A dog’s bark may be worse than its bite – and in one North Jersey municipality, it may land you in the slammer.
The Saddle River council wants to add some teeth to a one-sentence ordinance against barking by calling for steep fines and even jail time for loud pooches’ owners, according to NJ.com.
According to an amended ordinance, which will be voted on March 18, man’s best friend may not bark, howl or yelp for more than 20 minutes between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. or for more than 15 minutes between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Violators are subject to fines of up to $1,000, jail for up to 90 days, or up to 90 days of community service.
Saddle River Borough Administrator Jerry Giaimis said the language in the town’s existing ordinance about noisy animals is vague and that authorities had trouble enforcing it.
“I think the ordinance definitely provides clarification, but to be clear we do not have a barking dog epidemic here in Saddle River,” Giaimis told News12.
“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.”
Giaimis said one incident prompted the push against loud pooches, though he would not elaborate.
“It wasn’t enforceable,” he told NJ.com about the current ordinance, which sets no time restrictions.
The ordinance also would prohibit dogs from trespassing and damaging property.
Police Chief Jason Cosgriff said the town does not have a big problem with loud mutts, but that his department gets complaints “from time to time.”
“Sometimes it is nuisance barking or sometimes the dogs are just doing their job. They may be barking at another animal or a person,” he told WCBS.
Giaimis said “there are probably 200 towns in New Jersey that use those same penalties, adding: “I can say with 100 percent certainty that no one is going to jail over a barking dog.”
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