A. It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, harbor, control, or keep on any premises any dog that barks or howls so continuously or incessantly as to unreasonably disturb the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood. However, the provisions of this section shall not apply to any commercial dog kennel permitted by zoning law where located. The Animal Control Department is responsible for enforcement of the provisions of this section.
B. For purposes of this section, evidence that the dog has barked or howled for an aggregate period of 20 minutes out of one hour shall be sufficient for conviction; provided, however, that any barking or howling provoked by a loose running dog or other animal, or nearby pedestrians, shall not be included in such aggregate time. Provocation in the forms listed herein must occur within 100 feet of the barking or howling dog to be sufficient.
C. For purposes of this section, evidence that two or more dogs are provoking each other to bark shall be sufficient for conviction under this section, so long as the barking continues for an aggregate 20 minutes out of one hour, regardless of which dog commenced the barking. In such instance, owners of each dog involved shall be subject to citation.
Proof that any individual dog barked for an aggregate 20 minutes out of an hour shall not be required if it is shown that the barking of the two or more dogs was continuous sequentially or in concert for a 20-minute period.
D. Upon receipt of any complaint based on continuous or incessant barking or howling, an animal control officer shall investigate and take a report from any complaining witness.
E. Upon evaluation of the report, if in the opinion of the animal control officer a valid complaint exists, the officer shall contact the owner of the animal complained about and advise the owner of the existence of the complaint, and instruct the owner to abate the nuisance.
F. If the animal control officer is unable to contact the owner personally, he shall leave posted on the premises in a conspicuous location a notice to contact Animal Control within five days regarding the complaint.
G. If a second complaint is received within a six-month period after the giving of such notice and warning regarding a dog barking or howling incessantly and continuously, whether or not the owner has responded to Animal Control as set forth in subsection (F) of this section, the animal control officer shall investigate the second complaint and take a report from any complaining witness.
H. Upon evaluation of the report, if in the opinion of the animal control officer the dog is creating a nuisance by barking or howling incessantly or continuously, the animal control officer shall issue a citation to the owner of said animal for a violation of this section. Unless the violation is a third repeat offense as defined in subsection (J) of this section, such violation shall be an infraction. Personal appearance before the court shall be mandatory. Forfeiture of bail shall not constitute a resolution of a violation of this section.
I. If the animal control officer receives a third complaint regarding the same animal within one year from the first complaint, he shall repeat the process set forth in subsections (G) and (H) of this section.
J. If the owner of the animal, at the time of the issuance of any citation, has been convicted of a violation of this section or has pled no contest to such violation on two occasions within the previous year regarding the same animal, the violation of this section may be charged as a misdemeanor.
K. If the animal control officer receives a complaint after one year or more has elapsed since the most recent prior complaint, the officer shall issue a warning and continue pursuant to subsections (E) through (I) of this section.
L. The penalty for conviction of an infraction based on this section shall be a fine of up to $100.00.
M. The penalty for conviction of a misdemeanor based on this section shall be up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.00, and the owner shall be required to either remove the dog from the premises or have the dog surgically debarked.