Laguna Beach looking at new ways to control excessive dog barking with fines on owners

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Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Laguna Beach passes new ordinance to control excessive dog barking
The ordinance, set to go into effect in September, was signed by Mayor Bob Whalen on Monday.

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Laguna Beach residents like Julia Collins love their pets. Her 4-year-old Boston terrier named Tessa can be full of energy.

"She definitely gets excited when she meets new people but she's not a big barker. She is really kind of mellow," said Collins.

While Tessa is not much of a barker, the city is now clarifying a city ordinance that manages uncontrolled dog barking.

Mayor Bob Whalen on Monday signed the ordinance that provides guidance to animal control as to when dog owners should be cited.

"One if your dog is barking incessantly for 30 minutes or if over a 24-hour period your dog is barking for at least an hour or more," said Whalen.

"Any time you hear a fine, it's not like ideal for any reason," said Collins in regard to the new guidelines. "However, I kind of understand. For 30 minutes, most as a dog-lover, I feel bad for any animal that's barking more than 30 minutes. Obviously there's something wrong."

Whalen says even though more than 200 citations for excessive dog barking were handed out last year, the old ordinance was too subjective since it did not explain what was excessive.

"We had some dog owners who were feeling like maybe they were not being treated fairly because it was too subjective under the old rules," said Whalen.

The new ordinance also includes language that bans dogs from being tied to bikes, e-scooters or other moving vehicles when on walks.

Whalen says this will minimize the risk for the animals and their owners.

"If you've got a dog on a leash, you're dragging up and down the hills and it looks like the dog is in distress, then you could get cited for that," added Whalen.

Changes to the dog barking ordinance will go into effect in 30 days.

The mayor says they'll review the ordinance in 60 days to make sure that it is working.