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Barks From Jacksonville Dogs Will Start Costing More Owners Bucks

Steve Baker

Updated 5:30 p.m. July 29

Jacksonville has cracked down on nuisance animals.

A City Council bill passed Tuesday, making it easierfor annoyed neighbors to report noisy animals.

Original report

On a residential Riverside street Monday, a couple of dogs are playing in a gated front yard — and barking.

As of now, neighbors can only complain if these dogs bark continuously for at least 30 minutes. But if the bill passes Tuesday, 20 minutes will be the new threshold.

That's because, Councilman Jim Love, who's sponsoring the bill, said in a recent committee meeting, 30 minutes is just too long.

And Animal Control and Protective Services Division Chief Jim Crosby agreed, saying a change improves his officers’ ability to respond to complaints.

But in order to prove these barking dogs are in fact nuisances, it would currently take two witnesses. Crosby says that’s a problem, too.

“The current status would require you to find somebody else to come over to your house who doesn’t live with you, who's not related to you to witness the offense and submit an affidavit. That’s a bit onerous for a lot of our community,” he said at last week’s committee meeting.

That’s why the bill will allow for a single person to submit a complaint, along with video evidence capturing the animal’s offense.

That would also apply to complaints about a loose or aggressive animal.

Barking fines start at $200 and go up for repeat offenses, it also applies to other noises other pets might make: meowing, whining and howling are included as examples in the bill.  

But Crosby says fines aren’t mandatory, especially for a first offense. He says he tells officers to educate first.

And there are exceptions to the noise rule, like if the property is zoned agricultural or for a commercial boarding kennel.

Council will vote on the bill Tuesday night. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. at City Hall downtown. 

Photo used under Creative Commons

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.