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City Corner column: Keep Fido quiet; library launches 'Babytime'

Feb. 5, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 4, 2012 at 8:05 p.m.


By Jennifer Sourdellia

Is there a city ordinance that pertains to dogs barking all night long? New neighbors have moved in next door to my residence and there has been one evening when the dogs barked from 1 until 5. Can I file a complaint if this happens again and is there anything that can be done about this problem?

Yes, Section 4-40(d) of the city ordinance pertains to irresponsible pet owners and barking dogs.

The code states, "It shall be unlawful for an owner of an animal to fail to exercise control over such animal to prevent it from barking, whining or howling in such a manner, with such intensity, or with such continued duration, so as to annoy, distress or disturb the quiet comfort or repose of persons of normal nervous sensibilities within the vicinity of hearing thereof."

If the dogs are barking regularly and it becomes a constant nuisance that disturbs you and other neighbors in the vicinity, there are a few things that can be done. First, you can contact the police department and file a complaint by calling 361-573-3221 (this is the non-emergency number).

A patrol officer will be dispatched to the location. The officer will check to see if there has been a history of past complaints about the barking dogs. If the pet owner has been warned in the past about their barking dogs and appears to be a continuing problem, the officer will make the decision whether or not to issue a citation.

You can also call animal control at 361-578-3564. An animal control officer will be dispatched to the location and will talk with the pet owner about their animal's behavior - this often remedies the situation.

Animal control usually recommends the pet owner consult their veterinarian about tips on what do about their barking dogs.

According to the city ordinance, after the animal control division receives sworn statements by witnesses of at least two incidents, the director may forward a case to the municipal court for a hearing to determine if any person at the location should be declared an "irresponsible pet owner." An irresponsible pet owner is prohibited by the statute from owning, possessing, maintaining, or feeding any pets, or residing at a location where pets are present. These restrictions are subject to certain limited exceptions, and are effective for five years from the date of declaration. A declaration that a person is an irresponsible pet owner is not intended as a punishment in itself, but rather is a determination by the court that a person needs more stringent regulation of their pet-owning practices.

Does the Victoria Public Library offer any programs for babies? I have a 6-month-old baby and want to start her on an early path of loving books. I know that there are programs for toddlers and small children.

Yes, the Victoria Public Library recently launched a new program geared specifically toward babies.

The program was developed to meet one of the library's strategic goals of instilling early literacy in children from birth to age 5 with programs and services designed to ensure they will begin school ready to learn, read, write and listen.

"Babytime" is a program specifically for the enjoyment of babies up to the age of 2. Activities include lap play, songs, flannel boards and interactive reading used to engage babies and caregivers, and aid in development. Babytime is held at 10 a.m. every Tuesday in the Story Time Room. The next Babytime program is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday.

For more information, contact the Victoria Public Library at 361-485-3302 or visit victoriapubliclibrary.org

Do you have a question about the city of Victoria? Please submit your questions and comments about any city department to Jennifer Sourdellia in the Communications/Public Information Office by emailing jsourdellia@victoriatx.org or mail to P.O. Box 1758, Victoria, TX 77902.

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