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At the close of the 2024 session, the Delaware House of Representatives passed legislation that will regulate barking dogs across the state.  The bill now goes to the governor.

Those who wish to comment or express concerns are encouraged to do so by contacting the Governor John Carney via email or telephone:  Dover Office: (302) 744-4101  Wilmington Office:  (302) 577-3210.

Let him know that you agree that no one should be subjected to extended periods of continuous barking and appreciate the exemptions in the bill.  Explain that HB 124 has the real potential of penalizing responsible dog owners and result in a state agency tasked with protecting animals to likely become involved in neighbor disputes, best handled by local authorities, at the expense of the animals the Office of Animal Welfare is tasked to protect.


If signed into law by Governor John Carney, House Bill 124 will prohibit dogs from barking continuously for more than 15 minutes, or more than 30 minutes total in a day.  Those in violation of the new law will first be given a warning by the Office of Animal Welfare, the agency tasked with enforcement.  The fine for a second infraction is $50 while repeat violation could result in fines up to $150 for each additional infraction.

The bill does include exemptions if the dog is barking because a person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon private property; an animal is intruding upon private property where the dog is located; or the dog is being teased or provoked.

The bill also allows exemptions for animal shelter, pet stores, grooming facilities, veterinarian offices, and animal clinics.  Before passage, the bill was amended to also include dog day care facilities and dog boarding facilities to the list of exemptions to the new law.

Working with the sponsor, AKC was able to get exemptions added for dogs engaged in training, dog exhibitions, lawful performance competitions, hunting, herding, and livestock guarding.  Also exempted are dogs in the performance of its duties as a service dog.

While AKC appreciates the exemptions and agrees that no one should be subjected to extended periods of continuous barking, this legislation:

  • Ignores the fact that dogs bark for many reasons not covered by the bill. Some examples:  dog outside playing in its own backyard with family members; dog barking at a siren or other strange noises; dog barking at mailman, paperboy, delivery persons, etc.; dog barking at an animal outside of its defined property line; and many other reasons that dogs bark.
  • It does not protect dogs nor their responsible owners. Instead has the potential of making any dog owner in the state of Delaware subject to a complaint by any person who has issues with their dog owning neighbor, including those engaged in lawful activities nor individual situations.
  • Seeks a statewide solution to a nuisance issue best handled at the local level.

AKC Government Relations continues to monitor legislation in Delaware impacting dog owners. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at