<EM>Q: Which organization and telephone number does a resident call to report loud barking dogs that are tied up every day in the early afternoon and left until 10 p.m. or later? The owners leave home and the dogs bark constantly during their absence.</EM>
Call the Lawrence Police Department, 841-7210. If that number is busy -- as it often is -- call 832-7509.
During the day, the police will send out an animal control officer. A police officer is likely to handle the call after 5 p.m. Both have the authority to issue a citation or a warning.
A citation can result in a fine of up to $500 and 10 days in jail.
Be aware that if the dog's owner is not home when the officer arrives, the warning or citation will be mailed to the residence, so relief may not be immediate. Also, an officer will not go on the owner's property -- approach the dog in the back yard, for example -- unless the animal appears to be in jeopardy.
"Callers can remain anonymous, but it makes it difficult for the officer to enforce the ordinance," Det. M.T. Brown, spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department, said.
"In cases where the caller remains anonymous, the officer becomes the 'reporting party' and it's hard for that officer to know what was going on before he or she arrived on the scene. That's not the case when the caller is willing to sign the complaint; then, the caller becomes the reporting party," Brown said.
If you're afraid of your neighbor's finding out you're behind the complaint, you should:
Ask the police department dispatcher to have an officer call you at home. This will keep your name and/or address off the scanner.
Ask the responding officer not to share your identity with the dog owner.
Be aware that you also have the option of going to the police department and meeting with an officer in private.
If the dog owner chooses to fight the complaint in court, the officer will be forced to reveal your identity.
Last year, six dog owners were fined in Lawrence.