Columbus police burdened with barking dog complaints


The Columbus Division of Police says as the weather gets warmer, the number of animal complaints, like barking dogs, spikes.

From March to June, police receive an average of 200 to 300 complaints. That adds up to as many as 10 calls every day.

Columbus Police Liaison Officer Scott Clinger says reporting the problem to police dispatchers isn't the best solution.

"There's not a lot we can do with it," said Officer Clinger. "It takes our time from doing other things that are more important ."

Officer Clinger emphasized that doesn't mean chronic barking shattering the peace of a neighborhood isn't a problem.
Three Columbus neighborhoods top the list with the most animal complaints.

That includes the neighborhood east of I-71 from Cooke Road to the north and East Hudson Street to the south, and two neighborhoods on the west side of the city, including west Broad Street from Harrisburg Pike to Georgesville Road.

Police say if you're tired of listening to excessive barking, don't call 911.

Instead, the Columbus City Attorney's office is set up to deal with your complaint. Columbus police say you can file a barking dog complaint by calling 614-645-5807.

City prosecutors may send a noisy animal warning letter to the address where the dog resides. The city won't disclose the identity of the person who is complaining and said a vast majority of barking dog issues are resolved at this step.

However, if a warning letter fails to correct the problem, prosecutors can set up a face-to-face mediation for both sides to meet and talk about the problem.

If the problem persists despite a warning letter and mediation, prosecution is a final option. A noisy animal violation is a misdemeanor under Columbus City Code and punishable by a $150 fine.

In order to file a criminal complaint, you must visit the Intake Unit at the Columbus City Prosecutor's Office at 375 South High Street on the Seventh floor.

To prosecute a case, you must be able to provide the dog owner's name and provide exact dates and times the barking has taken place. Police say video or audio recordings with at least 20 minutes of continuous barking, are helpful to build a strong case.

Officer Clinger said it can sometimes take up an hour of a police officer's time to document a barking dog complaint, and that's time police could be proactively patrolling your neighborhood and deterring would-be criminals.