January 6, 2007

Noise laws and regulations in Lakewood

We get lots of inquiries about "noise" on our site. As is typical of the Lakewood official city website it offers very little specific information so we have had to obtain the information from other sources.

"Ordinary" business and residential noises are acceptable between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. "Construction work" (we suspect this also includes yard and tree maintenance people) is permitted between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sundays. This is governed by Lakewood Municipal codes.

The Lakewood Sheriff’s Station claims that it responds to complaints about loud parties, bands, and similar disturbances. Please call the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at 562-623-3500, or better yet email them directly so you have a written there is a record of the complaint. There email addresses are on this site or contact us directly. There is no Lakewood Municipal code dealing with "noisy parties". California Penal Code section 415 deals with noise coming from parties and other unlawful gatherings:

Penal code section 415
Any of the following persons shall be punished by imprisonment
in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days, a fine of
not more than four hundred dollars ($400), or both such imprisonment
and fine:
(1) Any person who unlawfully fights in a public place or
challenges another person in a public place to fight.
(2) Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another
person by loud and unreasonable noise.
(3) Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which
are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.

Barking Dogs and other Noisy Animals:

When the City contracted with the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority in 1992, they adopted their uniform ordinance. Animal control sections within the municipal code were suspended and Ordinance No. 92-9 now controls. The following section is from that ordinance:

Section 911. NOISY ANIMALS. It is hereby declared to be a nuisance, and no person shall keep, maintain or permit upon any lot or parcel of land within the city under this control, any animal or animals including any fowl or fowls, which by any sound, or cry, shall interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an individual.

What is Good About A Barking Dog?

* Alerts owners of potential problems.
* Warns owners of a stranger's presence.
* Alerts neighbors of intruders when the owner is not home.
* Indicates an animal in distress.

What Is Bad About A Barking Dog?

* One dog barking usually starts another dog barking.
* Excessive barking is extremely annoying.
* Barking disturbing one's sleep is aggravating.
* Excessive noise disturbs those who are ill, shut-in, etc.
* Citizens can obtain a complaint for this code violation.
* Usually indicates a highly nervous or bored animal.
* Excessive barking can be harmful to dogs.
* Unless stopped, barking may develop into a type of hysteria.

Do You Own A Watchdog Or A Nuisance?
Determine for yourself whether your dog is a good companion and watchdog or a neighborhood noise nuisance by asking yourself these questions:

Does your dog bark excessively.....

* When someone rings your doorbell?
* When garbage collectors, mail carriers, paper carriers, etc. come to, or go by your house?
* When children are playing outside?
* When another animal comes into view?
* When hearing a siren?
* When wanting to get into the house?
* When you leave or get home?
* When left alone and lonely?

If your answer is "yes" to any of these questions, your dog could be a neighborhood nuisance. This disturbance of the peace is one of the quickest and most common ways to become a bad neighbor. Persistent barkers are more likely to be ignored if there is a real emergency since they seem to bark all the time.

What Can You Do About Your Barking Dog?

* Determine what causes the dog to bark.
* Dogs are less inclines to bark if a barrier blocks their view.
* Be alert to stop the barking as soon as it starts.
* Train you dog to respond to a command to be quiet.
* Reward your dog whenever it barks for a watchdog reason.
* Don't leave an animal unattended for long periods of time.
* Train your dog to stay quietly within its quarters when you are away.

Breaking A Bad Habit
The best cure for the barking habit is prevention early in a dog's life. If a dog already has a barking habit, then you must make efforts to correct the situation. Whatever training method you choose, be consistent and persistent with the animal. Simple scolding and punishment may be sufficient.

When left alone in a house, help the loneliness by leaving a radio on. To help either an indoor or outdoor dog with boredom, be sure to have some toys available for amusement. Don't make a big thing out of leaving or returning home; and overly excited dog is more likely to bark and yelp.

You may consider taking the animal to an obedience training school if the dog is too neurotic for an inexperienced trainer.

Your dog will soon learn that his silence pleases you.

Water Training Method
The Humane Society of the Unites States has endorsed a method of breaking the dog of a barking habit that is both inexpensive and humane. The solution is based on animal conditioning and the method is almost 100% effective when properly carried out.

Every time a dog barks unnecessarily, it is sprayed with water from a plant mister. The spray is harmless, but it stops the barking. Usually, a day or two of training is enough, as the dog learns to expect a squirt of water if it barks for the wrong reason. Be ready for an immediate response. Have a plant mister filled with water ready for use when needed. Say "QUIET" and give one or more squirts at the dog while it is barking. Spraying after it stops barking will confuse the dog. Repeat "QUIET" and give one more squirt of water each time the dog barks needlessly.

With this conditioning procedure, your dog will learn to expect a squirt of water when you say "QUIET," for once the dog has made the association you won't need to squirt the animal again, only when he forgets.

Remember to reassure the dog that you are still friends by petting him later when he is quiet.

The Responsibility Is Yours
As a dog owner, you know the companionship, loyalty, love, and fun that your dog adds to your life, but you must also realize your responsibility toward your neighbors. Dog owners are sometimes insensitive to the barking of their own dog. Put yourself in your neighbor's place to see how your dog's habits affect them. Excessive barking can be extremely annoying to neighbors as well as to those who have to live with a noisy dog. The security of knowing you have a real watch dog, as well as enjoying a peaceful and quiet neighborhood, is well worth the effort.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA
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