BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — If your neighbor’s barking dog is driving you nuts, Boulder County is considering making it a little easier for you to complain and simplifying the path to a potential fine and court summons.

County commissioners are considering changes to an ordinance to state that animal control officers will accept video and audio evidence of barking dogs.

“Specifically, we don’t require two households anymore to make the complaint,” explained Commander Vinnie Montez with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. “Now, we’re saying we only need one and the reason that is, is we’re going to use video and audio as a way to basically prove what the first complainant is saying.”

Under current law in Boulder County, you can potentially be fined if you fail to keep your dog from disturbing the peace “by loud, persistent and habitual barking, howling, yelping or making any other loud, persistent and habitual noise, whether the dog is on or off the owner's premises.”

Animal control officers responding to a complaint will first issue a warning if they determine the law’s been violated. Then, a dog owner has a week to sort out the problem. That won’t change if the current ordinance is amended.

However, if the changes go through, animal control officers would only need one additional complaint from someone with video evidence to start the summons process.

First time offenders could receive a $45 fine. It could jump up to $80 on the second offense and would max out at $1,000 for repeated offenses.

“For unincorporated Boulder County, we do get barking dogs,” Commander Montez said. “I would not say this a problem that’s running out of control by any means, but we do get the complaints.”

Montez said it’s ultimately up to the discretion of animal control specialists to issue citations regardless of the complaints and video evidence provided.

In 2018, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office received 262 reports of animal related issues, according to a spokeswoman. Animal control officers issued 160 courtesy warnings and 37 citations.

If you decide to take video of your neighbor’s barking dog, Commander Montez had a simple tip. Don’t break the law to capture a bark on camera.

“Videotaping people, especially in today’s society, some people do not like that and I would encourage people to be very careful about how they do that,” Montez said. “Don’t cross onto private property to do it.”

If you’re going to take video, do it safely and respectfully, Montez said. Also, consider a conversation with your neighbor before calling animal control.

“Go talk to your neighbor. Meet them. You might find out something awesome about them that you just didn’t know,” Montez said.

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