Barking dog complaints are barking up the wrong tree


COLUMBUS- Police in Columbus say if you want to complain about your neighbor’s barking dog, don’t call 9-1-1.

“It’s a filler run, it takes our time from doing other things that are more important,” says Officer Scott Clinger who patrols the Precinct 18 on the north end of Columbus.

Clinger along with other Community Liaison Officers say barking dog complaints are getting out of hand. And as the weather turns warmer, the complaints start to pick up, especially in the month of March.

Based on numbers provided by Columbus Police, the number of animal complaints averages as high as nearly 10 calls a day.

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Clinger says each of those calls takes time away from what officers feel could be more priority ones compared to a noise complaint.

“Cars get broken into, garages get broken into... everything you can imagine happen will happen during that time,” explains Officer Clinger. “We're not able to do much about it because we're taking a report off something that we really can't do anything about.”

To reduce calls for service related to animal complaints, Columbus Police along with City Attorney Zach Klein’s office are putting out a “how-to” guide on what to do instead of calling 9-1-1.


The problem of excessive dog barking has been a long unaddressed issue. The Columbus City Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of City Attorney Zach Klein, is committed to addressing this quality of life issue.

The first action to take when dealing with a barking dog problem is to contact Chief of Staff Bill Hedrick at (614) 645-8874. Mr. Hedrick or a member of the staff, will assist you with other dog issues.

Excessive dog barking solutions may include the following:

1. A noisy animal warning letter can be mailed to the address where the dog in question resides. We do not disclose the identity of the person who has called our office to complain about the noisy animal. A vast majority of barking dog issues are resolved at this step.

2. Mediation can be scheduled in our office to allow the parties to discuss the matter. Our Night Prosecutor Mediation Program has a long history of successfully handling this type of neighborhood problem.

3. If the problem persists despite a warning letter and mediation, prosecution exists as a final option. Noisy Animals is a minor misdemeanor under the Columbus City Code and a violation is punishable by a fine of up to $150. To prosecute this offense, our office requires the following types of evidence:

A. The barking must happen within the city limits of Columbus. You must also provide the dog owner’s name. If the owner’s name is not available, our Intake Unit can attempt to acquire the information.

B. To prosecute a case, you must provide exact dates and times the barking has taken place. Simply stating “the dog barks every day” is NOT sufficient evidence to file a criminal charge. The evidence you submit should also include one or two other households in the area that will confirm the dates and times the barking occurred. Video and/or audio tape recordings of the barking are also very helpful. Generally, 20 minutes or more of audio demonstrating continuous barking is needed to create a strong case.

Please note: Dogs will bark. Unless the barking is excessive, it is NOT considered criminal. Be advised that in order to pursue a criminal charge (as explained in #3 above), you will need to file a complaint through the Intake Unit at the Columbus City Prosecutor’s Office, 375 South High Street, 7th Floor. If charges are approved, you may be required to appear in court several times.