The Dog DID Bark!

The other day in Stafford General District Court, I overheard a dog barking case that caught my attention. The defendant in the case was charged with allowing her dog to bark too much in violation of the County’s noise ordinance. She represented herself and pleaded not guilty. Her defense essentially was that the dog barks, but that’s his job as a security measure.

There was plenty of evidence that the dog barks quite extensively. The neighbor testified about the dog barking. A friend of the neighbor’s who had visited on many occasions testified. The animal control officer testified that the dog was barking when she came on scene on the day in question. At that point it seemed fairly clear that the dog did bark quite a bit.

Where things really didn’t go well I think, is when the defendant herself chose to testify. It’s the defendant’s right to testify, but in some cases it’s not a good idea. The defendant was visibly upset and angry about what was happening and the accusation that her dog barks. From what I remember of her testimony, she essentially repeated several times that “Yes my dog barks a lot. That’s his job. It’s for security.”

The judge found her guilty.

I believe he just imposed a fine, but she has now been convicted of a class 2 misdemeanor. If she had hired counsel and not testified, a defense might could have been mounted that the Commonwealth didn’t establish that the dog barked for long enough time periods. The Stafford County Code says animals can’t create noise that is plainly audible inside a dwelling for ten consecutive minutes.

The moral of the story is that it really makes sense to hire an attorney in many cases, even though you may think it’s a minor charge.

Photo by: RaGardner4

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Avvo. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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