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Dear LAist, 311 Blows and My Neighbor's Dog is Still Barking at 3 a.m.

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Dear LAist, Lordy, lord, lord. Today I called 311 about a issue: a noise complaint about a neighbor's dog that had been barking for 2 straight hours. The 311 lady asked me my zip code than transferred me to the LAPD. The annoyed LAPD operator explained to me that the police didn't handle barking dog noise complaints. I explained that this was where the 311 operator had transferred me. The LAPD operator then transferred me to Animal Control. The Animal Control lady said I would have to write a letter that stated my complaint and mail it to Animal Control. "But that will take days, and that dog is barking now. There's nothing that can be done about this sooner?" She politely explained that I could hand deliver my letter to Animal Control. I politely explained that since I work in downtown, driving out to the West side on a workday is not a possibility. So basically I'm stuck writing a letter, mailing it, waiting for the letter to arrive and then waiting for someone to investigate at which point the dog probably won't be barking. Fanfuckingtastic. Seriously, have these people never heard of the Internet?!

On the plus side, LA's 311 service is working brilliantly, since its purpose is obviously to give residents the run-around and make it as difficult as possible to file a legitimate complaint.

First of all, that's pretty lame that 311 transferred a barking dog complaint to the LAPD. They should have known that Animal Services takes care of that. After all, they are supposed to be mini city experts and clogging down the LAPD lines, even if just non-emergency, is not a good thing. Secondly, the barking dog process, as lame as it is with all that prehistoric snail mail, does work. But you have to play by the rules and if you do, your problem will be solved. In an e-mail conversation earlier this year with Animal Services, Karen Knipscheer told us that "a person must go thru the barking dog process to gain any ground as far as a barking dog concern. It doesn't matter the time of day, it still has to go thru the process. And it is a good process."

Two discussions come out of this: why is there not an online form, an alternative to snail mail and why is the process not immediate?

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It's 2007, all forms should be online. However, there could be one possibly good reason: making it too easy report dog barking complaints could send in a flurry complaints that were not really complaints. Online, it's easy to type and send. On paper, you really mean it.

Okay, now to why is it 3 a.m., the dog in the next apartment is barking nonstop, I can't sleep and the police won't respond? It does seem a bit ridiculous. After all, if a person had their radio on extremely loud or they were screaming at the top of their lungs, the police would respond because it is "disturbing the peace," though it is one of the lowest priority calls. Apparently, a barking dog does not violate the "disturbing the peace" law , but only LAMC SEC. 53.63, the barking dog noise law.

Maybe the law should be changed to at least a response. Maybe the dog is barking because your neighbor just collapsed after a heart attack. Maybe there's a robber. Or maybe no one's home, and that's probably the reason the LAPD stopped responding to these calls. When a person is making the noise, at least someone can answer the door. If a dog is barking and no one is home, the police are not going to break into the house to stop it. What do you think the city should do?

Photo by C-Monster via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr