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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3169
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My neighbor has barking dogs keeping me awake and i cannot

Customer Question

my neighbor has barking dogs keeping me awake and i cannot be outside or have my windows open. It is really loud. how can it be stopped with no county noise ordinance in Mecklenburg County Virginia?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Samuel II replied 2 years ago.
HelloThis is Samuel and I will discuss this and provide you information in this regard.I am sorry to hear of this problem. With no noise ordinance your legal recourse is very limited. What part of Mecklenburg County are you in? What is the City or town? Please tell me what the neighbors response to your request to stop the barking has been?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am in Skipwith Virginia. The landowner with the dogs response has been very uncaring. I was escorted off their homesite by the Sheriff's dept and told it will be trespassing if I returned. Meanwhile, the only room in my house which i cannot hear the barking dogs is in the bedroom closet with the door shut. I looked up real estate law and it says something about it being a private nuisance? maybe a public nuisance? what's that. the other neighbors hear the dogs but i am the closest.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
there is a noise ordinance..i was told it doesn't cover dogs barking. just other loud noises. like amplified music.
Expert:  Samuel II replied 2 years ago.
HelloThank youHere is the VA law on Public Nuisance 15.2-900. Abatement or removal of nuisances by localities; recovery of costs.In addition to the remedy provided by § 48-5 and any other remedy provided by law, any locality may maintain an action to compel a responsible party to abate, raze, or remove a public nuisance. If the public nuisance presents an imminent and immediate threat to life or property, then the locality may abate, raze, or remove such public nuisance, and a locality may bring an action against the responsible party to recover the necessary costs incurred for the provision of public emergency services reasonably required to abate any such public nuisance.The term "nuisance" includes, but is not limited to, dangerous or unhealthy substances which have escaped, spilled, been released or which have been allowed to accumulate in or on any place and all unsafe, dangerous, or unsanitary public or private buildings, walls, or structures which constitute a menace to the health and safety of the occupants thereof or the public. The term "responsible party" includes, but is not limited to, the owner, occupier, or possessor of the premises where the nuisance is located, the owner or agent of the owner of the material which escaped, spilled, or was released and the owner or agent of the owner who was transporting or otherwise responsible for such material and whose acts or negligence caused such public nuisance.I suggest that is not appropriate unless the barking is causing a threat.At this juncture it appears the best recourse is to contact the County Council and request a noise ordinance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
what about private nuisance. any Va statements on this?
Expert:  Samuel II replied 2 years ago.
HelloThank you for the follow up question in this regard. Yes, you can sue for a private nuisance. A private nuisance is a non-tresspassory interference with an individual plaintiff’s use or enjoyment of his property. In order for an action for private nuisance to be viable three elements must be in place. 1 The plaintiff must have a possessory interest in the land. That is to say, the plaintiff must either own the land or have the right to possess it. This you have 2 The defendant must have actually performed an act that interferes with the plaintiff’s use and enjoyment of the property. I suggest that you will need to write the neighbor a letter explaining the discomfort and annoyance of the dog barking and that the letter should be mailed certified with a return receipt requested so you can prove that they have been notified of the annoyance and they got the notification. 3 The defendant’s act must cause an interference with the plaintiff’s use and enjoyment of the property that is substantial and unreasonable. In other words, the defendant’s actions must be something that a reasonable person would not tolerate.As state in number 2 above, I suggest that in the letter, you state specifically that the barking is prohibiting you the pleasure and enjoyment of your home.