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How Long Can Dogs Bark Legally In The USA? Your Complete Guide To Dog Barking Laws - PawSafe
Dog Training

How Long Can Dogs Bark Legally In The USA? Your Complete Guide To Dog Barking Laws

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

how long can dogs bark legally in the usa

The answer to how long dogs can bark legally varies depending on the state laws and county ordinances where you live. Of course, being a responsible owner means ensuring your dog doesn’t bark too much by making sure they get enough exercise and investing in puzzle toys like snuffle mats to play with while you’re gone. 

In previous articles, we’ve covered what to do if your dog barks at nothing, barks at night, barks in your car, or has separation anxiety. So, if your dog is barking excessively, be sure to read these resources. However, it’s also important to know what to do if someone else’s dog is barking excessively too.

In our table below, we will outline various city and county ordinances and by-laws in the USA to give an overview of how long a dog can bark, depending on where you live. We will also give guidelines for what you should do if you have a barking dog problem in your area.

Remember, local ordinances are not meant to punish dogs for barking. Rather, they are designed to protect the peace and quiet of neighborhoods and prevent excessive barking that could be considered a nuisance. Additionally, these laws often only apply to residential areas and not to commercial or rural areas.

What is considered excessive dog barking?

What is considered excessive dog barking?

Excessive dog barking is subjective and can depend on various factors, including the time of day, the location, the duration, and the reason for barking. However, in general, excessive dog barking is any prolonged, frequent, or loud barking that disturbs the peace of the surrounding environment and causes annoyance or inconvenience to others.

It is important to note that occasional barking is a natural behavior for dogs and should not be discouraged entirely. Practices like debarking or even barking collars are cruel, so one needs to invest in humane practices to stop excessive barking.

What To Do If A Neighborhood Dog Won’t Stop Barking

If there is a dog in your neighborhood that won’t stop barking and it’s causing you distress, there are several steps you can take to address the situation in the USA:

Talk to the dog’s owner

The owner may need to be made aware of the issue and may take steps to address it. Approach them calmly and politely, and try to work together to find a solution.

Keep a record:

If talking to the dog’s owner doesn’t resolve the issue, start keeping a record of the times and duration of the barking. This information may be useful if you need to file a complaint with your local government or animal control.

Contact your local animal control

 If the dog’s barking continues to be a problem, you can contact your local animal control agency. They can investigate the situation and may issue a warning to the dog’s owner or take further action if necessary.

File a complaint

If the problem persists, you may need to file a complaint with your local government or law enforcement agency. Check your city or county’s website or call the non-emergency number to find out the proper procedure for filing a complaint. You may need to provide evidence of the barking, such as video or audio recordings.

Consider legal action 

If all other options have been exhausted and the dog’s barking continues to be a significant disturbance, you may need to consider legal action. Consult with an attorney specializing in animal law to see if you have a case and your options.

How Long A Dog Can Bark Legally? Looking At US State Laws

StateLaw


Alabama
There are no state ordinances or laws in Alabama for barking dogs. People who want to address a barking dog problem need to speak to the owner first and then call Animal Services. Two complaints with animal services can be enough for a court case, but the complainant will need to go to court to prove their case with evidence of the nuisance barking.


