Barking GV bowsers top agenda |

Barking GV bowsers top agenda

Too many woof-woofs and you could one day have to pay a fine if you own a loud dog in Grass Valley.

The City Council Tuesday will consider a proposal to make it easier for a police or animal control officer to cite dog owners who let their pets bark continuously. The new rules would also make it easier for an officer to repeatedly cite offending dog owners.

Current city rules dealing with dogs are too broad, vague and difficult to enforce, Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster wrote in a memorandum to the City Council.

Under the new rules, three or more unrelated neighbors can file a formal complaint to instigate an investigation. If the complaint is found valid, a notice is sent to the owner, who can be cited. A barking dog is defined as one that barks or bays for 10-minute periods within a 15-minute span.

Grass Valley Animal Control Officer Ken Norton said the shelter receives three to four barking dog complaints a month. Summer is worse because people leave their windows open all night, he said.

Longtime dog owner Debra Sandler, a coordinator for AnimalSave in Grass Valley, said dog owners should not let pets bark all the time. Citronella-scented collars are humane and prevent barking, she said.

Cheryl Wicks, a volunteer coordinator for the Nevada County Animal Shelter, said chronic problems should be addressed. A new ordinance is a good idea, she said, as long as it does not cause more people to bring more animals to the shelter.

Dr. Valarie Tynes, a resident veterinarian at the University of California at Davis who specializes in animal behavior, said dogs bark for a variety of reasons.

They may be anxious when their owners or other attachment figures leave them, react to stimuli, or be bored, she said.

The most important thing to remember, Tynes said, is that it is a correctable problem. Shock collars to prevent dogs from barking rarely work, she added.

Nevada County has similar rules in place and people do call to complain, an animal office said Friday.

“That’s our biggest complaint,” said Dan Whittaker, supervising animal officer for the county.

Under county rules, a neighbor files a complaint to trigger an investigation.

Dog owners can receive up to two warnings within a year of the first complaint before a citation is issued.

The ordinance would take two City Council votes and become valid 30 days after final approval.

WHAT: Grass Valley City Council, regular meeting

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Council Chambers, City Hall, 125 E. Main St.

INFO: 274-4310

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