Noise pollution and dog barking: the solutions

There are nearly 7.6 million dogs in France. These endearing animals can sometimes be sources of noise pollution.

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Barking dogs are, in fact, often pretexts for neighborhood quarrels. Between the master of the dog who cannot control the barking of his dog and the neighbor exasperated by the noise, it is often a war of nerves. Fortunately, it is possible to resolve these problems, first by discussion and compromise, otherwise, in case of failure, by legal proceedings.

When can we talk about noise pollution?

There are no articles of law in French legislation specifically targeting the nuisance caused by the barking of a dog. There is, however, a fairly specific description of what constitutes a noise nuisance, a disturbance or a disturbance in the neighborhood and it is possible that the barking of a dog falls into this definition.

For dog barking to be considered a neighborhood disturbance, it must correspond to the definition given in article R1336-5 of the He alth Code. According to this article of law: “No particular noise must, by its duration, its repetition or its intensity, affect the tranquility of the neighborhood or the he alth of man, in a public or private place, that a person either itself at the origin or whether through the intermediary of a person, of a thing of which it has custody or of an animal placed under its responsibility.”.

To represent a nuisance, the dog's barking must therefore meet at least one of the three criteria of repetition, intensity or duration.

So if the dog barks all day, it meets the duration criterion, if it barks every day, it meets the repetition criterion, if it barks very loudly, it meets the intensity. In these three cases, barking does represent a noise nuisance.

Noise pollution and nocturnal uproar

Dog barking is not prohibited in itself, and neighbors who are moderately inconvenienced by the noises produced by a dog should exercise patience and tolerance.

To distinguish normal and acceptable barking from a real noise nuisance, you must refer to the thresholds set by the Ministry of He alth.

During the day, barking is considered a noise nuisance when it exceeds 5 decibels and meets at least one of the three criteria already mentioned (intensity, repetition, duration).

During the night, barking is a noise nuisance if it exceeds 3 decibels, even if it does not meet any criteria of duration, repetition or intensity.

Furthermore, the law does not set a precise time at which the nocturnal noise rule applies and it is customary to consider that it is nocturnal noise when the noise is emitted so it's dark.

How to act in case of noise pollution due to barking?

The response to the nuisance generated by the barking of the neighbor's dog must be gradual and progressive. You have to start by talking to the neighbor, hoping that he will settle the problem amicably, then put him on notice, before considering legal proceedings.

Chat with the dog owner

This is the first step in settling the dispute with a neighbor whose dog is too noisy. This is a must, because the dog's master is responsible for the nuisance that the animal causes to neighbors. It is therefore necessary to contact him, explain the problem calmly and ask for the implementation of solutions. This step is useful, because it often happens that dog owners do not realize the nuisance generated by their pets. If the owner realizes that his dog is barking a lot, especially in his absence, he can suggest solutions such as keeping the dog or taking him elsewhere during the day, especially if the dog barks out of boredom or because of stress.

The formal notice

If the neighbor does not respond favorably to the attempt at an amicable settlement, you must send him a letter to describe in writing the nuisances endured, as well as the regulations applicable in this type of case.

If the dog's master does not give a satisfactory answer to this first letter, he must be put on notice by sending him a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt asking him to stop the noise pollution. After sending the first letter, it is generally necessary to give the neighbor a period of two weeks before giving him formal notice.

Report the nuisance

In the event of no response to the formal notice from the neighbor, you must go to the next step and have the nuisance noticed by the police. It is then necessary to request the intervention of the town hall, the judicial police or the geographically competent municipal police.

In the event that the nuisance is proven, the police draw up a report. If the nuisance is observed at night, the injured neighbor can go to the police station to ask the police to move. The latter can then observe the nuisance without measuring the intensity of the noise.

During the day, the town hall has the police report the nuisance, which draws up a report and sends the dog's master a formal notice.

Recourse to justice

It is only after the failure of all the options already mentioned that the injured neighbor can appeal to justice. There is then the choice between a criminal procedure and a civil procedure. In court, the report drawn up by the police is considerable evidence in favor of the plaintiff. However, it is possible to accumulate evidence by having the nuisance noted by a bailiff or by using the testimonies of other injured neighbors.

The pen alties incurred

The master of the dog whose barking is deemed to be a noise nuisance can be fined up to 450 euros.

If it is a civil proceeding, the owner may be obliged to stop the nuisance and pay damages to the injured neighbor. He may also be required by the judge to soundproof his accommodation.

In criminal proceedings, the owner of the dog can only be sanctioned by a fine.

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