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How Long Can a Dog Bark Legally in the US? Legality, Ethics & FAQ

Jeff Weishaupt

By Jeff Weishaupt

Siberian Husky dog barking

Your neighbor’s dog barking for too long can be a huge nuisance for you, especially at night. While you can definitely complain to a local law enforcement authority, there’s no federal law on how long dogs can bark legally in the US.

Most states have their own laws on the legal barking duration for dogs, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes. Owners or handlers who fail to comply with these laws can face penalties. The guide below discusses how long dogs can bark legally in all 50 states of the US.

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State-by-State Laws on How Long a Dog Can Bark

Alabama

There is no law stating how long dogs can bark legally in Alabama. However, you can take the case to court if you have evidence for two or more incidents of a dog barking excessively. Alternatively, you can talk to the owner or request animal services to step in.

shetland sheepdog sitting on grass field and barking with mouth open
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Alaska

Alaska’s old laws allowed dogs to bark for up to seven minutes without a 1-minute silence in between. The new law has reduced this duration to 5 minutes. Negligent owners who cannot control their dogs may have to pay $100 to $200 in fines.


Arizona

Like Alabama, Arizona also doesn’t have any dog barking laws. However, negligent owners who disturb public peace can face a fine of $150 to $2,500 in most counties. Maricopa County is exempt from this rule. You can get in touch with animal control authorities instead to file a complaint.


Arkansas

Arkansas does not have a law on how long a dog can bark legally, but the Animal Control Ordinance states that a citizen cannot keep a dog that yelps or barks excessively to disturb public peace.

american pit bull terrier dog barking
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California

The laws on legal barking duration differ across California counties and municipalities. On average, dogs cannot bark legally for more than 30 minutes. Negligent dog owners can face fines of up to $1,000 in some counties, such as LA County.


Colorado

Colorado also has varying laws about dogs barking excessively. Most municipalities have limited the legal duration to 10 minutes in the daytime and 5 minutes at night. You can file a complaint about a dog that barks continuously for 20 minutes during the day or 10 minutes from 9 PM until the morning.


Connecticut

There are no state laws about this issue, but negligent owners can be fined up to $100 with prison time of about a month.

mad pomeranian dog barking on the street
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Delaware

Delaware’s House Bill 84 allows dogs to bark legally for 15 minutes continuously and 30 minutes intermittently. Dogs who bark excessively due to an intruder are exempt.


Florida

The laws differ across Floridian counties. For example, Hillsborough County only allows dogs to bark for 20 minutes continuously. However, this law is only applicable to residential dogs. Animal shelters and commercial boarding kennels are exempt.

Owners who do not keep their dogs in check after the first warning can be fined anywhere up to $500 with a 60-day prison sentence.


Georgia

The legal barking limit for dogs in Georgia is 10 minutes. Dog owners who have several complaints against them can be fined up to $150.

miniature schnauzer dog barking
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Hawaii

Hawaii also has a legal barking limit of 10 minutes. Dogs may bark intermittently for 30 minutes.


Idaho

There is no law about how long dogs can bark in Idaho. However, owners with disruptive dogs can face fines of up to $300.


Illinois

The rules differ across cities and municipalities. For example, dogs in Chicago cannot bark for over 15 minutes between 7 AM and 10 PM and more than 10 minutes between 10 PM and 7 AM.

If the complainant submits sufficient evidence against the negligent dog owners, the guilty party may be fined between $100 and $500.

Dog Barking
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Indiana

There is no common law in the state, but dogs barking for more than 30 minutes can warrant a complaint.


Iowa

There is no standard state law, but Iowa rules state that no dog should disturb public peace.


Kansas

Kansas doesn’t have any laws regarding how long a dog can bark, but disruptive dogs may result in fines and/or jail sentences. Wichita residents have to consult an animal control supervisor to file a complaint and collect the necessary evidence, as they are not allowed to file complaints themselves.

golden doodle dog barking at home
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Kentucky

The laws differ from one county to another. For example, dogs can only bark legally for 15 minutes in Crittenden County. Negligent owners can be fined from $50 to $1,000.


Louisiana

Dogs cannot bark legally for more than 10 minutes continuously or 30 minutes intermittently. Residents can file complaints to their local Animal Control Officers, which will then take over the following proceedings.


Maine

Maine barking laws differ across counties. For example, York laws allow dogs to bark for 30 minutes intermittently and 10 minutes continuously. Meanwhile, Wilton and Farmington let a dog bark for 60 minutes constantly. Farmington residents can file a complaint if a dog barks intermittently for three hours or more.

beagle dog barking
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Maryland

Maryland does not have any laws governing how long a dog can bark. However, it’s unlawful for dogs to be a nuisance. Residents can submit their relevant complaints to the Office of Animal Services.


Massachusetts

There is no standard legislation, but residents can complain about disruptive dogs.


Michigan

Michigan also has no stipulated laws, but dogs who are a nuisance to the public can cost their owners up to $100 in fines.

barking dog
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Minnesota

Dogs can bark intermittently for 30 minutes and no longer than 10 minutes continuously.


Mississippi

Dogs are not allowed to be a public nuisance. However, there are no state laws about the legal barking duration.


Missouri

It’s illegal for dogs to disrupt or cause discomfort to the public. Every county has its law for how long dogs can bark legally.

Chihuahua barking
Image credit: Chihuahua Guard Dog by Don DeBold, Flickr

Montana

Although there are no state laws, residents have the right to file complaints to local law enforcement for dogs that are a nuisance.


