Information about reporting barking dogs and noisy animals.
Report a Noisy Animal
To report a barking dog or other noisy animal:
- Call (505) 768-1975, or
- Submit an online form
Benefits Of Mediation
Confidential – Mediators will not disclose what is said in the mediation session. The only exception is the signed, final agreement and certain legal requirements.
Control – The mediators keep the lines of communication open, but do not make decisions about how the dispute should be resolved. Decision making power is reserved for the people affected by the outcome. The mediators do not impose their own views or solutions.
Voluntary –You choose whether you want to mediate. You can also choose to stop the mediation process at any time. You choose to reach an agreement.
Private – Mediation occurs in a private environment. The participants decide who needs to be involved in the mediation.
Quick and Cost-Effective – Mediation services are provided at no-charge to City of Albuquerque residents. Mediations can be scheduled within one to two weeks at locations and times that are convenient for you.
Respectful – Mediation respects differences in opinions, beliefs and backgrounds.
It Works! – Because participants are involved in creating their own solution research shows people are more satisfied with the result and comply with the terms of the agreement.
Does My Neighbor’s Noisy Animal Meet The Standard For The Noise Complaints?
When you call about a noise complaint, the Animal Welfare Division looks for the following circumstances:
- Is the noise unprovoked?
- Does the animal make noise continuously for at least 10 minutes?
- The officer must hear the violation in person in order to issue a citation.
- If the officer does not hear the violation, the person making the complaint will be required to pursue the case in Metropolitan court as a civil matter.
- Complainant cannot remain anonymous. Cases cannot be prosecuted with an anonymous complaint.
Animal Services Division Ordinance 9-2-4-7 (no person shall allow an animal in his possession or control to persistently or continuously bark, howl, or make noise common to its species, to the extent that it causes a nuisance or as otherwise prohibited by this Chapter. This provision shall not apply to public Zoos and approved and properly zoned Animal Shelters as defined by this article).
My Neighbor’s Animal Violates The Ordinance. How Do I Make A Complaint?
1st Occurrence – Call 311 or fill out the form online. A letter is sent to the owner and the complainant placing the owner on a 7 day notice to resolve the problem.
2nd Occurrence – If the noise continues after 7 days, call 311 or fill out the form online. An Animal Welfare Officer will be dispatched to investigate. If the officer witnesses the noise violation, a citation and or a criminal complaint may be issued. If the Officer does not witness the violation, the complainant will be required to pursue the case in Metropolitan court as a civil matter.
What Is The Process Of Taking My Neighbor To Court To Resolve This Issue?
To file a lawsuit in Metropolitan Court, you must fill out a Civil Complaint Form which can be obtained from Metropolitan Court Customer Service or the Metropolitan Court Website (www.metrocourt.state.nm.us). In the complaint, you must provide the correct name and physical address for both you and the animal owner.
There are fees for filing a lawsuit. Please see the Metropolitan Court Website for current costs.
What Is Mediation And How Can It Help Resolve A Noise Complaint?
Mediation is a dispute resolution process designed for neighbors in the City of Albuquerque to resolve problems in a safe and productive way.
Mediators are impartial third parties and are trained at reducing hostility between neighbors and helping neighbors look at problems in a new way and discuss solutions that will resolve the problem for both neighbors. Mediators do not blame, judge who is right or wrong, or make decisions about what should happen. In mediation you are responsible for the outcome.
Mediation sessions scheduled through the City of Albuquerque Community Mediation Program are provided at no charge.
Where And When Do Mediations Take Place?
Mediation sessions are scheduled in locations convenient to your neighborhood. The session can take place during the day or evening depending on the schedules of the people involved.
How Do I Begin The Mediation Process?
Call the City Alternative Dispute Resolution Office at (505) 768-4500. We will work with you to answer questions and determine if mediation can help you resolve your conflict.
Reasons for the Noise
Whining, noise, and howling reflect a noisy animal's emotional state. For example, a noisy animal that is excited or startled may make noise to express its agitation. It is important to bear in mind that your reaction to your animal's noise or whining will directly determine its behavior in the future.