Alaska
Dog barking laws in Anchorage, Alaska, differentiate between normal dog owners and licensed mushers. The average pet dog can not bark more than five consecutive minutes and “disturb the peace.” Licensed mushers are allowed to have their dogs bark up to 20 minutes in a row before getting into trouble.
ArizonaPhoenix, Arizona municipal by-laws do not stipulate how long a dog can bark but if somebody is found guilty of a civil violation of having a dog that disturbs the peace, they can be fined between $150 and $2500. 
But in Maricopa County, no penalties exist. Animal Control can be called in to help resolve the issue between neighbors.
CaliforniaDog barking laws in California differ depending on local ordinances. However, most parts of California take it seriously. A dog barking for 30 minutes continuously is called incessant barking and a dog barking on and off (intermittent) over 24 hours is a violation of the Noisy Animal Ordinance in Contra Costa County. According to LA County Code Section 10.40.065, dogs who continuously disturb the peace can cause their owner’s to be liable for a $1000 fine or up to 6 months in jail.
ColoradoIn Colorado, dogs who bark continuously for 20 mins between 7 am and 9 pm or for 10 minutes between 9:01 pm and 6:59 am can be the subject of a noisy dog complaint. Further laws and restrictions depend on the individual county. In Centennial, dogs are only allowed 10 mins of consecutive barking during the day and 5 at night.
ConnecticutConnecticut law mostly does not specify how long a dog can bark for legally. But owning a dog that does bark enough to be a nuisance can make you liable for a $60 fine and another $100 and up to 30 days in prison if the first warning is ignored. The law also specifies that the dog should not annoy any sick person in the area.
D.C.The law in Washington D.C. does not specify how long a dog can bark for but it does say that “No person shall own or keep a dog that, by barking or in any other manner,
disturbs the quiet of any neighborhood or any person”.
DelawareHouse Bill 378 in Delaware makes it possible to fine people for dogs who bark for more than 15 minutes.
FloridaHow long a dog can bark legally in Florida depends on the county. In Hillsborough, the law applies to a dog that makes a noise for “20 minutes or longer with less than 20 seconds of interruption during that 20-minute time period”.
GeorgiaCurrently, In Atlanta Georgia, a dog may legally bark for 10 minutes (with no 20 second breaks). Dogs who keep barking after 10 mins can cost their owners a $150 fine.
HawaiiIn Honolulu, dogs can only bark continuously for up to 10 minutes, or for up to 30 minutes if they are barking on and off. 
IdahoExcessive dog barking in Idaho is a misdemeanor that can cost up to $300. Local ordinances may differ, but in general there is no specific time that a dog may bark for. Excessive barking is loosely defined as dog that incessantly or continuously barks so long that they disturb the neighborhood.
IllinoisDog noise laws in Illinois differ according to local ordinances. In Chicago, dogs may not bark for longer than 15 minutes.
IndianaIn Indiana, dogs can legally bark for 20 minutes at night and 30 minutes during the day, depending on local laws.
IowaIowa City law does not say how long a dog may bark for, only that dogs are not permitted to make a noise that unreasonably disturbs someone else. 
KansasIn Kansas City, a dog is a public nuisance if it disturbs a neighbor and the neighbor is willing to testify under oath. There are not specific guidelines as to how long a dog may bark legally.
In Wichita, you can no longer make a noise complaint yourself. Instead you need to collect evidence with the help of an animal control supervisor. Excessive barking is unlawful within the city, but there is no specific time frame.
KentuckyIn Crittendon County, a dog barking longer than 15 mins may be impounded. In Jefferson County, there is no specific time limit but “persistent barking, howling, yelping, whining” can incur fines between $50 & $1000.
LouisianaIn southwest Louisiana, dogs who bark incessantly or at night are considered a nuisance animal. There is no timeframe, but neighbors can build a case by recording the barking. In other areas of Louisiana, like St. Landry Parish, much stricter laws are proposed, where dogs may not legally bark continuously for 10 minutes, intermittently for 30 minutes.
MaineIn York, Maine, dogs may not bark continuously for 10 minutes, or intermittently for 30 minutes. The town of Farmington is more lenient and allows dogs to bark continuously for one hour, or on and off for three hours. Wilton allows for up to one hour of noise, so county, town, and municipal laws about how long a dog can bark in Maine differ significantly.
MarylaIn Maryland, it is unlawful in most areas to own a dog that disturbs a person or neighborhood’s peace.
MassachusettsIn Massachusetts, there is no specific amount of time a dog can bark for. A person can file a noise complaint over any “excessive barking.”
MichiganIn Wayne County, a sworn testimony of barking can be enough to incur a $100 fine on the first offense.
MississippiDogs in Mississippi could be a public nuisance if they “Barks, whines, or howls in an excessive, continuous, or untimely fashion.” But most counties do not specify how long a dog is legally allowed to bark for.
MissouriCity laws for barking dogs in Missouri differ. Richmond does not allow any loud, frequent, or habitual barking. The City of Columbia has a noise ordinance against any excessive noise from any animal.
