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Barking dogs and wandering pets could mean new fines following L.A. City Council vote

May 5, 2010 |  2:41 pm

Dog walk

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to allow the L.A. Department of Animal Services to issue $100 citations to owners who allow their dogs to roam free and those whose dogs are problem barkers.

The city's Municipal Code already specifies that dogs must be leashed when outside of their owners' property, with the exception of approved areas like city-designated off-leash dog parks. The recent vote would increase the penalty to owners who violate the existing rule.

The Municipal Code also bars owners from allowing dogs to make "noise which is unreasonably annoying, disturbing, offensive, or which unreasonably interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property of one or more persons occupying property in the community or neighborhood."

The Daily Breeze reports on the City Council's motivation for authorizing the new $100 penalties:

The 10-0 vote came after the council learned that Animal Services officers last year wrote nearly 20,000 "notices to comply" to pet owners who had violated city regulations. If each of those violations carried a $100 fine, the city would generate $2 million, officials said.

Of course, with L.A.'s current financial situation looking dire -- for example, a recently proposed $1.8-million cut to the animal services department's budget could mean the closure of an animal shelter if approved -- the City Council is anxious to find new ways to increase revenue.

But beyond the new fines' revenue-generating potential, they can also be "an excellent method for reinforcing the seriousness of complying with laws relating to humane treatment of animals and human-animal safety," the animal services department's interim general manager, Kathy Davis, said.

Repeat violators could be subject to stiffer fines.

For a full list of L.A.'s animal-related municipal codes in PDF format, visit the L.A. Department of Animal Services' website. (It's also available in Spanish.)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A man walks two Siberian huskies along a trail. Credit: Gerard Burkhart / For the Times

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