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About dogs barking in the night

From Kimberly:

My husband and I have been living over near Oakwood at 34th and Q for a few months now… since living here, I’ve noticed the same dog barking relatively close by for hours on end every…single…night.

It drives me nuts because I’m a very light sleeper and don’t appreciate being kept up by said dog, but it also bothers me from a humane standpoint knowing that this dog is clearly quite unhappy being left outside all night, sometimes in sub-freezing temperatures.

My husband and I come from very different backgrounds, and he explained to me that “some people just keep their dogs outside all the time.” I can appreciate that, but I waffle back in forth between sympathy for the dog and feeling like Elaine from that episode of Seinfeld…

I was just wondering what other people thought of this concept of letting your dog bark all night outside? Is this just something I am going to need to get used to (I’ve lived in the city for years and dealt with all kids of noises) or am I not the only one that takes issue with this? Thoughts from the neighbors?

Also…does anyone who lives in this area know where this blasted dog lives!?

Thanks for the input!

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Katherine Jester
Katherine Jester 01/14/2017 at 10:25 AM

They can’t know there’s a problem if you don’t tell them. You owe yourself that, and I’m sure you would be nice about it. If (when) it continues and you have to get animal control involved, you have to ponder the consequences of that , for both the animal and neighborhood relations. But I agree with you, the dog shouldn’t be out all night if he’s barking, he’s stressed out and now so are you! Good luck. I hope you can find some common ground.

B 01/14/2017 at 10:51 AM

Having an outside pet is not an option in the winter. If the dog is left outside and it’s freezing, that is dangerous and abusive.

Eric S. Huffstutler 01/14/2017 at 11:16 AM

You can call the police anonymously since there are Noise Ordinances (Richmond Code §38-31, §38-32) outside of daylight hours of 7AM-MIDNIGHT. Some cities include dog barking under this but ours have it under Animal Control.

For Animal Control…. There is another Ordinance (Richmond Code §10-1 & §10-173) under the title “Proper Care and Control” that’s called a “nuisance” which says:

Owners must exercise proper care and control of dogs and cats and prevent them from becoming a nuisance. A nuisance animal is any animal that molests passersby, attacks other animals, trespasses on school property, recreational areas or playgrounds; is repeatedly at large; damages property, or barks, whines, or howls excessively. Animal control may issue a summons to the owner of a dog that is determined to be a nuisance.

With your situation I would think you could call either.

Kathleen Sanders
Kathleen Sanders 01/14/2017 at 11:22 AM

There is an outside dog in the 600 block of 34th but I don’t think that’s your problem dog. I agree that you should try to find out where the dog lives. You’re up anyway so why not try to resolve it? You could leave an anonymous note on their door. We have a dog door at the back of our house and the bedroom is at the front. One of our dogs was going out at night and barking and I did not know. A neighbor brought it to my attention very politely and I am grateful. Now I pay attention and ask my neighbors periodically if my dogs bother them. If this ends up as a case of abuse, which it would be if the dog is purposefully being left out at night, you’ve still given them the chance to take notice of their dog’s plight and do something better for their dog.

AC 01/14/2017 at 11:31 AM

By saying you’ve lived there “a few months” shows that you might not know the history of the neighborhood. I’m sure at some point this dog was there as a security measure. Many people in Jackson Ward and Church Hill got dogs to keep intruders and trespassers out. A lot of people have dogs that live outside full time in the country, it’s not much different in the city. As long as the dog has shelter, food, and water it’s probably ok. Now, I’m a person who would never treat an animal like that, and think it’s pretty cruel myself, but it’s not my dog. The barking being the issue is probably an actual city noise ordinance violation however, and you can likely call it in. Most folks appreciate a barking dog in the neighborhood for security, but if it just doesn’t stop and yaps all night then I might call it in.

Say What? 01/14/2017 at 12:19 PM

I had the same issue a number of years ago. Report them to animal control since animals are not allowed to be left outside in the cold. Don’t waste your time talking with the owners since they are obviously idiots and also when you report them they won’t know who did it. Keep reporting until the problem is solved!

Pedey 01/14/2017 at 12:24 PM

Some dogs bark because they are bored or conditioned to do so. Barking doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is distressed. A lot of people keep their dogs out all winter here, and unless the temperature is brutal, they do just fine.

