Anchorage puts bite on barking dogs

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A new Anchorage law is putting the bite on barking dogs.

The assembly last week reduced the amount of time a dog can bark during the day to give a break to shift workers sleeping during the day, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Previously, dogs could bark up to 7 minutes during the day before animal control officers would consider a complaint. Now, the time has been reduced to 5 minutes of barking without the dog falling silent for at least 60 seconds. This matches the parameters for complaints during evening hours.

The ordinance actually covers all animal vocalizations. But “we’ve never had a cat-wailing complaint or a cow-mooing complaint. It’s always dogs,” said Bradley Larson, Anchorage’s animal-control enforcement supervisor.

After a first complaint, animal control officers send dog owners a warning letter and an informational pamphlet on barking, which includes information like: “With patience and understanding, you should be able to complete training in two to three weeks. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that you are making your dog a better pet and making yourself a better neighbor and citizen.”

Officials sent out 500 such letters last year.

A second complaint comes with a fine, ranging from $50 to $400 depending on if officers have had complaints about the same animal owner before. The city issued 27 tickets last year.

However, before a ticket will be issued, a second neighbor must verify the noisy animal or a visual or audio recording must be made of the barking dog.

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