Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Barking dogs spark complaints

Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 8:34 PM
Last updated Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 12:46 AM
  • Follow Latest News

Fred Young has two Augusta neighbors in the city’s historic Har­risburg district that just won’t shut up.

Back | Next
Fred Young says dogs next to his Harrisburg home in bark repeatedly throughout the day.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Fred Young says dogs next to his Harrisburg home in bark repeatedly throughout the day.

Forget about reasoning with them.

They’re rottweilers.

“It’s horrible,” Young, 65, said of the dogs’ barking spells, which can be heard along the 800 block of Crawford Avenue, mostly in the early afternoon and evening.

“It’s loud, annoying and happens in spurts. Sometimes lasting 15 to 20 minutes, other times as much as an hour.”

The Harrisburg rottweilers are one of the daily complaints made to the Augusta 911 Center about noisy dogs, with residents mostly alerting the Rich­mond County Sheriff’s Office to a canine that has been “barking 24/7,” said Edward Jefferson, the field operations manager with Augusta Animal Services.
Dog owners can be fined $1,000 and face up to 60 days in jail if their animal disturbs the “comfort or repose of any person” by causing “frequent or long-continued noise,” according to the city’s public safety ordinance.

Misdemeanor citations for excessive barking can be issued against dog owners, but authorities said that rarely happens because by the time deputies arrive to investigate, the dog is silent or can be calmed.

“It’s a judgment call for the officer,” said Lt. Calvin Chew, the spokesman of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, which has authority over barking dog complaints. “If a person is making attempts to quiet the animal, then so be it, but the officer has to actually hear the dog barking.”

Because the Augusta 911 Center groups all animal calls together, the barking dog complaints can be hard to track in Richmond County. Di­rec­tor Dominick Nutter said his staff received 910 calls in the past year for lost or stray animals and 255 calls for animal cruelty.

Jefferson said the two categories represent the leading cause for dogs breaking the city’s noise ordinance because lost or mistreated animals usually become more vocal or lead to other dogs’ barking as they roam the streets or howl while searching for food, water and companionship.

Among the problem areas identified by residents for lost, stray and loud animals is Tenth Street at Perry Avenue and along Crawford Avenue. A reporter with The Augusta Chronicle found three unleashed dogs roaming both areas last week in only 30 minutes.

Young filed a formal complaint against the Harrisburg rottweilers with the sheriff’s office in November 2012 for the dogs “barking frequently and causing a disturbance.”

He said the dogs bark particularly when people or loose dogs walk past, but said sometimes it appears they bark for “no reason at all.”

A deputy visited the home and heard one of the dogs bark “intermittently,” according to an incident report, but was unable to get anyone to come to the door. Neither could The Chronicle.

Repeated knocks on the front door went unanswered, and numbers listed in the phone book for the address were disconnected.

A police report stated animal services checked on the wellbeing of the dogs and left a note at the residence
notifying them of the complaint.

Though the service does not have the authority to write noise citations, Jef­fer­son said it is common practice for his officers to visit homes of barking dogs and check to see if the animal is healthy and has adequate shelter, food and water and a clean living area.

He said there could be many reasons for a dog barking excessively, but that mostly it is because the owner is not giving them enough attention.

“Animals, just like humans, want companionship,” Jefferson said. “You can’t leave them staked out in the yard. You have to give them love, too. If you do that, they’ll be happier.”

If animal control officers discover a dog has a life-threatening condition, they’ll give owners 24 hours to fix the problem before seizing the pet and filing animal cruelty charges. For minor illnesses, it’s 72 hours, Jefferson said.

“If we go out and talk to the owner and tell them they need to try to curtail the barking, 99 percent of the time, they will comply with our request,” he said.

Chew agreed, saying most times owners are able to calm their animals when an officer shows up. If problems persist, he said, deputies will consider the time of day and the perceived reason for the dog barking before issuing a citation.

Young’s complaint did not result in a citation. Since then, staff at a child development center next door that specializes in occupational, physical and speech therapies said it has received complaints about the dogs being loud and one breaking free from its chain and approaching a family as they loaded a wheelchair-bound child into a van.

Young, a retired Augusta Technical College professor, said he plans to install thicker windows in two weeks to help with the problem.

“A little bit of barking is OK,” he said. “But constant barking gets on your nerves. Every time they bark, you start to jump a little.”

