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Barking dogs could lead to financial bite in Laguna Niguel

September 22, 2011 | 11:52 am

Laguna Niguel considers barking dog ordinance
Laguna Niguel is considering a barking dog ordinance that would allow animal control officials to issue citations and fines to people with loud, annoying canines.

The new ordinance would allow officials to issue citations after five warnings. Mission Viejo, which handles animal services for Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo, has called the process successful and has never had to give more than one citation to stop the problem.

The citations would start at $100 and go up to $500, the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot reported.

The current approach offers mediation to the parties if they cannot sort it out privately. If mediation is refused, the city leaves it to the complaining party to contemplate civil action against the dog owner.

Councilwoman Linda Lindholm asked to add a 10-day grace period between complaints. While most of the council agreed to the addition, Mayor Pro Tem Paul Glaab pointed out that only the most irresponsible dog owners are going to face the fines.

"It's for those people that won't exercise responsibility for their animals," he said.

He added that a 10-day grace period might mean more than a week of constant dog barking and that the council should consider those affected as well.

Several residents spoke at a City Council meeting on Tuesday, advocating that a financial "bite" could be the ticket to effective enforcement.

"It gets pretty obnoxious when you have a dog barking for hours and hours on end," Mark Snider said.

The ordinance with the 10-day waiting period amendment will be on the Oct. 4 council agenda for consideration and adoption.

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-- Joanna Clay, Times Community News

Photo: Laguna Niguel considers citations for barking dogs. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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