Madison police rarely issue tickets for loud dogs

February 17, 2018

In a Feb. 8, 2018 photo, Kiara barks outside a window at her home on Madison's North Side in Madison, Wis. The 4-year-old German Shepherd spends a lot of time in her small backyard and, according to her owner, is not friendly toward strangers. (Chris Rickert/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Madison police only issued 10 tickets for pets disturbing the peace over the past two years despite receiving more than 900 calls about animal disturbances.

Madison Assistant Police Chief Randy Gaber oversees the department’s field operations. He told the Wisconsin State Journal that loud animals are a low priority that officers get to when they don’t have more serious cases. In some instances, the wait for an available officer can be so long that the calls are dropped entirely.

What constitutes as barking that’s too loud can be extremely subjective, Gaber said. Officers must witness the noise in order to take any enforcement actions, he said.

Police have been called to Levi Aleman’s home more than 10 times because of his 4-year-old German shepherd’s barking.

But Aleman hasn’t been issued a ticket. Aleman said he’s likely not yet been ticketed because officers know he’s willing to work with them to keep her quiet.

“I’ve always found that they’re pretty understanding guys,” Aleman said.

Aleman’s neighbors have mixed feelings about the animal’s loud barking.

“That dog in general is a nuisance,” said neighbor Michael Hewitt. “It would be nice if the city did something about it.”

But Alisha Kushnaryov said that while she hears the barking, it’s not bothersome.

“It’s just become part of the normal noise that you hear,” Kushnaryov said. “I just kind of figure dogs bark.”

Dogs can bark for a variety of reasons, including separation anxiety or spotting squirrels, said Sandi Sawchuk, a clinical instructor in the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. Dogs with barking problems shouldn’t be outside unsupervised, she said.

“Once the dog alerts to something, that owner needs to call the dog to them ... and take the dog inside if necessary,” she said.


Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

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