114 of this Code, shall be regarded as a new and separate offense.
If you wish to file a complaint about a barking dog, please call Costa Mesa Animal Control at 714-754-5311. Callers are required to provide their name, address and phone number, and the exact address where the barking dog resides (including apartment number if applicable). If the complaint meets the criteria violation pursuant to the barking dog definition in CMMC Section 3-8, an animal control officer will contact the person responsible for the barking dog and issue a verbal warning. The officer will answer any questions and leave an informational brochure with possible solutions to correct the problem.If there is no answer at the residence, the brochure and a door tag will be left informing the responsible person of the complaint. If a complaint does not meet the barking dog criteria as outlined in CMMC Section 3-8, no warning will be issued.
If a second complaint is received after a prior verbal warning was issued, the complainant will be required to submit a Barking Dog Complaint Form. If the submitted Barking Dog Complaint Form is complete and meets the criteria for a violation of law, the owner or person responsible for the dog will be given a written warning to abate the nuisance within 10 days.
If further action is desired by a complainant after the 10-day warning period, an animal control officer will respond and obtain the complainant’s signature under penalty of perjury on an Affidavit for Civil Citation. The officer, at his or her discretion, can then issue the responsible person a Civil Citation for violation of CMMC Section 3-113. The issuance and right of appeal regarding the citation will be pursuant to procedures set forth in CMMC Sections 1-34 through 1-48. The complainant will be advised that there will be no further action taken by Costa Mesa Animal Control unless the complainant is willing to sign the affidavit and attend an administrative hearing. Complaints must be received within 30 days following the conclusion of the 10-day warning period or the complaint will expire.
Fines are assessed for each Barking Dog violation citation issued during the same 12-month period. The first offense is $200. Successive offenses are $275, $303, $333, $366, and $403, respectively.
If you are the owner of a noisy animal, you may wish to speak to your veterinarian, dog trainer, or an animal behaviorist to learn why the problem is occurring and discuss available solutions.