- Barking to attract attention
Your animal can learn how to behave in ways that attract attention if you reward its behavior with attention. If your animal makes noise when it sees food and you then give it food, the animal will learn to make noise for food. The animal may then learn to make noise in a variety of situations, many of them inappropriate, for a reward. The reward may take many forms, including food, praise or petting. Even in the form of punishment, negative attention is still attention. Sometimes the best way to deal with attention seeking noise or whining is to simply ignore it. As difficult as this may be, keep in mind that you encourage noise by giving your animal any attention, positive (reward) or negative (punishment).
- Barking during isolation
An animal that is not accustomed to being alone may become anxious when isolated or separated from a playmate or human companion. This anxiety may be expressed by whining and howling. The animal may make noise or whine only in the first moments following separation, or may continue the entire period of isolation. Behavior modification, sometimes combined with sedation as necessary, may be the viable solution. Vocalization (making noise) may precede other forms of separation anxiety, such as destructiveness, inappropriate elimination and excessive grooming.
Stopping the Racket
Making noise may be desirable if you value a good watch animal. However, it may also escalate to excessive levels. When your animal is overreacting to the slightest sound or is noisy constantly for no apparent reason, try these tips:
- Regular leash walks
Provide an animal with mental and physical stimulation so that it is calmer in general and less likely to seek objectionable activities. Walking also allows the animal an opportunity for important social interaction.
- "Rain on his parade"
To remind your animal that his noise is not appreciated and that you saying, "no noise" means "stop noise," give him a short blast of water with a squirt bottle. It's best to aim for the body and not the face. When he stops noise, praise him immediately.
- "Stroke" his chew toy
Your animal will have a hard time making noise if his mouth is busy chewing. Chewing is a natural stress release for animals and an occupier of time. If you're going to be gone, give your animal his favorite chew toy just before you leave. Certain toys like "kong" allow for the addition of peanut butter or cream cheese to be added inside, making them more desirable.
- A soda can with pebbles
Shaking a soda can filled with pebbles has an effect on both dogs and cats that is the pet equivalent of running your fingernails down a blackboard. Put some pebbles or small coins in an empty soda can and tape the opening shut. When the noisy animal doesn't respond to the command to be quiet, shake the can a couple of times. They don't like the sound, so they often stop what they're doing when they hear it. When they stop the noise, praise them immediately. For more stubborn cases, hurling the can towards the culprit (but not directly at him) will have the same effect. Once again, praise the animal immediately after you get the desired result.
- Bring them inside
If your animal sleeps outside and likes to be a "voice over the evening," you may want to bring him indoors. He'll have much less to make noise at.
- Blocking the stimulus with "White Noise"
If your animal is super sensitive to noises, try blocking some of that noise (desensitizing him) so he's not so inspired to bark. "White Noise" may help refocus his attention and calm him to other stimulating noises around him. Turning on the vacuum cleaner to block the approaching steps of a mail carrier, or children walking home from school. Playing your stereo at a normal level may also help.
- A little citronella
Your animal trainer may recommend a specialized "no-noise" collar which delivers a squirt of citronella, a high frequency sound, or a light shock whenever your animal makes noise. Animal Services Division recommends the citronella collar over the others. Some collars go off immediately, while others allow the animal to make noise a few times before being activated. Some of the older model shock collars may be activated by planes flying overhead. Be very selective - your animal training expert can help you choose the right size for your pet. Some of these collars can be extremely effective, but you really need to work with someone who can help you get a good collar and training. Pet supply stores and trainers offer these specialized collars.
- Territorial defense
Protecting territory is part of an animal's basic nature. Barking and growling serve to alert other pack or family members to danger. If your animal makes noise because it is startled by a noise outside and you immediately come to see what it is making noise at, it will associate noise with the reward of seeing you next time it makes noise. When an animal makes noise excessively, this activity must be redirected immediately toward an acceptable alternative.
- Know when to change strategies
Many times people don't know when to call it quits with a particular approach. They may keep doing one thing for months even though it not working. If there is no improvement within 3 - 5 days of using one anti-make noise technique, try another one. Albuquerque and its surrounding has many talented animal trainers who will be able to give you advice about noise problems or other behavioral issues.
Your veterinarian may be of help if the above-mentioned strategies have not worked. Combined with behavior modification, sedation or surgery may also help.