In terms of what to say to your neighbor, I would only suggest to not make your first, second or third conversation with your neighbor about their dog.

In the meantime maybe try some white noise, BBC podcasts or some other soothing sounds to help you relax. You might even get used to it.

Spacecat 01/14/2017 at 12:52 PM

There are clear statutes regarding noise and dog barking on the books in the city of Richmond. Unfortunately, Animal Control and the police are not prone to write a citation for it.

I’ve dealt with the same issue for years. What was once a good relationship with my neighbors has devolved into a feud, because they just don’t care. They keep a black lab in a crate on their porch. Dozens of calls and visits fron Animal Control and the Police, and the dog still barks in the middle of the night, at any passerbys and the sounds of trains in the distance.

I’m told by AC that my only option is to keep a list of times and dates of the barking and use this info to initiate a lawsuit against my neighbors.

Kay9 01/14/2017 at 1:57 PM

If you’re cold; the dog is cold too. Prolonged exposure to cold temps is cruel.

Bryan Brodie 01/14/2017 at 2:35 PM

I appreciate Katherine’s comment but I suspect if you do find the owner, you’ll only get snapped at when you finally talk to them.

A few weeks back I watched from the end of our alley as a dog walker let his dog crap, then walked away without bagging it up.

I ran to catch up to him, mentioned that he had forgotten to clean up, only to be told with a completely straight face “no he didn’t, I would have seen it, that must be someone else’s”

Recalcitrant dog owners truly have no shame. Record the barking, share it with animal control, let them handle it.

It’s not worth getting assaulted or worse…

25th Street Michael 01/14/2017 at 3:41 PM

Well unfortunately welcome to the ‘city’. I would be nice and approach the neighbor first. If this doesn’t calm things, call the non emergency line of the precinct.

We’ve talked to two neighbors about their music being VERY loud at 9.30pm and later. And when that didnt work, I have not hesitated on calling the police. If it makes me that neighbor, oh well. Your drumming practice at 9.46pm on a Sunday itsnt normal and your protest music blasting at 10.30pm is not right. Good luck.

Eric S. Huffstutler 01/14/2017 at 3:43 PM

@8 Spacecat. As you know and I posted, there are ordinances on the books. That means the “city” is responsible for enforcing them. You should not have been told that your only option is engaging an attorney when it is “their” job to take care of the situation. That is what they are paid for and why the codes are on the books.

I would talk to city council as well as city supervisors if they are passing the buck. Or “12 On Your Side” for them to get to the bottom of the problems within the city.

Kimberly 01/14/2017 at 4:59 PM

Thanks to all for your input. I have actually lived in the city for over ten years, and Church Hill for 6…just moved in to this particular house a few months ago. I’ve dealt with all kinds of late-night noise over my years in Richmond, but they’ve been mostly human-generated…I wasn’t aware that dog barking could be called in, so that’s good to know. I guess one night I might have to do some investigating to figure out where this pooch resides and then determine a course of action! Thanks again everyone!

Eric S. Huffstutler 01/14/2017 at 5:05 PM

@11 25th Street Michael. I feel your pain but the police can’t really do anything about it until after Midnight since the ordinance clearly says that noise complaints have to fall outside the hours of 7AM-MIDNIGHT.

Travis Henschel
Travis Henschel 01/14/2017 at 5:39 PM

My wife and I just moved into a home on 29th and the neighbors dog barked all day into the late night then started again at 7 am. It was our first night in the house, so I don’t know if this was a fluke or not

M & K Whaley 01/14/2017 at 11:11 PM

I agree with the above comments about calling animal control. If the dog has not seen a vet and been given immunizations, and/or there are other signs of neglect or abuse, the owners will not get the dog back. The SPCA works with Animal Control to rehome their animals and the SPCA is a no kill facility. So, it’s a win/win for you and the dog.

Maggie 01/14/2017 at 11:25 PM

If you are a light sleeper a simple solution might be to buy a white noise generator. Most have several different choices of sound (white noise, pink noise, brown noise, etc.) and can be fine-tuned to best mask the sound of barking dogs. There are also many MP3 download options on Amazon that cost about a buck that do the same thing. Just search for “white noise”. I bought a little device called LectroFan for about $50 bucks and it works beautifully. The LectroFan is about the size of a hockey puck.