Comments (21) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
corgimom
38705
Points
corgimom 02/09/14 - 09:41 pm
15
0
Any dog that is chained up

Any dog that is chained up will bark- just like we'd holler if we were chained up too.

It's just plain cruelty to chain a dog.

TrulyWorried
16625
Points
TrulyWorried 02/09/14 - 10:50 pm
14
0
Barking dogs

You are correct, corgimom, all too many animals are tied up 24/7 with no one looking at them except to feed and water (if they do that) So I want to ask - WHY OWN A DOG - if you don't want it around you? It is said that a dog is a man's best friend - no truer words were ever spoken. To those that tie up these creatures and 'let them be' - find them a home elsewhere where they are appreciated!!
Many times I'd rather deal with an animal than some human beings.

Little Lamb
49245
Points
Little Lamb 02/09/14 - 11:28 pm
2
7
Tolerance

I guess we've just got to tolerate such noises from other people's property and other people's animals.

burninater
9943
Points
burninater 02/10/14 - 01:48 am
2
7
"I guess we've just got to

"I guess we've just got to tolerate such noises from other people's property and other people's animals."

Actually, nuisance barking ordinances are a step above and beyond regular noise ordinances. I'd love a nuisance mowing ordinance for the idiots that fire it up at 7 am on a Saturday.

SimpleGirl
945
Points
SimpleGirl 02/10/14 - 07:56 am
5
0
Wonder why?

I agree with Corgimom and TrulyWorried on this one! So sad to see dogs chained up, and people want to know why they bark all the time? They can't cry or speak like humans and barking is their only outlet. It should be against the law to chain animals....and owners should have to pay big time. They should be chained outside for a while and then lets just see how they react to such treatment. Some people just love having power over something or someone, guess it makes them feel superior somehow. Dogs are the way they're raised and treated.
Check out the picture of this dog and especially the chain and lock around his neck. How heartless some people can be is just plain sad.

dsterling9
1255
Points
dsterling9 02/10/14 - 08:29 am
0
1
BARKING NUISANCE

Almost every area in the county has problems with animals. Dogs especially make the most noise especially when left on their own either tied or fenced for hours. There was a neighbor's dog let out to 'do his business' and barked for over three hours straight (yes...I timed it because I could not get back to sleep). I spoke to this person and it stopped for a while but has recently started again. One problem is some people are afraid to say anything for fear of retaliation. Most of us have a phone with record capability so next time record the incident. Oh...and don't even bother call ordinance enforcement...from my experience they don't answer phone calls or emails. Going to drop into their offices to see if anyone actually works there.

seenitB4
98472
Points
seenitB4 02/10/14 - 09:13 am
3
0
Why even own a dog.

Why bother is right...sad deal for any animal...

teaparty
11313
Points
teaparty 02/10/14 - 09:34 am
6
2
"I'd love a nuisance mowing
Unpublished

"I'd love a nuisance mowing ordinance for the idiots that fire it up at 7 am on a Saturday."
burn, it is a free country, for now, you can always move.

Bizkit
35737
Points
Bizkit 02/10/14 - 10:57 am
3
0
Where are all the dog lovers

Where are all the dog lovers who related to dogs like humans. Look dogs are like humans in our society and have rights-like freedom of speech. So bark on my friends. This is discriminatory-humans are going to jail for abusing dogs so we should appreciate this is a part of their life (like being gay isn't a choice-neither is barking) as all dogs bark. I can't believe all you haters out there. LOL.

razordog
195
Points
razordog 02/10/14 - 11:14 am
2
0
WHAT ABOUT THE NOISE ORDINANCE?

"Dog owners can be fined $1,000 and face up to 60 days in jail if their animal disturbs the “comfort or repose of any person” by causing “frequent or long-continued noise,” according to the city’s public safety ordinance."

I think I'd rather hear dogs barking than the thump, thump, thump of someone's car "stereo". It's a lot easier to catch the thumpers than it is a barking dog!

TrulyWorried
16625
Points
TrulyWorried 02/10/14 - 11:42 am
2
0
Barking dogs

It is not just the matter of barking dogs alone, which of course disturbs people, it is the TREATMENT of these poor creatures that spend 24/7 on a chain, short, maybe wrapped around a tree (see picture above that could make one cry!) - possibly no water or food. THOSE are the dogs that have every right to bark, as one writer says, that is their way of talking. YES, I wish there were an ordinance that would be very strict when it comes to keeping dogs and how they are treated. What we have now is a joke.

