This page from the Duckler Interview is part of Section Three:|
the Law section of barkingdogs.net
Preparing to Sue the Dog Owner in Court: A Five Step Process
Step Three: Document the Nuisance Itself
You are going to have an extremely difficult time winning your barking dog nuisance suit if all you have to show that the dogs barked is your own word. If the defense attorney asks how you know the dogs barked and you just say, "Well, I heard them bark, and I remember that it was pretty bad." If that's all you've got and you have no evidence to show that the dog actually did bark problematically, then, with a case like that, you're usually going to lose.
So you really need to show audio tape, video tape, a diary, a log, or sometime that is objectively verifiable that will be independent of your own testimony. You won't lose automatically, but you will probably lose, most likely, if you don't have some independent support to back your verbal account of how it was.
Video tape is the best, because it shows the date, the time and just how bad the barking is. The problem, of course, is in setting up a video camera from your bedroom window or your bathroom window. Again, that kind of looks like you're maybe conducting surveillance operations on your neighbor and it may trigger invasion of privacy concerns from him. But as long as what you're video taping is just the things that you would normally see if you looked out your window, then, you're fine. On the other hand, if you were to put on the long distance lens, and get way up on the top of your house so you can point it right through their bathroom window where you can see them taking a shower. Okay, at that point, then, you'd have an invasion of privacy problem. But if what you are taping is just the normal view that you get when standing on your own property, then, you're fine.
With audio tapes, you just have to be sure that, as you take out each cassette, that you write down the day and time, as to when you taped it and where you taped it from. Of course, very often, with any kind of recording, you run into technical problems, so you have to explain to the jury, "Oh well, at the start of the tape I had the window closed and, here, at this other point, I had the window open." Or, "I had to use my cheap little tape recorder on this particular day, so the dog was really much louder than he sounded here." You know, there are often those kinds of logistical problems of how you got the sound and how it sounds on the machine versus how it sounds when you hear it.
So a video tape is the best way to go. Next best after that is an audio tape, and the next best after that is some sort of diary or log in which, every time the dog barks you make note of it. Something like that is also good because it provides good evidence that you are trying to keep some kind of a record, which is something you really need to do if you want to win in court.
Please see Proving your case in court for more information on this topic
Written by Craig
Spanish translation - Traducción al español
This website and all its content, except where otherwise noted, are © (copyright) Craig Mixon, Ed.D., 2003-2014.