Hillsborough County commissioners have passed a new ordinance that will allow people to call animal control officers or the sheriff’s office to handle incessantly noisy pets in their neighborhood.
Commissioners voted to pass the new ordinance at Wednesday's County commission meeting.
The ordinance gives residents an avenue to report barking, meowing, or birds squawking if they become a nuisance - for more than 20 minutes - as defined by the new rule.
Commissioners say this is not meant to apply to residents whose pets may occasionally make noise, but rather those who leave animals outside all day, unattended, ultimately disturbing the peace.
Violators can be fined, The critics say it will be tough to prove.
Those who contact the police or code enforcement would have to provide affidavits from at least two neighbors filing on the same complaint, or a recording of the reported nuisance lasting at least 20 minutes.
Animal control officers who witness the nuisance behavior themselves can also issue citations.
Shelter operators and volunteers who spoke with 10 News say it's possible to get pets the proper training to keep them from making too much noise.
But some are concerned that the new law could have the unintended consequence of keeping people from adopting pets, for fear that if the animals make too much noise, they could get in trouble with the law.