Nebraska

There are no dog barking laws, but residents can file noise complaints against dogs that bark excessively at any time of the day.


Nevada

Residents can file complaints against dogs that disturb their peace, but there are no state-wide laws regarding the barking duration.

dog barking
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New Hampshire

The state allows dogs to bark legally for 30 minutes at any time of the day.


New Jersey

Dogs can only bark for 20 minutes continuously from 7 AM to 10 PM and 15 minutes from 10 PM to 7 AM.


New Mexico

While there’s no standard dog barking duration law, residents can file their relevant complaints online.

pomeranian dog barking
Image Credit: Iuliia Khabibullina, Shutterstock

New York

Dogs can bark legally for 10 minutes during the day and 5 minutes at night.


North Carolina

The state does not have a law to limit how long dogs can bark. However, the general laws disallow dogs to cause a public nuisance.


North Dakota

Although there’s no state-wide law, individual counties have rules on dealing with owners whose dogs bark excessively.

malinois belgian shepherd dog who barks
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Ohio

Ohio does not have a state law for how long dogs can bark legally. Like all other states with such a law, Ohio laws also deem it illegal for any dog to cause a public nuisance.


Oklahoma

There is no specific law regarding barking duration, but some areas, like Tulsa, limit the time to 10 minutes. Residents can complain against the owner at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter.


Oregon

The duration for which a dog can bark legally in Oregon differs across municipalities. In most cases, such as Multnomah, the legal time is set at 10 minutes for continuous barking and 30 for intermittent barking.

aggressive akita dog barking in the snow
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Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not have a state-wide law in this regard. Most counties allow dogs to bark for 30 minutes on and off and 10 minutes continuously.

Since the laws may differ across apartment units and houses, it’s best to check with the local authorities for accuracy.


Rhode Island

The laws differ from one county to the next. For example, Woonsocket has set the legal barking limit to 15 minutes, while Providence law states that dogs should not disturb a neighborhood’s peace. Owners who do not pay heed to multiple warnings can face fines.


South Carolina

Most counties allow dogs to bark continuously for no longer than 10 minutes, but there’s no standard state-wide legislation.

a weimaraner dog barking from the inside of a car
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South Dakota

The state does not have a general law, but counties have several rules in place to ensure barking dogs do not become a nuisance for their neighborhood. Multiple complaints can result in fines for the owner.


Tennessee

Tennessee’s general law states that dogs should not howl, whine, or bark frequently. There’s no stipulated legal barking duration, though.

Most counties have individual laws. For example, in Hamilton Country, dogs cannot bark legally for over 30 minutes.


Texas

Texas Health and Safety Code is a state-wide law that protects citizens’ health. According to this law, owners whose dogs bark excessively can face fines of up to $500. The legal barking duration will depend on the individual county.

a weimaraner dog barking outside
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Utah

Utah does not have an overarching law that regulates barking dogs. However, multiple complaints can result in fines imposed on owners who don’t take corrective action. The penalties can be up to $200.


Vermont

Every county has its individual ordinance on how long dogs can bark legally. The state does not have a general law applicable to all cities.


Virginia

Counties have their individual laws, most of them limiting the legal barking duration to 10 minutes.

little dog barking at home
Image Credit: Dubin Mykhailo, Shutterstock

Washington

The legal duration for which a dog can bark continuously or intermittently depends on the county. Most areas do not allow dogs to bark for more than 10 minutes continuously. The limit for intermittent barking is generally 30 minutes.


West Virginia

While there’s no standard legislation, disruptive or loud dogs can cause their owners fines and citations.


Wisconsin

Wisconsin does not have general laws on how long dogs can bark, but local residents can file complaints about disruptive dogs to local animal control.

dachshund dog stands on its legs and barks to owner
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Wyoming

Like most other states that do not have state-wide barking laws, Wyoming also disallows dogs to bark for an extended duration. The allowed legal barking duration will depend on the individual county.

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How Do You File a Complaint About a Disruptive Dog?

Some dogs bark or howl excessively because of separation anxiety, while others may bark in response to outside noises or just out of boredom. Whatever the reason may be, filing a complaint is one way to resolve the problem. Here’s how to go about this issue:

Talk to the Dog Owner

In some cases, it might help to talk to the owner about the problem. But if they are defensive, aggressive, or combative, it’s best not to argue with them. Let them know you’re thankful for their time.

Document the encounter to keep a record of the exchange between you and the owner.

Dog getting a massage from owners
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Complain to the Local Animal Control

If your neighbor doesn’t seem willing to resolve the issue, contact your local animal control. Most states have online portals where residents can file noise complaints. Alternatively, you can go to the local animal control office yourself.

Provide all the information the authority needs so that they can take prompt action. In some counties, you’ll have to testify against the negligent owner in court.

Wait for Action

The local animal control authority will send a warning letter to the offensive party, or they may pay a visit to their house. Wait for a week or two to see if the dog has stopped barking. If not, complain again. The relevant authority will escalate their proceedings.

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Conclusion

An excessively barking dog can make your life miserable by keeping you up at night and disrupting your peace. If you’re in this situation, file a complaint as soon as you have enough evidence to ensure prompt action is taken.

However, if you’re the owner of a disruptive dog, take corrective measures to prevent your dog from becoming a public nuisance. Depending on the local laws, you may face fines or jail time if you fail to control your dog after several complaints.


Featured Image Credit: Dmitri T, Shutterstock

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