MontanaLocal county laws may regulate barking dogs in Montana. Counties in Montana like Cascade don’t specify how long a dog can bark, but if it disturbs the community, you can be held liable for a nuisance dog.
NevadaClark County in Nevada does not specify how long a dog may bark legally, only that the dog does not disturb anybody to an “unreasonable degree.” 
New HampshireDogs in New Hampshire may not bark during the night and disturb the neighborhood, or bark continuously for more than 30 mins.
New JerseyIn New Jersey, dogs may only bark for 20 minutes between the daylight hours of 7 am to 10 pm. At night, from 10 pm to 7 am, barking for longer than 15 minutes qualifies as a noise disturbance.
New MexicoAlbuquerque is cracking down on barking dogs. You can call 311 or fill out an online form to lodge complaints. It’s not specified how long dogs can bark for, but owners have 7 days after a complaint is filed to address the problem.
New YorkNew York City Noise Code limits dog barking to 10 mins in the day (7am to 10pm) and 5 mins at night (from 10 pm to 7 am).
North CarolinaNorth Carolina counties generally don’t specify how long a dog may bark for. However, it is unlawful to keep a dog that barks to the point that it becomes a public nuisance. In Charlotte City, there are also noise ordinances for “quiet hours” when barking dogs may be less tolerated.
North DakotaMost counties in North Dakota don’t specify how long a dog may legally bark for, but generally one is not allowed to own a dog that barks enough to disturb neighbors. 
OhioIn Ohio, there is no specific time a dog is allowed to bark for, but if they bark too loudly and frequently and disturb the neighborhood, they can be impounded.
OklahomaIn Tulsa, Oklahoma, a dog may not bark for more than 10 minutes. In Oklahoma City, it is illegal to own a dog that barks or howls long enough to disturb the peace. 
OregonIn Oregon, county dog barking ordinances differ. But in Multnomah a dog that barks for 10 continuous minutes, or intermittently for 30 minutes is a disturbance.
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania county ordinances differ, but in Easton, dogs may not bark constantly for more than 10 minutes, or on and off for 30 minutes. In Pittsburgh, the laws differ between apartments and residential areas, and how loud the dog is barking also matters.
Rhode IslandRhode Island local laws differ. In Woonsocket, dogs may not bark for more than 15 mins during the day. Any excessive barking in Rhode Island constitutes a disturbance of the peace.
South CarolinaIn West Columbia, dogs barking intermittently for half an hour or continuously for 10 minutes violate city ordinances.
South DakotaIn Sioux Falls, a dog barking for several minutes is enough for a police officer to try to contact the owner following a complaint. In the city of Spearfish, South Dakota, any habitual barking or howling can lead to a dog being declared a nuisance.
TennesseeIn Tennessee, a dog can bark 30 times per hour during the day, or 4 times per hour at night according to the nuisance law.
TexasIn Texas, dogs are legally allowed to bark during the day (from sunrise to sunset) so long as it is not unreasonable or incessant. Excessive, continuous, or untimely barking is a violation of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Local ordinances may limit the specific time a dog is allowed to bark for.
VermontIn general, counties in Vermont see any dog that habitually barks and howls so much that they disturb the neighborhood to be a nuisance. 
VirginiaIn Prince William County in Virginia, a dog is a nuisance if its barking is “audible at least once a minute for ten consecutive minutes.”
In Fairfax, a dog cannot bark at all between 10pm and 7am if your neighbor can hear it with their doors and windows closed. During the day, barking is limited to 5 minutes out of any 10 min period. Overall, laws in Virginia concerning dogs barking are fairly strict.
WashingtonDogs in Snohomish County in Washington can not legally bark for more than 10 minutes per every half hour (code 9.12.060). Many Washington counties, like Pierce and King do not specify a time limit for a barking dog, but do provide resources that focus on a peaceful resolution.
West VirginiaMost West Virginia local laws do not specify how long a dog can bark for. However, generally no person is allowed to keep a dog that makes “unreasonably loud and disturbing noises” that disturbs the peace.
WisconsinMost municipal ordinances in Wisconsin don’t specify how long a dog can bark, but dogs who bark, whine, or howl excessively can be labeled a public nuisance and can incur fines. In most areas, it’s best to contact animal control.
Wyoming
There is no specific time that dogs are allowed to bark for in Wyoming. In Laramie, dogs may not “habitually, constantly or frequently disturb the sleep, rest, tranquility or peace of any neighborhood or person.” If a dog is barking in your area, it’s best to log the barking for 48 hours and report it to your local animal control.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the amount of time a dog can legally bark in the USA varies depending on the state and city where you live. While there are no federal laws that regulate barking, many local governments have noise ordinances in place to protect the peace and quiet of neighborhoods. If you are concerned about your dog’s barking, there are several steps you can take to reduce it and address any issues with your neighbors.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

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Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.