OAKLEY -- Residents here will have to wait before the city can silence barking dogs more easily.
The City Council agreed Tuesday to hold off on changing its ordinance governing the nuisance until the county follows through on plans to amend its own, a step that will make it easier for animal control officers to cite the owners of dogs that disturb the peace.
Both the city and county have rules on the books that are difficult to enforce. Oakley's ordinance stipulates that a dog must be barking incessantly for at least 15 minutes or intermittently for 30 minutes for the noise to be considered a violation. Proving that requires an officer to remain on site for that length of time, which city officials acknowledge is not feasible.
The county's ordinance is similarly problematic because it requires people in two separate households to file a complaint before authorities will issue a citation. Bona fide violations often go unpunished because only one neighbor is willing to sign the form, wrote Special Counsel William Galstan in his report to the city.
But that will change, according to county Animal Services Department Director Glenn Howell, who agreed in a recent email to the city that this section of the existing ordinance is flawed.
And when it does, Galstan is recommending that Oakley adopt the county's updated regulations as its own.
Nearly every city in Contra Costa County already uses the county's animal control ordinances, and Howell's officers currently enforce those rules -- not municipal codes.
Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/rowenacoetsee.