My battle with a dog barking nuisance...
I happen to have a neighbor who is free loading at his Mom's house, and to my detriment happens to be a crazy-dog afficiando. Works in a restaurant or something. Comes home between midnight and 2 AM. Brings the two crazy dogs out in the back yard, below adjacent to our bedroom windows. Is loud on his cell phone at 1 AM and is playing with his dogs at that hour creating a racket. Usually about 10 minutes till he finishes his cigarette. Not time enough for me to get the cops over. Dog noise is low priority for them. If I call at 1 AM, a cop may show up at 8 AM in the morning.
5 AM in the morning. It is his mother's turn to smoke her cigarette. She lets the dogs out again while she puffs herself to death. Another racket for 5-7 minutes.
Animal Control? LOL. They 'work' 9-5, Monday to Friday. Left a message on their 'hotline' aka answering machine. Four days later found a business card stuck to my front door, saying 'AC was here. call our hotline again if you are still having trouble'
And I believe this is the situation all over the country. Officials are apathetic. Even judges can be unfair, if they themselves are dog owners creating nuisance for their neighbors.
Back to my story. Tried to talk to this individual two times. I made the good faith effort to deal with it in a good citizen manner by trying to talk to him. Both times, as soon as I mentioned the dogs, I got cussed out and yelled at. The fellow considers himself some kind of expert at the law. Yells at me that the dogs can bark for 20 minutes each session, at upto 120 decibels anytime, 'according to the law'. 'They are animals and animals cannot be controlled' he says. Typical cocky dog owner attitude. So much for my good citizen efforts..
With all other options exhausted, here is what I have done. Is costing me some money but have no choice. We remodelled our house three years ago and love its location, so moving out is not an option. No guarantee we'll have peace and quiet at the next place, if we move. So we have decided to stay and fight.
Tried the bar association contact list and called about ten attorneys. Dog barking issue? No, sorry we're too busy. Attorneys are too busy if no one has died or gotten hurt. Most of them are not interested in small time stuff. Anyways, I posted a message in Craigslist, looking for an attorney who'd be willing to help, got lucky and found this gentleman attorney in Denver. Paid 50 quid for consultation and 200 quid for him to write a cease and desist letter to the property owner -the cocky guy's mother. He and his dogs are free loading at his mom's, but he's about to create a major problem for her. Attorrney is researching the dog laws in my city, a suburb of Denver. Then he'll write the letter next week. Letter will also tell the home owner that she is causing us injury by interrupting our sleep, by way of the conduct of the occupants of her house. For maximum impact I'll have the Sheriff Dept. deliver the letter to the cocky fellow's mother.
If all disturbances don't stop after the letter, I'll sue her for damages and also request a court for injunction. May cost me 4000 to 5000 to get the ball rolling in District Court, if it come to that. Once I lay down that kind of money there will be no going back, unless she agrees to pay all of my legal costs and stop the nuisance. If the attorney agrees to tack on damages for sleep deprivation, she'll be in serious trouble.
When you want to sue someone, attorneys want 200 quid an hour (in Denver). If you're sued, they'll want 400/hour to defend you. These are the realities which cocky dog owners -and their mothers- don't realize.
Even if dog barking laws in places may allow the nuisance to be perpetrated on others, they do not protect the perpetrators from civil action.
Here is what I have setup for collecting evidence. I bought one miniature security camera with audio from Amazon (about 50 quids). Then I bought a time lapse VCR from EBay ( a Philips for 70 quid including shipping). This VCR records for upto 40 hours on a 8-hour VHS tape with date and time stamp. I have installed the camera on my side of the fence looking into my yard, to be non intrusive, but is listening into my cocky neighbor's yard. It's picking up all sounds and noises they are making. Unaware of what's coming to them. One day my cocky neighbor was telling his dogs, out loud so we could hear it, that they had '19 more minutes to bark'. Another night at 10:30 PM he was himself barking like a dog. Provocation. But I didn't get provoked. Because I know that I have much bigger things in the works for him, and his mother. And I'll nail them with both witnesses and with evidence.
I am offering 50 quid to persons in my neighborhood who can come at short notice and witness the dog disturbance and will pay him/her 10 quid an hour for testifying in court, if needed. Two witnesses will cost me about $300.
There are other neighbors who are affected by the nuisance but they are afraid of getting involved. Typical of our society today, unfortunately. Cocky dog owners are like bullys and most folks are afraid of bullys. Not me. He's messing with the wrong person...
So far my costs, altogether, are at 417 bucks.
If the cease and desist letter doesn't give him a jolt and bring him down from his cocky dog heaven, I have the attorney's retainer ready for the next step, which will be huge.
Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do....
Hope details of my situation can give you any helpful clues for your situation.
I'll write an update after a few weeks....