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How Long Can a Dog Bark Legally in the USA? State By State Regulations

Written by: Jeff Weishaupt

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by Dogster Team

golden retriever barking

How Long Can a Dog Bark Legally in the USA? State By State Regulations

In a 2010 ordinance passed in the United States, a dog could bark for 20 minutes legally before the neighbors could file a noise complaint1. The ordinance was revised later to reduce the time to 10 minutes during the day or 5 minutes at night.

But even today, states and municipalities have individual laws on how long dogs can bark legally. As a responsible dog owner, you must ensure your pet is not a menace to your neighbors.

Keep in mind that these laws are not made to punish you or your dog. They merely ensure no owner is negligent with their pet’s noise levels. Check out this list to find out the legal dog barking duration for your state to keep yourself out of trouble.

The Dog Barking Laws in Each State

1. Alabama

Alabama does not have a law for dog barking duration. You’d have to speak to the dog owner about the excessive barking before going to Animal Services as your second resort.

If you have two incidents of excessive barking, you can file a court case, but you must provide evidence for your claim.

neighborhood corgi dog behind the fence barks
Image Credit: FellowNeko, Shutterstock

2. Alaska

Previously, the law in Alaska allowed dogs to bark legally for 7 minutes without being silent for at least 60 seconds. But now, the time has been reduced to 5 minutes. However, the legal barking duration for dogs of licensed mushers is 20 minutes.

Failure to exercise proper control of the dog, causing a public nuisance, can result in a $100 fine on the first offense and $200 on the second offense.


3. Arizona

Arizona doesn’t have any laws on how long dogs can bark legally. But if a dog owner is found guilty of disturbing citizens’ peace, they may incur a $150 to $2,500 fine.

However, this penalty does not extend to Maricopa Country. Here, you can call Animal Control to resolve the issue.


4. Arkansas

According to the Arkansas 04-18-2019A – Animal Control ordinance, no owner can keep a dog that barks, howls, or yelps excessively, disturbing the peace of the people living near it2. The ordinance sets no legal barking duration.


5. California

Californian dog barking laws differ across municipalities and local ordinances. In most areas, a dog barking for half an hour or longer is considered a nuisance. If a dog barks on and off for 24 hours, Contra Costa County residents can file a complaint per the Noisy Animal Ordinance.

In some areas, such as LA County, dog owners can be fined $1,000 or jailed for 6 months due to repeated offenses.


6. Colorado

Colorado barking laws differ across counties. In most areas, dogs cannot bark legally for more than 10 minutes during the day or over 5 minutes at night. Residents can file a complaint about dogs barking for 20 minutes between 7 am and 9 pm or 10 minutes from 9 pm to 7 am.


7. Connecticut

Connecticut does not set a duration for how long dogs can bark legally, but a dog owner whose pet is a nuisance to the neighborhood may be fined $60 to $100 in addition to a month in prison for the second offense.


8. Delaware

House Bill 84 in Delaware defines 15 minutes as the legal barking duration for dogs4. Dogs cannot bark on and off for 30 minutes or more. The ACT exempts dogs who may bark excessively if an intruder trespasses on their property.


9. Florida

According to the ordinance in Hillsborough County, dogs cannot bark continuously for more than 20 minutes without being silent for 20 seconds in between5. The law does not apply to commercial boarding kennels, agricultural zoning properties, and animal shelters.

Nuisance animal noise violations can result in the dog owner being jailed for 60 days or being fined up to $500. Every violation is a separate offense and is penalized as such.

Magyar Vizsla dog barks
Image Credit: anetapics, Shutterstock

10. Georgia

Dogs can bark legally for 10 minutes in Georgia. After that, the dog owners may incur a $150 fine for their negligence.

In response to the nearby residents filing a complaint, the local authorities first issue a written warning. If Animal Services receives another complaint about the dog within 90 days of this warning, they issue a citation.


11. Hawaii

The legal barking time for dogs in Hawaii is 10 minutes. Dogs can bark on and off for 30 minutes legally.


12. Idaho

Although there is no legal duration for which dogs can bark in Idaho, nuisance can cost a dog owner up to $300 in fines.


13. Illinois

In Chicago, dogs cannot bark for more than 15 minutes from 7 am to 10 pm or over 10 minutes from 10 pm to 7 am. If there’s enough evidence that the dog has barked for 20 minutes or more an hour, the dog owner can be convicted. The penalty can be anywhere from $100 to $500.


14. Indiana

The dog barking laws in Indiana differ across counties. But in most cases, the legal barking time is 30 minutes during the night and 20 in the day.


