Washoe County Ordinance 50.308 (18) – Public Nuisances.
...the keeping, harboring or owning any animal that by making loud and frequent sounds causes annoyance to, or disturbance of the peace or comfort of, the neighborhood or a reasonable person of normal sensitivities in the vicinity...
It is not illegal for an animal to make noise; but chronic noise and/or noise for long periods of time constitute a legal nuisance.
While barking dogs are the majority of complaints received, this ordinance is not limited to dogs. Crowing roosters and other animals can cause an annoyance to the neighborhood. Therefore, when reporting a noise complaint, please be specific about the description of the animal causing the nuisance.
If you are reporting a noise complaint for the first time, that animal owner will be sent a Notice of Complaint, in the form of a letter that explains the law and gives some helpful tips on how they might control the noise. We ask that you give the animal owner time to react to the Notice of Complaint (generally a week). If the animal owner fails to correct the problem, you may file another complaint and request that the party be given a Final Notice.
The following information is required to file a complaint;
- The location where the animal lives (street address)
- The description of the animal (white poodle, brown horse)
- The time the animal generally makes noise (11pm to midnight)
- The date the animal was making noise (Saturday June 12th)
Should the animal owner fail to take corrective action you may request a "Final Notice" be sent. Once again, we ask that you give the animal owner time to take corrective action (generally a week). Most animal owners will respond to the "Final Notice". As a precaution, we suggest that you begin to document the noise by keeping a written log in the event that the Final Notice fails to bring about the desired change. For your convenience, a Noise Nuisance Log, Statement form and an informational letter will also be sent to you.
Should it be necessary to take further legal action against the animal owner, this agency will apply a reasonable person's standard in attempting to determine if the noise constitutes a "legal" nuisance. Additionally, this agency has a duty to not proceed with any case that lacks sufficient evidence, and therefore you may need additional witnesses and/or evidence (a video or audio tape) in the event of an Administrative Hearing to demonstrate the full extent of the noise nuisance. The two key elements that need to be demonstrated are frequency and/or duration of the noise.
Should the animal owner fail to take corrective action, you will have various options that may include court funded mediation or a citizen's request for a Civil Penalty. One of our officers will assist you with your case.
When reporting a 2nd noise complaint, the following information is required;
- 1. The location where the animal lives (street address)
- 2. The description of the animal (white poodle, brown horse)
- 3. When the animal generally makes noise (11pm to midnight)
- 4. The date animal was making noise (Saturday June 12th)
- 5. Your complete mailing address and contact number
If the notices have not produced an acceptable remedy to the animal noise disturbance and you have completed a Noise Nuisance Log and a formal complaint in the form of a written, signed Statement please submit a 3rd complaint and your request will be reviewed by a Field Supervisor. Please remember, without supportive documentation, your request for a Civil Penalty cannot proceed. Any additional supportive documentation such as; pictures, video or audio recording will remain in your possession. Should an Administrative Hearing be requested by the animal owner the additional documentations may be presented to the Hearing Officer to support the complaint. You will need to provide whatever device is necessary to present any electronic or digital documentation.
Due to the nature of this type of complaint, legal action cannot be taken without your testimony and therefore we cannot proceed beyond sending the two notices without your cooperation and testimony. If you would like further assistance on a noise complaint, please request a Field Supervisor contact you.
Notice: All reports are subject to public records request.