MP 01/16/2017 at 7:05 PM

What noise I wish we could reduce is the boom boom cars :-). Ah, young men . . . But seriously, hate the bass! Maybe if all the women got together and asked nicely to turn the bass off???

Eric S. Huffstutler 01/16/2017 at 7:49 PM

@18 MP… I like bass. Guess that comes from my disco era clubbing.

I hear fewer cars that use to be so loud that the windows pop out or the license plates rattle off the cars. And, I am sure it is damaging the driver and passenger’s hearing as well as being oblivious to emergency vehicle sirens. The decibels are so high that there is no discernible vocals to songs so, it was mainly a “status” thing. I think the negatives with all of it have outweighed the positive as time goes on? And it is not a cheap hobby.

My issue is with those who play music with vulgar and demeaning vocals so loud, that it is heard by impressionable children, or other people who do not appreciate the language. I thought there use to be codes on the books about that as well?

MP 01/16/2017 at 9:45 PM

That’s nice you like bass Eric, but a lot of people really don’t – gets under the skin and is very rattling. What gets me is how rude it is to inflict it on others. I guess that’s part of all noise complaints (dogs, music, bass, honking) – just seems so very inconsiderate to make loud obnoxious noises that bother others.

Eric S. Huffstutler 01/18/2017 at 1:04 PM

@20 MP… I like bass, not like these kids do with it turned up to the max on 1,000 amp speakers to a point it is only compressed noise. It is not like dance floor bass which is what I am use to. 🙂

Eric S. Huffstutler 01/18/2017 at 1:14 PM

BTW… it is State Law about cursing in public and is a Class 4 offense meaning a $250 fine.

§ 18.2-388. Profane swearing and intoxication in public; penalty; transportation of public inebriates to detoxification center. Put on the books in 1950 and updated in 1990.

Not sure about music that has it.. but would think so. I know in Arlington, they enforce it and have made many arrests. You will probably get more response about noise around here but only after midnight and before 7AM.

Eric S. Huffstutler 01/19/2017 at 2:56 AM

Here is something related to both the barking dog issue and loud music. This was an update to the City Ordinance being proposed by City Council in 2010. The article in part says:

“You could get a ticket or even jail time for being too loud, day or night, if someone 50 feet away can hear the noise that includes playing a musical instrument.”

Here is the article link:

After some tweaking in July 2011, it unanimously passed and, it does plainly state in paragraph 4 that music heard beyond 50 feet away from a vehicle is prohibited, day or night.

Paragraph 3 talks about a dog barking at least once a minute for 10 consecutive minutes and again, heard 50 feet or more away from the property. (also heard inside a dwelling as well)

Here is the entire current noise ordinance (dubbed Noise Pollution):

And one about decibel meters police are supposed to carry and how different sounds compare:

I hope this is enough reference material to educate our community and Richmond.

Annoyed neighbor 05/02/2017 at 10:56 AM

Same here, the neurotic neighbor dog barks at anything and anyone, whether it’s day or night. It has woken me up numerous times. The worst is when I’m just falling asleep and it starts barking. Oh, and the same neighbors keep their car with a faulty alarm outside. Just like the dog, that damn thing has a tendency to go off at anything, especially at night.

tiny 05/02/2017 at 11:52 AM

Some dogs are just very “barky”. It’s annoying. But does not necessarily mean abuse, so tread carefully and make sure you know what is going on before you accuse.

As far as the annoyance factor, not sure what you can do. Yes, there is a noise ordinance, so that may be a channel. I would try very hard to keep the peace as the owners of the dog may have been here for years or even generations.

MP 05/03/2017 at 12:03 PM

Eric (or anyone else) – do you know of any way to enforce the noise ordinance with respect to car stereos? I’ve called the non-emergency police line a few times and they say there really isn’t much they can do since the cars drive away and they can’t measure their sound. There are just some that actually shake my whole house when they drive by. So annoying!

