The ASPCA reports that 62 percent of American households have a dog. So if you don't, there's a good chance your neighbor does. And if your neighbor's dog barks non-stop, then you know all too well what a nuisance persistent barking can be.
So what can you do about it?
Attorney Scott Fisher says, "Oftentimes, dogs are left home alone and they're bored, and they just bark. The question is how is that interfering with the peace and quiet of neighbors?"
Fisher suggests talking with your neighbor to make sure they are even aware their dog is barking non-stop when they're away.
"Hopefully that starts a dialogue with the pet's owner to try to find some kind of solution to minimize the barking that's happening," says Fisher.
Maybe they need to go to doggy daycare. In extreme measures, barking devices can be employed.
But Fisher says, if barking is the worst of your neighborhood dog problems, consider yourself lucky. Many people have aggressive or menacing dogs living near them.
Mary Bell of Mar Vista, California lives close to a vicious German shepherd that got loose and attacked her while she was walking her own dog.
"As far as I'm concerned, this particular German shepherd is not a pet. It's a weapon," says Bell. "He was aimed for Noodles. I had time to yell 'no' and then he launched himself at me. Grabbed my arm above the elbow, would not let go."
Mary discovered she wasn't the first person this dog had attacked.
"This dog, this German Shepherd, had attacked the mailman," she adds.
Attorney Scott Fisher says if you see a dog that exhibits a pattern of menacing behavior, even if that dog is contained on its owner's property, you should report it.
Simone Robinson is an animal control officer with the SEAACA.
"We're considered a policing agency, so once we get a call we do respond within the first call," he says. "It helps if you have documentation to file with your complaint."
Robinson suggests keeping a log of each occurrence for proof.
In some states, you can have a dog cited for being potentially dangerous or vicious. When dogs have multiple "strikes" against them, their owners can be fined or, in some cases, have their animal seized and destroyed.
If there is a menacing dog in your neighborhood, don't hesitate to report that animal to authorities. As Mary Bell found out, you never know what kind of trouble could be just around the corner.
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