That Bark’ll Be $250, Please

New Jersey town may fine owners whose dogs bark too much.

The Clifton, N.J., City Council says it plans to introduce an ordinance this week that would set a limit on how long a dog can bark before it is considered a nuisance and the owner is fined.

Under the proposal, a limit of 30 minutes of continuous barking for two consecutive days would be set in defining dog owners’ culpability.

Several city residents have said that timeframe is fair, though they wondered how the city will enforce it.

Some say the legislation would be difficult to enforce for many reasons, including authorities not arriving in time to hear the dog barking; dog owners denying their dog was barking; and reluctance of reporting neighbors to sign nuisance complaints.

If approved by the council, fines would be determined by a judge and could start at $250, according to city health officer John Biegel.

Clifton is home to an estimated 3,750 dogs, according to the city’s dog licensing records.

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