From Noisy Pets to Noisy Sex

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”Barking Dogs — Why Do I Have to Put up With it?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

I live in a condo that allows pets, and my next door neighbor has a dog that barks its head off. I’ve called the police and they have been out a few times, but they say they can do nothing because the city ordinance says they cannot do anything unless the dog barks 10 minutes steady or 30 minutes intermittent. It does not appear that the dog is barking this long but it wakes me up at night and disturbs my concentration during the day.

Barked Out

A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Barked Out:

As a condo owner myself, in a building that allows pets, I am familiar with typical perception of the ordinance (Chapter 7, Article 2 Animal Nuisance) as you describe. I believe that perception to be in error. Often, only 7-2.2(a) is relied on, with its reference to the 10 minute and half hour time frames you mention. However, 7-2.2(b) and the related 7-2.4(c) must be acknowledged as well. As a jump-start to your research, here are the relevant sections:

Sec. 7-2.2 Definitions. “Animal nuisance,” for the purposes of this section, shall include but not be limited to any animal, farm animal or poultry which:

(a) Makes noise continuously and/or incessantly for a period of 10 minutes or intermittently for one-half hour or more to the disturbance of any person at any time of day or night and regardless of whether the animal, farm animal or poultry is physically situated in or upon private property;

(b) Barks, whines, howls, crows, cries or makes any other unreasonable noise as described in Section 7-2.4 (c) of this article; or

Sec.7-2.4 General requirements.

(c) Noise is unreasonable within the meaning of this article if considering the nature and the circumstances surrounding the animal nuisance, including the nature of the location and the time of the day or night, it interferes with reasonable individual or group activities such as, but not limited to, communication, work, rest, recreation or sleep; or the failure to heed the admonition of a police officer or a special officer of the animal control contractor that the noise is unreasonable and should be stopped or reduced.

That being said, there are two courses to take when faced with an interference such as you describe. First, a review of applicable condominium house rules and by laws could be a good place to start, possibly under the header of “pets” and/or “noise/nuisance.” If such provisions that protect one’s right to peace and quiet do not appear to be available, then the police can be called again, this time consider challenging them on the entire ordinance. If that effort does not generate the desired result, then a call to Action Line or the mayor’s office may be in order. Here’s wishing you no more sleepless nights.

”Neighboring Sex — Why Must I Put up With it?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

I live in a condo and the walls are very thin. My neighbors are very sexually active. I have nothing against sex, but the pleasure sounds and their bed bumping against my wall is causing me sleepless nights, and I am not a day sleeper. I don’t have the nerve to confront them about this nuisance. It is too embarrassing.


A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Embarrassed:

I imagine that if you bring this to the attention of the resident manager of your condominium, he or she could find a way to notify your neighbors that they may want to move their bed away from your wall and possibly sound proof, or experience their pleasure in another room. Check your house rules and see if there is a clause that offers you the right to a peaceful and quiet environment.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

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