By Bob Robinson
Q: What are the City of Elizabethton ordinances on barking dogs? Who do I call or what do I do to get this taken care of?
A: Barking dogs are not a violation of City Code, but “noisy dogs” are prohibited by City Code 10-205, which reads: “Noisy dogs prohibited. No person shall own, keep, or harbor any dog which, by loud and frequent barking, whining, or howling annoys or disturbs the peace and quiet of any neighborhood.” (1982 Code, § 3-205) This code is jointly enforced by the Elizabethton code enforcement officer and the Elizabethton Police Department.
According to Elizabethton Police Chief Matt Bailey, citizens should first call 9-1-1 to report noisy dogs that are causing a disturbance.
“This will ensure a much faster response, as well as give the responding officer an opportunity to actually see firsthand what level of disturbance the animal is causing,” Bailey said. “When a citizen calls 9-1-1, the complaint is dispatched to the patrol officer who is working in that particular zone.
“If the patrol officer in that zone is busy on another call, etc., the call is handled by either the first-line supervisor (sergeant) or the shift watch commander (captain). Historically, when our officers respond to these complaints, we make every attempt to locate the owner [or owners] of the animal and explain to them the nature of the complaint.
“Furthermore, we typically make every attempt to make the owners aware of the actual City Code in an effort to educate them on the prohibition of noisy dogs. If we are unable to locate the owners, our officer will leave a “Warning to the Owner of the Dog” tag hanging on the door of the residence,” Chief Bailey said.
According to Code Enforcement Officer Bryan Scott, a citizen may also call code enforcement at 547-7407 or at 542-1503 to file a complaint.
“I am not dispatched like the police department, and I may or may not be available at the time of the complaint. However, as soon as I am available, I respond to investigate the complaint. If the dog or dogs are not barking when I arrive, or if they stop barking within a few minutes after my arrival, there is nothing I can do except to verbally warn the owners.
“If the violation is committed in my presence, I may cite the owners to appear in City Court. If it an on-going problem, anyone affected by the violation may be asked to come to City Court as a witness for the prosecution. If necessary, a witness may be subpoenaed,” Scott said.
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