What can we do about dogs’ early morning barking near our French home?

There are several steps that a resident can take to tackle this situation. We explain

We look at what you can do about a dog disturbing the local neighbourhood by barking
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Reader Question: What is the procedure to raise the issue of domestic guard dogs who bark continuously from 4:00 to 8:00 on a daily basis?

If your neighbourhood is being disturbed by dogs barking, the first thing you should do is tell the animals’ owner that the noise is bothering you and ask them to do something about it.

France’s Code de la Santé publique states that dog owners are responsible for the noise their animals create if it is causing a nuisance to neighbours.

If the owner is not willing to do anything to resolve the issue, you should send them a lettre recommandée reiterating your complaint and reminding them of their legal obligations.

You can also issue a mise en demeure (a formal request to put an end to the noise, or cease and desist letter), which can also be used as proof of the dog owner’s inaction if the matter is taken further.

If none of the above works, you can contact your local police department through the mairie.

The mairie is in charge of maintaining public order, and so can ask the police to pay a visit to the dog owners to observe the animals that are causing an issue.

If the dogs are barking at night – as is the case here – you can go straight to the police to ask them to come to the house and make a report on the situation asking the owners to act.

If this does not work either, you can file an official complaint against the dog owners, who will be called to appear in front of a judge.

The police’s report on the noise will be considered as part of this process as well as testimonies from neighbours, for example.

Punishments for the disturbances

Courts are permitted to sanction the dog owners under the Code pénal and the Code de la santé publique, with punishments ranging from a fine of up to €450 to the removal of the animal.

The dog owner may also have to pay damages to the neighbours affected by the noise, or be required to sound-proof their home.

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