Town proposes ordinance to fine owners of barking dogs

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SADDLE RIVER -

A Bergen County town is considering an ordinance aimed at dogs that bark continuously.

Saddle River Borough Administrator Jerry Giaimis says that the town has always had an ordinance about noisy animals. But he says that the language was vague and authorities had trouble enforcing it.

Saddle Brook is a wealthier New Jersey town with homes on large plots of land. Giaimis says that noisy pets haven’t been a major issue in the town. He says that there was one recent case between two neighbors, which promoted town officials to make the language of the law clearer.

The new ordinance would put a ban on “loud, frequent or habitual continuous barking, howling or yelling” from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. for 20 minutes straight. For the overnight hours, 15 minutes of continuous barking could lead to a fine.

“I think the ordinance definitely provides clarification, but to be clear we do not have a barking dog epidemic here in Saddle River,” Giaimis says. “I have, since the introduction of this ordinance, not received one phone call from anybody in town…Every now and then when an issue comes before us and we realize we need to change an ordinance and make it better, we do that.”

Owners of dogs that violate the ordinance could face up to $1,000 fines.

A public hearing and vote are scheduled for March 18.

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