Hillsborough County residents could soon be fined if their dog barks too loudly for too long.  

  • Dog's excessive barking could peg owners with fine in Hillsborough
  • County leaders passed noise ordinance this week
  • Neighbors can report loud pets who make noise for more than 20 mins.

County leaders passed a noise ordinance this week that allows neighbors to report loud pets—including dogs and cats—if they make noise for more than 20 minutes.

Officials said the noise ordinance only applies to unincorporated Hillsborough County where residents with pets could face up to $500 in fines.

As you can imagine, some pet owners aren’t too happy with the new rules.

“To me that’s just ridiculous,” said one woman at a Tampa dog park. “If someone else is being too loud can I call the cops on them and can they get a $500 fine?”

Dog owner Nicole Beissel said she understands the loud noise being a problem, but thinks being fined for the excessive barking and meowing is the real problem.

“I mean I understand that it’s really annoying. Maybe they should have different times that it could happen—like maybe after 10 p.m. or something. But during the day when your dog is barking and maybe your neighbor is not like the most friendliest person, that might not be a very good thing to do,” Beissel said.

The county’s pet resources department will enforce the ordinance during the day, and the sheriff’s office will enforce it after hours.

Nock Buchanan lives in a high rise with his dog and thinks this is a matter for his building, not the authorities.

“I know there are buildings that do have maybe some dogs that bark throughout the day so maybe it’s a little more. The HOA’s can get involved a little bit more and kind of educate the people that live there,” Buchanan said.

To report a loud dog, the complainant would have to record the animal for 20 minutes. They would then take that recording to either the sheriff’s office or the county’s pet resources department.

The authorities would then rely on affidavits from the neighbors about the dog complaints.

At a commission meeting, it was asked if someone called the sheriff’s office at 3 a.m. and they didn’t record the nuisance animal, what would happen. The response was that there is probably not going to be a deputy who is able to spend 20 minutes listening to a dog barking because he has other calls to go to—which is why the county is enforcing the affidavit system. 

Residents could also face 60 days in prison, or both the fine and prison time.