15. Iowa

Iowa does not stipulate a legal barking time for dogs. But the city law says that no dog should be allowed to create a nuisance or disturb the peace.


16. Kansas

Like Iowa, Kansas also does not have a legal duration for dogs to bark, but dogs should not be a public nuisance. A dog is considered a nuisance if it barks for too long and the neighbors testify under oath to its disturbance.

In some areas, such as Wichita, residents cannot file noise complaints themselves. Instead, they must work with an animal control supervisor to collect sufficient evidence.

animal control truck
Image Credit: Joy Brown, Shutterstock

17. Kentucky

In most counties, there are no stipulated dog barking times. But Crittenden County limits the barking time to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, other counties have fines ranging from $50 to $1,000.


18. Louisiana

The ACO (Animal Control Officer) in Louisiana has the authority to determine if a barking dog is a nuisance or not. According to the authorities, dogs cannot bark for more than 10 minutes continuously. It’s also illegal for a dog to bark for 30 minutes intermittently (on and off).

After multiple offenses, the state has the right to seize the dog from the owner or inflict appropriate fines.


19. Maine

The legal barking duration in Maine differs across cities and counties.

Here are some notable variations in laws:
  • York: Dogs can bark legally for 10 minutes. On-and-off barking for 30 minutes is allowed.
  • Farmington: The town is lenient towards dog owners and lets pets bark for one hour continuously. Dogs can bark on and off for three hours before the neighbors can file a complaint.
  • Wilton: Dogs can bark for an hour.

20. Maryland

There is no legal barking time, but it’s unlawful for a dog to be a nuisance. Residents can file a dog nuisance complaint through the police non-emergency number to the Office of Animal Services.


21. Massachusetts

Like Maryland, there’s no stipulated dog barking time, but residents can file excessive barking complaints.


22. Michigan

There is no legal barking time, but dogs cannot bark excessively or cause others to suffer from a nuisance. Offenders of this law may be fined up to $100 on first offense.


23. Minnesota

A dog cannot bark for more than 10 minutes continuously in Minnesota. The legal duration for intermittent barking is 30 minutes at any time of the day.


24. Mississippi

There is no legal barking time stipulated in most counties, but residents can file a complaint if a dog howls, whines, or barks excessively or continuously.

german shepherd dog howling in a field of flowers
Image Credit: Samantha Gould, Shutterstock

25. Missouri

Again, there is no stipulated barking duration. Counties have their own laws for excessive barking. For example, the City of Columbia’s noise ordinance allows residents to file complaints for any kind of excessive animal noise.


26. Montana

The state does not have a legal barking duration, but residents can file complaints if a dog disturbs the neighborhood.


27. Nebraska

Although there is no stipulated barking time, the owners are responsible for their pet’s actions. Any disturbance caused by the dog can result in a complaint.


28. Nevada

In Nevada, dogs who disturb the community’s peace to a “reasonable degree” are responsible for their owners being held liable for noise complaints, but the state does not stipulate a legal barking duration.


29. New Hampshire

Dogs can bark legally for only 30 minutes during the day or night. Any prolonged barking can result in a complaint from the neighbors.


30. New Jersey

Dogs are only allowed to bark legally for 20 minutes between 7 am and 10 pm. From 10 pm to 7 am, dogs cannot bark for more than 15 minutes continuously.


31. New Mexico

While there’s no legal barking time specified, the state takes dog nuisance complaints seriously. Residents can use this form to file their complaints. The dog owner has a week to address the issue.

Woman on computer doing research
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

32. New York

Dogs can bark legally in New York for 10 minutes from 7 am to 10 pm and 5 minutes from 10 pm to 7 am.


33. North Carolina

North Carolina does not specify the legal barking time for dogs. But it’s unlawful to allow your pet to be a public nuisance. Any disturbance caused by the dog can result in legal action against its owner.


34. North Dakota

There is no specific legal barking duration for dogs in North Dakota, but most counties take strict action against dog owners whose dogs disturb the community.


35. Ohio

If a dog barks excessively enough to cause a disturbance, the owner can be held liable. But the local law does not stipulate a legal barking time limit.


36. Oklahoma

In many areas, such as Tulsa, dogs cannot bark for more than 10 minutes continuously. The state also regards it as illegal for owners to keep dogs that howl or bark too much and disturb the local community’s peace. Residents who want to file a complaint must go to the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter and be willing to testify against the dog owner in court.


