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Animal Noise Frequently Asked Questions

What is the law related to animal noise?

Neighborhood disturbance caused by barking dogs and other animal noise can be a serious problem in San Diego. San Diego Municipal Code Section 59.5.0502C provides that:

The keeping or maintenance, or the permitting to be kept or maintained upon any premises owned, occupied, or controlled by any person of any animal or animals which by any frequent or long continued noise, shall cause annoyance or discomfort to a reasonable person of normal sensitiveness in the vicinity is unlawful.

Criteria defining a violation of the noise ordinance:

  • any animal noise that disturbs three (3) or more residents residing in separate residences adjacent or in close proximity to any part of the property on which the subject animal or animals are kept or maintained.

What are some animal control regulations?

The quantity and type of animals kept on residential property are restricted in the San Diego city limits. Cats are not regulated. The total number of fowl and rabbits maintained on a residential property is restricted to 25, except up to 100 pigeons provided that the animals are kept at least 50 feet from any residence.

Having more than six dogs at a residence is considered a kennel, and is not permitted in residential zones.

Why do dogs bark so much?

Dogs bark excessively for numerous reasons such as loneliness, frustration, frequent neighborhood activity, hyperactivity, etc. The following suggestions may be helpful in controlling excessive barking:

  • Give the dog attention and exercise daily.
  • If the dog barks because of frequent neighborhood activity, try to remove the dog from the activity. Consider keeping the dog in the house or garage whenever possible or keeping a dog in a location isolated from the source of disturbances.
  • Dogs frequently bark while left outside alone on the property. If you must leave the dog unattended, keep the dog inside the garage or house whenever possible.
  • Consult your veterinarian on the possible causes for the barking.
  • Explore training services listed in the Yellow Pages under "Dog Training".

How can a rooster be prevented from crowing?

Roosters can be kept in a well-ventilated box during nighttime hours so that the rooster cannot raise his head to crow.

How can birds be kept quiet?

Exotic birds can be kept indoors and/or in a covered cage to minimize the noise.

If the amount of animal noise cannot be reduced, the animal must be removed from the property.

How can the City help?

Code Enforcement can only take further action when the city receives signed statements from the required number of complainants.

Cases that have the necessary support may be referred to mediation or the City may issue administrative fines ($100, $250, $500).

Other enforcement remedies are also available for severe cases.