Red Headed Step Child
4491
Points
Red Headed Step Child 02/10/14 - 11:51 am
0
0
Safety

I'd agree that keeping a dog chained at all times is not a good thing. People that can't accomodate having a dog without having to keep it chained all the time should probably rethink getting one.

That being said, there are times when putting a dog on a chain is appropriate for its safety. My mother had this dog that for some unkown reason would escape the confines of the yard with its 8 ft privacy fence any time she would leave to go somewhere. As long as she was home, he was home. It got to where any time she would go somewhere (like the grocery store) she'd have to put him on the line to keep him from getting out and possibly getting hit by a car.

We actually caught him in the act - he knew the sound of her car. It took me driving her car away while she peeped from inside to figure out how he was getting out. That crazy dog actually shimmied up a tree that was close to the fence line - back to the tree and legs against the fence in a reverse rappel! Had to give him points for style...

nocnoc
49521
Points
nocnoc 02/10/14 - 01:13 pm
2
2
My dog barks

when strangers are into the yard,
When the next door neighbors kid comes in at OO-dark-30,
When the Police, Fire Dept or Ambulances sirens start up.

But none of my neighbors are rude enough to go directly to the police.
Being a good neighbor with my neighbors, when I moved in, I asked them to come to me if they have any problems. I introduced them to the 150 lbs Rottie and I have had Zero problems with any neighbor.

But If I do get hauled in to court, I plan to show video on my dog barking and howling because of the COUNTY instantiated noises and his response to them.

movingtoaugusta
63
Points
movingtoaugusta 02/10/14 - 01:29 pm
1
1
Historic Harrisburg

Historic? Wake up.

allhans
24963
Points
allhans 02/10/14 - 02:06 pm
1
0
Why can't the dog be kept

Why can't the dog be kept indoors where he belongs. I keep mine in...Great company.

Bizkit
35737
Points
Bizkit 02/10/14 - 03:37 pm
0
1
Don't they legally have to

Don't they legally have to have pit bulls and rottweiller's contained or restrained, have 50K of liability, etc per the law.

Bizkit
35737
Points
Bizkit 02/10/14 - 03:39 pm
0
0
I use to have a dog that

I use to have a dog that would bark a bit, but so would others in the vicinity. Neighbors complained during association meetings but then suddenly my dog went "missing". Hmmmmmm.

Radwaste
420
Points
Radwaste 02/10/14 - 05:18 pm
0
0
Great tactic!

Gee - I had no idea that to avoid police attention, all I have to do is not answer the door!

burninater
9943
Points
burninater 02/10/14 - 05:47 pm
2
0
"I think I'd rather hear dogs

"I think I'd rather hear dogs barking than the thump, thump, thump of someone's car "stereo". It's a lot easier to catch the thumpers than it is a barking dog!"
------
Seriously, the thump thump thump is almost as obnoxious as the motorcycle exhaust that can be heard for the surrounding square mile.

Almost, but not quite.

Why should we be required to listen to someone else's sad cry for attention? It's bad enough when babies do it, you'd think folks would grow out of that kind of infantilism at some point.

Radwaste
420
Points
Radwaste 02/10/14 - 08:17 pm
0
0
Re: bike pipes

I agree. Bikers apparently do not care at all that they have gotten themselves banned from every national park and countless other locations of interest - all so they can listen typically, to an underpowered air-cooled V-Twin gasp. Some claim, "loud pipes save lives" - which is false.
Noise is going to be a continuing problem. I can only hope for rationality.

corgimom
38705
Points
corgimom 02/10/14 - 09:21 pm
1
0
Redheaded stepchild- I know

Redheaded stepchild- I know somebody who put a dog out on a chain, the dog wrapped its chain around the post, couldn't reach his water bowl and died of heat stroke and dehydration on a hot July day.

Putting a dog on a chain or a line is downright dangerous. Putting them in a crate inside the house is far safer and much more humane.

stuaby
4919
Points
stuaby 02/11/14 - 06:57 am
1
0
My heavens! Dogs are

My heavens! Dogs are barking, and it's bothering people! Oh the indignity of it all!

Mildred, what is the CSRA coming to? Dogs are barking!

Back to Top
loading...
Top headlines

Christmas Eve rains to dry up

If Wednesday seemed particularly wet and dreary, you would be right. The day broke the record for the wettest Christmas Eve that Augusta has ever had.
Search Augusta jobs