Starting this week, dog owners in Springettsbury Township could be fined up to $300 for 15 minutes of continuous dog barking.

Supervisors unanimously approved the municipality's dog barking ordinance at their regular meeting Thursday, March 8.

According to the ordinance, a violation occurs when anyone keeps a dog outside or in an open-air enclosure, including a fenced yard, where its barking can disturb the quiet of a neighborhood. A disturbance is considered a dog barking, howling or making other loud noises continuously for more than 15 minutes at a time.

If a complaint is made but there is no witness, then a police officer would have to remain at the residence where the dog is barking for 15 minutes to report the potential violation, township manager Ben Marchant said. When a witness is present and willing to go on the record, the police department would investigate a reported claim of a dog barking and could use it as the basis for a disturbance report.

The first violation is a written warning. A second violation within 30 days of a written warning will be subject to a $50 fine. Each incident is considered a separate violation.

If a resident appeals the summary offense but is found guilty by a magisterial district judge, the resident will pay a fine not to exceed $300, plus court fees, according to the township’s ordinance.

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