There are several steps you can take as a neighbor to address animals creating a disturbance.
Step 1: Communicate with the pet owner
If there is an animal creating a disturbance, such as a barking dog in your neighborhood, we recommend you talk with your neighbor before making a complaint. The owner may not realize that their animal is causing a disturbance. Often pets, like dogs, tend to make noise when their owner(s) are not home. Try to work out a mutually agreeable and reasonable solution in a neighborly manner.
If you are unable or uncomfortable approaching your neighbor directly, you can print a copy of our Noisy Pet Letter and deliver it to your neighbor.
Step 2: Contact Fort Collins Mediation
The City of Fort Collins offers a mediation program with the goal of “providing neighbors a safe, efficient and neutral environment to discuss and resolve conflicts based on the needs of each party.” Mediation is a good next step to help resolve neighbor issues before moving on to enforcement actions. You can contact Fort Collins Mediation through their website, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 970-224-6022.
Step 1 and Step 2 are not required to file a complaint. They are usually the best working and longest lasting solutions for neighbors to resolve issues with animals. Following these steps can also assist if a noise issue cannot be resolved between neighbors and requires enforcement action.
Step 3: If the noise continues, submit a complaint
If the barking continues after discussing the issue with your neighbor or notifying them of the problem, file a formal complaint online or by calling 970.226.3647 ext. 7. Before filing a complaint please have the following information available at a minimum:
- The address for the animal(s) creating a disturbance
- A description of the animal(s) (size, breed, color, etc.), if known
- The exact time and date the animal was last causing a disturbance
- Your name, address, and phone number
- Additional information that can be helpful is the owner’s name and telephone number if known
Anonymous complaints about animal noise disturbance are not accepted. Complainant information is not released for complaints resulting in a courtesy letter if the person making the complaint requests their information be kept confidential. Complainant information cannot be kept confidential in cases when a citation is to be issued.
Animal Protection & Control will not respond to animal noise complaints if the location of the animal is unknown.
Once a formal complaint is filed with all the necessary information the address will be assessed to determine if there have been any formal complaints within twelve (12) months prior to the complaint. If there was a complaint within the previous twelve months the next step may be the issuance of a citation.
If there have been no complaints in the previous twelve months a courtesy letter will be delivered to the address advising the residents of the complaint. Please allow the animal’s owner 7-10 days to correct the problem. This part of the complaint process is in place to give animal owners an opportunity to address these issues causing the disturbance.
Step 4: If the violation continues after a first formal complaint is reported
If the animal disturbance continues 7-10 days after filing a formal complaint with Animal Protection and Control, you may file a second complaint, providing the same information as listed above for the most recent date and time of the disturbance.
Upon receipt of a second formal complaint, Animal Protection & Control will request a written statement from the person filing the complaint. While it is not necessary in most cases, having other neighbors to corroborate your complaint is helpful. Multiple statements from various parties can strengthen a case, rule out neighbor disputes, and aid in addressing the problem quickly and fairly. Once the written statement is received an officer will contact the person making the complaint, review the information, and determine if a violation has occurred. If it appears that a disturbance violation has occurred, the owner or keeper of the animal may receive a citation. Keeping a log of the days and times the animal was causing a disturbance will help Animal Protection & Control to better serve you. You can download our animal noise incident log to assist you in keeping this record.
Once a citation is delivered to the animal owner or keeper, they will in most cases have the option of paying a fine or contesting the violation. If the violation is contested you may be required to appear in court to testify to the animal disturbance.
Animal Protection & Control cannot make an animal stop creating noise, make an owner train their animal, or remove animals for making noise. An owner’s efforts to quiet their animals and the legal process are things that do take time to move through. We advise residents to not wait if having issues with animals creating a disturbance. Please start the steps outlined above before the issue becomes a more frequent problem.