On Wednesday, March 29, a Delaware committee will consider a bill prohibiting dogs from barking continuously for more than 15 minutes, or more than 30 minutes total in a day, with very few exceptions.
The Delaware House Health & Human Development Committee will hold a hearing on House Bill 84 on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at 11:00 a.m.
AKC strongly supports responsible pet ownership – including being respectful of neighbors and the community. However, this bill could punish even responsible owners, and does not provide exceptions for dog shows, field trials, Agility, or other events where dogs are barking. AKC encourages those who reside or participate in dog events in Delaware to contact the Committee members today and ask that they consider amendments to address our concerns. Scroll down for more details and committee contact information.
According to the bill’s sponsor, the origin of this bill is constituent complaints related to neighbors allowing dogs to bark continuously while they are trying to work from home. While no one should be subjected to extended periods of continuous barking, this legislation has the potential to become a tool for use by disgruntled neighbors and would make even a dog barking very intermittently subject to penalty if the barking adds up to 30 minutes a day. It also looks to place a one size fits all policy throughout Delaware regardless of setting, be it urban, suburban, or rural.
With exemptions only for dogs barking if someone is trespassing on private property where the dog is located, animal shelters, pet stores, grooming facilities, veterinary offices, and animal clinics, the legislation also does not provide adequate protection for those dogs engaged in a variety of lawful dog related activities and events.
AKC’s Request for Amendments:
AKC has suggested amendments that either individually or collectively could enhance the bill, eliminate misuse, and provide protection for those engaged in lawful dog related activities. These amendments could include requiring complaints from more than one residence prior to enforcement (or by observation of law enforcement), and allowance for law enforcement to consider cases on an individual basis, rather than unilaterally enforcing the policy. Alternatively, the bill could be amended to allow individual jurisdictions or each County to determine if a law relative to barking dogs is needed, and what is appropriate for individual communities, eliminating the need for a statewide law.
AKC is also requesting exemptions for dogs engaged in lawful dog training, exhibition, events, and performance competitions to include sporting and hunting, herding, or guarding.
What You Can Do:
Contact the House Health and Human Development Committee members (click on the member’s name) prior to the 11:00 am hearing Wednesday, March 29, 2023. Respectfully let them know that you agree no one should be subjected to extended periods of continuous barking; however, this legislation in its current form does not protect dogs nor their responsible owners, including those engaged in lawful activities nor individual situations.
Provide Oral Testimony: Attend the hearing in-person, or by dialing (1-800-285-6670) and providing the password (HEALTH) when prompted by the operator. The hearing will be held in the House Chamber.
Submit Public Committee to the Committee: Accepted in advance of the committee meeting and by 4:00 pm Thursday, March 30, 2023 via email to HouseCommitteeComment@delaware.gov
Information on the hearing can be found here.
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor legislation in Delaware impacting dog owners. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at email@example.com.