Starke County Commissioners Discuss Dog Noise Abatement Ordinance

An additional reading of an ordinance that would regulate incessant dog barking was considered by the Starke County Commissioners Monday night.

The commissioners addressed resident concerns about hunting dogs.  The ordinance currently addresses hunting dogs saying that if a dog is engaged in lawful hunting and is accompanied by the owner or custodian, or if a dog is in the act of herding domestic animals for the benefit of the owner, they are considered exempt from violation of the ordinance.

Commissioner Kathy Norem thought it should be stressed that the exemption only applies to hunting dogs that are in the act of hunting, not if they are simply on their owner’s property creating a complaint from a neighbor.  Commission President Charlie Chesak agreed as did Commissioner Bryan Cavendar so that clarification will be made before the ordinance is officially adopted. 

The dog noise abatement ordinance states that a violation of the ordinance will be considered if “any dog or dogs excessively barks, howls or yelps intermittently or continuously for more than 15 minutes” that results in a complaint to law enforcement officials.  Action will also be taken if two or more complaints are filed by people in different households using public spaces such as roads, trails or parks, and are bothered by incessant barking, yelping or howling dogs.

The first offense will result in a warning to the dog owner, and additional offenses within a three year time frame will result in a fine not to exceed $100.  Habitual offenses will result in a fine not to exceed $500 per violation.

After the ordinance is read and adopted on third reading, it will be published for the public to view.