37. Oregon

The legal dog barking limits differ across counties. For example, dogs cannot bark legally for more than 10 minutes continuously in Multnomah. The legal duration is 30 minutes.


38. Pennsylvania

Like Oregon, the laws differ across regions. But in most municipalities, dogs cannot bark legally for more than 10 minutes and intermittently for 30. In some areas, like Pittsburgh, the laws may be different for apartment units and residential areas.

Dog Barking
Image Credit: dahancoo, Pixabay

39. Rhode Island

According to the Barking Dog ordinance in Providence, it is illegal for dogs to bark such that it “disturbs the peace of the neighborhood.” In Woonsocket, dogs cannot bark legally for over 15 minutes continuously during the day.


40. South Carolina

The rules differ for each county. Generally, it is illegal for a dog to bark continuously for more than 10 minutes, such as in West Columbia.


41. South Dakota

The local laws do not stipulate a legal barking time. But even a few minutes of uninterrupted barking can prompt a noise complaint. Repeated offenses can result in a dog being called a nuisance.


42. Tennessee

Laws differ across counties. For example, dogs cannot bark continuously for more than 30 minutes in Hamilton Country. Generally, the Tennessee law says that no person should keep a dog that disturbs the area’s peace by “frequent barking, whining, or howling.”


43. Texas

Dogs can bark legally during the day in a way that is not incessant or disturbing toward other people in the area. Excessive barking violates the Texas Health and Safety Code, which allows for a fine of up to $500. Other barking laws may depend on local ordinances for every country.


44. Utah

According to the Sandy Ordinance 03-01-16, no animal should “bark, whine, howl, or make other disturbing noises” in a way that disturbs nearby residents. In West Valley City, a complaint can result in a fine of up to $200 for the dog owner.


45. Vermont

There are no statewide laws regarding dog barking. However, local counties may have their own ordinances in place that allow owners to be fined for excessive or continued barking.

bernese mountain dog barking
Image Credit: Marefoto, Shutterstock

46. Virginia

Virginia has strict barking laws for dogs. In most counties, such as Fairfax County, dogs cannot bark legally for over 10 minutes continuously, but the regulations differ across counties.


47. Washington

While there is no specific state law about how long a dog can bark, counties have individual regulations. For example, the Snohomish County Code 9.12 declares continuous barking for more than 10 minutes in a 30-minute period an offense.

Other counties are also pretty strict about noise nuisances. Depending on the county, the dog owner may be charged with a misdemeanor or violation for any infraction of these laws.


48. West Virginia

West Virginia does not have specific legal dog barking limits, but most counties consider it unlawful for someone to own or harbor a dog that is unreasonably loud, disturbing the area’s peace.


49. Wisconsin

Wisconsin also doesn’t specify how long a dog can bark legally. But residents are allowed to complain about dogs who whine, howl, or bark too much. The local animal control authorities can provide better guidance to residents in every county.


50. Wyoming

The state ordinance does not specify a barking limit for dogs. Most counties prohibit keeping dogs that constantly or habitually bark in an annoying and unreasonable manner. Violation of the state ordinance can result in a fine.

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What to Do if a Dog in Your Neighborhood Barks Excessively?

A dog barking excessively can be a huge nuisance, especially if you have kids and the elderly at home. Here’s how to go about this problem:

Talk to the Owner

Before you reach out to animal services, bring up the subject with the owner. Be polite and tell them your concerns. Maybe they are not aware of the situation because their dog barks only when they’re away. Some dogs tend to do that due to separation anxiety.


Get in Touch With Animal Control Services

If the owner doesn’t pay heed to your concerns, talk to the local animal control authorities. They will issue a warning to the owner or take any other appropriate action.

Woman holding mobile phone
Image Credit: Unsplash

File a Complaint

The following line of action is to file a complaint with your local government. Call the police non-emergency number and submit your complaint. Make sure you document the barking pattern and provide evidence to support your complaint.

Depending on your state, you might have to testify about the disturbance in court. Get other neighbors involved—if they’re willing—to make your case stronger.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a dog owner yourself or live in an area with a lot of canine companions, it’s essential to be mindful of the laws and regulations surrounding barking noise complaints.

While most states do not allow legal barking over 10 minutes, others have a limit of 30 minutes. The legal barking duration for all states is shorter during the night since that’s when most disturbances occur.

If a neighbor reaches out to you to express concerns about your dog’s barking, take the issue seriously. Meanwhile, if you’re on the receiving end of this problem, take the necessary steps to solve it.


Featured Image Credit: Adrian_Sobotka, Shutterstock

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