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Barking dogs keeping you up at night? Don’t call the police

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Don’t call the police if dogs in your neighbourhood are keeping you up at night.

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You should file a complaint with the county bylaw office instead.

An overwhelming number of calls related to dog barking prompted the Norfolk OPP to inform residents of a complaint form available through the county bylaw department.

“I am urging all residents to utilize the barking dog evidence package that is available on-line to everyone in Norfolk County,” Inspector Rob Scott, interim detachment commander, said in a recent news release. “This is an easy and effective way to make an official complaint regarding a dog barking in your community.”

The forms are to be filled out and returned to the county’s bylaw enforcement department where an officer will assist in the investigation.

Complainants must keep a log of five occasions when the barking took place.

At one time, the person had to actually see the dog making the noise. However, this policy was changed since many dogs are barking inside the owners’ homes.

“Some people were having difficulty as the policy says that the individual animal has to be seen, but there was a number of instances that it was clear that the barking noise was coming from within in the home,” said county bylaw supervisor Jim Millson. “It’s up to the resident of that home to ensure that the animal isn’t barking constantly.”

Bylaw receives an estimated 80 to 100 barking dog complaints a year.

If an investigation deems the barking to be excessive, pet owners may be charged and be scheduled for a court appearance.

“The package is just a way to help someone log information and we can produce that as a piece of evidence for court and the person who complains can come and testify,” said Millson.

“People either control their animals or they don’t and if they fail to then complaints are made and we have to investigate.”

The barking dog evidence package can be found on the county website at www.norfolkcounty.ca.

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