MS 07/31/2017 at 9:56 PM

Did you ever figure out where it is coming from? We wake up and go to sleep to barking dogs. There are 2-3 dogs in the multi-family houses by the police precinct on 26th that are chained up and allowed to bark for 5-6 hours on end. We’ve made several attempts to address the issue in the nicest ways possible (offered leashes and playdates–haven’t involved police yet). Also, the Rottweiler at the gray house a few doors down from the precinct on P/26th stays outside for hours and barks at all the people in the apartments behind their house starting around 6:30-7am- owner is home and does nothing. However, the worst culprit is coming from slightly east and north of the precinct…I think this must be what you’re hearing? High pitched bark… and the dog barks until 10pm (barking now!), sometimes later and seems absolutely miserable. The noise is getting unbearable and I’m blocks away. I can’t imagine living on that block. There should be a welfare check bc that dog is clearly socially neglected. I can’t figure out where it is coming from.

Xaviersx 10/01/2017 at 4:31 PM

If people are inconsiderate enough to allow their dogs to bark in excess at any hour, they probably won’t do the right thing when addressed by neighbors. Barking noise carries for blocks, and through homes, and owners let it happen either because they aren’t home to discipline their pets or don’t care to (acclimated to it and don’t have regards for others).

There are several dog owners in and around the 3200 blocks of Grove and Hanover, allowing their pets to bark at each and every dog walker on the sidewalks, that adds up to a lot of barking every hour of the lit day, until they can’t see them and then the next.

Hence, use the laws on the books, most dogs are in violation of city/county noise ordinances, that carry fines for disturbing the peace at certain hours and/or for excessive lengths of time. Animal control and law enforcement may be the only recourse to reclaim some peace and quiet, as we don’t live in kennels.

jean mcdaniel 10/02/2017 at 8:11 AM

MP @ 20
Geese do not make ANY noise at night and the honking you hear in the early morning are geese that fly overhead going back to their grazing spots for the day. Same for any honking that may be heard at dusk. They are returning to their sleeping spots.

Dogs bark, cats screech, birds sing and geese honk. I have a neighbor who hates to hear birds sing and twitter!

jean mcdaniel 10/02/2017 at 8:27 AM

In an episode of Friends, Phoebe is dating a policeman who upon awakening in the morning is annoyed about a bird outside his window that is singing, so he shoots the bird.


Queen of Church Hill 10/02/2017 at 12:29 PM

jean mcdaniel – I think 20 is referring to cars honking, not geese honking

Liz 10/02/2017 at 1:24 PM

My guess is that the honking comment was related to cars….

MP 10/02/2017 at 2:30 PM

@29 Hi Jean – I did mean cars honking 🙂 I lived near your geese for awhile a few years ago and found them charming.

jean mcdaniel 10/02/2017 at 4:36 PM

Beecham and Liz,
Thank you!

jean mcdaniel 10/03/2017 at 7:55 AM

MP @ 34
Thank you for saying that. I am so used to being attacked about my geese that I cherish a kind word about them. My immediate neighbors love them and appreciate the fact that , !- we don’t have packages stolen from our porches
2-we don’t have solicitors walking up on our porches
3- we don’t have break-ins
Again, Thank You

Kathi Sanders 10/05/2017 at 8:39 AM

I can’t believe we’re having a geese/dogs convo in CHPN! This is so old school and I love it! Much more civil, too, than the geese vs dogs throw downs of previous years!! Personally, I have always loved the geese!!

Xaviersx 05/03/2018 at 7:59 PM

And the dog barking thing continues into the new warm seasons. These are issues that Animal Control needs to address with community awareness campaigns that nuisance noise from pets can have consequences for the owners. It certainly negatively impacts neighbors who didn’t ask for a randomize noise barrage.

Starsha 08/20/2018 at 2:51 PM

I am going through it with a barking dog in a four apartment building. I am upstairs and they are right underneath me. I don’t get it. After asking them to do something, they get the dog an anti-barking collar. That thing just made him angry. He barks loud, then yelps because of the collar. We have left a letter on the door, talked to both dog owners and still nothing. I tried to be neighborly about it, but the building is small and there is no respite from the barking. We don’t listen to loud music so there is no turning it up when he barks. I will be calling animal control. These apartments used to be so quiet you can hear a pin drop. Now this one little dog is giving me a migraine!

Noisy Neighbors - Church Hill People's News | Richmond, Virginia 01/23/2019 at 6:00 AM

[…] Dogs Barking in the Night […]


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