[T]he very best of [dogs] can, with less effort and in a shorter space of time, make themselves more of a nuisance to the square inch than any other domestic quadruped of which we have any knowledge.
- CALIFORNIA COURT OF APPEAL1
The Barking Dogs section includes
Talking to Your Neighbor
Mediation: Getting Another Person to Help
State and Local Laws
Animal Control Authorities
Small Claims Court
Probably the most common complaint about dogs is the noise they make. Barking dogs may "murder sleep," said one judge who presumably had some first-hand experience. The good news for neighbors is that usually problems can be resolved without resorting to legal means, through informal negotiation or mediation. And if that fails, there is almost always a law against dogs that make a nuisance of themselves by barking, howling, or whining.
If you can't get these laws enforced to your satisfaction, you can sue the dog owner to get the nuisance stopped and to recover money damages. But substituting a major hassle with expensive lawyers for a small one with a bad-mannered spaniel isn't much progress. (Keep in mind Ambrose Bierce's definition of a lawsuit: "a machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.") Lawsuits are especially undesirable when the other party is a neighbor - after all, you'll still be next door to each other no matter who wins.
This section discusses the most promising ways to resolve neighborhood dog disputes out of court and stay on relatively good terms with the neighbors.