Barking Ordinance

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Effective May 16th, 2008!

San Clemente Municipal Code Section 6.10 It defines a BARKING DOG:

A dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any noise for an extended period of time… Such extended period of time shall consist of incessant barking for 30 minutes or more in any 24-hour period, or intermittent barking for 60 minutes or more during any 24-hour period. A dog will not be considered a "barking dog” if, at any time the dog is barking, a person is trespassing or attempting to trespass upon private property in or upon which the dog is situated, or when the dog is being teased or provoked”.

It defines who is a RESPONSIBLE PERSON:

"A responsible person is one who allows a barking dog violation to exist, whether through willful action, failure to act, or failure to exercise proper control over a barking dog.”

There may be more than one “responsible person” for a barking dog violation. Examples of responsible persons include but are not limited to; the person who allows the dog to bark and fails to exercise proper control over the barking dog; a person whose agent, employee or independent contractor, who allows a dog to bark and fails to exercise proper control over the barking dog; or the person who is the owner of the property, or a lessee or sub lessee with the current right of possession of the real property in or upon which a barking dog violation occurs.


Barking Dog Complaints will not be accepted anonymously. The complainant must go on record as the person who is disturbed by the nuisance barking situation. A complaint cannot be filed by a person on the behalf of another party. As an example, a property management company, or a landlord, cannot file a barking complaint on behalf of one of their tenants. Also, Barking Dog Complaints (once the complainant signs an affidavit) are considered public records. As such, the animal owner or responsible party may be provided the name and address of the complainant should they request such information and pay the applicable fee for a copy of public records.

The process for the Barking Dog Procedure is as follows:

  • The reporting party initiates the first complaint by mailing in the completed Barking Dog Complaint Form Click Here. When this first complaint is filed, an Animal Control Officer will make a personal visit with the dog owner or “responsible person” to notify them a complaint has been received, to offer information about the Barking Dog Ordinance and provide suggestions and educational materials to assist in resolving the barking issue. If the complaint is determined to be valid, the responsible party will be granted a (10) ten day correction period to resolve the issue.

  • Upon second complaint, the complainant must sign a sworn affidavit (issued by Animal Services), under the penalty of perjury, that the dog barking is continuing beyond the (10) ten day correction period and is violating the City Ordinance. An Animal Control Officer will then visit the dog owner again and may issue a citation for the barking dog violation.

  • The original barking complaint will remain on file and active for (30) days after the initial (10) day correction period. If a second complaint is not received from the original complainant in (30) thirty days, the complaint shall expire and the complainant must begin the process again

  • The dog owner, or “responsible person,” may pay the citation, or may appeal the issuance of the citation through an administrative hearing process. If an administrative appeal hearing is requested, both the Responsible Party and the Complainant are required to attend the hearing. If the Responsible Party fails to appear at the hearing the citation will be upheld and the fine will be due and payable immediately. If the Complainant fails to appear at the hearing, the citation will be dismissed. At the hearing, both the Responsible Party and the Complainant will be allowed to present evidence and witnesses to prove their particular position. The Administrative Hearing Officer will make the final determination to uphold or dismiss the citation at the close of the hearing. The Hearing Officer cannot reduce the fine. If the citation is upheld, the fine is due and payable at the close of the hearing. The Responsible Party may request the Hearing Officer allow a slight extension of time to pay the fine. Paying the fine, or requesting an appeal, does not resolve the Responsible Party from curtailing the dogs nuisance barking.

  • Barking Dog Fine structure
  • 1st barking dog violation citation issued (per violation)........................$250.00

  • 2nd barking dog citation within same 12-month period (per violation).....$275.00

  • 3rd barking dog citation within same 12-month period (per violation)......$303.00

  • 4th barking dog citation within same 12-month period (per violation)......$333.00

  • 5th barking dog citation within same 12-month period (per violation)......$366.00

  • 6th and subsequent barking dog citations issued within same

  • 12-month period (per violation).......................................................$403.00
  • Fines

    Fines are payable and due within (15) fifteen days from the date of issuance of the barking citation. Along with the citation, responsible parties will be provided a preaddressed stamped envelope with which to return the payment for the fine. Failure to pay a fine in a timely fashion will result in a late fee (see below), and may subject the responsible party to additional criminal process.

    Late Fees

    Any fine not paid within fifteen (15) days of due date shall be calculated as follows: The amount of the appropriate fine listed above added to a late penalty in the same amount as the fine such that the total amount due is double the unpaid fine amount.

    Appeals of Barking Dog Citations

    A responsible person may choose to appeal the issuance of a citation within fifteen (15) days of the date the citation was issued. An appeal shall only be valid if the responsible person both submits the City Barking Dog Citation Appeal Form Click Here and the City’s $25 twenty-five dollar appeal fee in a timely manner. Upon receipt of a timely and complete request for an appeal, the City shall provide the responsible person and complainant notice of the hearing date, time, and location. The hearing date shall be no less than ten (10) days and no more than thirty (30) days from the date the City receives a complete appeal. In that event, the fine is due and payable to the Hearing Officer at the conclusion of the hearing if the Hearing Officer upholds the barking dog citation. The Hearing Officer may allow the responsible person an additional period of time not to exceed ninety (90) days within which to pay the fine if, in the Hearing Officer's sole discretion, such additional time for payment is necessary.

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