Dr. Salvatore Cappai
Civil lawyer, expert in animal law
A dog that barks, cries, complains all the time is obviously a dog that is not well. The first duty of his human reference is to ensure their well-being (which is not only physical in nature but also psychic). Furthermore, the pet mate can be called to answer for the disturbance towards third parties, both in civil and criminal proceedings.
The neighbor leaves at dawn to go to work and leaves his dog alone, locked up in the house all day. At night, on the other hand, she lets him out into the garden. He locks it out. He has to keep watch, he says. The poor dog barks, cries, whines for hours. Every day, every night the same story. What can you do if your neighbor’s dog cries all the time? Can the fact be reported to a public authority? Is there a protection for the dog? Is there, then, a protection for third party neighbors?
What to do when the neighbor’s dog cries?
Before answering this question, it seems appropriate and important to dwell on the priority issue, which, even before the stranger neighbor (who could be totally indifferent to this), should (or rather: must) be at heart of the pet mate: the dog whining all the time, in fact, shows a obvious state of malaise.
A dog that barks, cries for hours or even for whole days is certainly not a serene animal. Well, the fundamental task of ensuring its well-being falls on its guardian. In this sense, the latter is subject to stringent obligations, first of all of a moral nature and secondly of a legal nature. The pet mate must ensure that his dog does not suffer. Likewise, it must prevent it from causing disturbance to others.
If he doesn’t get there alone, a sensitive neighbor, before implementing any other possible action, could try to remind him good-naturedly, so that by eliminating the cause of the dog’s discomfort, the disturbance immediately is also interrupted. However, if this work of friendly persuasion does not give the desired results, the pet mate will be able to meet serious legal consequences.
Who to call if the neighbor’s dog cries?
It was said that one of the duties of the pet mate is to guarantee full psychophysical well-being for one’s pet. Not doing so means risking committing crimes that can range from the slightest abandonment and “keeping of animals in conditions incompatible with their nature” to the most serious mistreatment.
In fact, theart. 727 of the Penal Code (“Abandonment of animals”) punishes with imprisonment of up to one year or with a fine ranging from one thousand to ten thousand euros, anyone who abandons pets or animals that have acquired captive habits, or anyone keeps animals in conditions incompatible with their nature, and productive of severe suffering. L’article 544 ter of the same code (“Animal abuse”) then establishes that “anyone who, out of cruelty or without necessity, causes an injury to an animal or subjects it to torture or to behavior or to hard work or to unbearable work due to its ethological characteristics is punished with imprisonment from three to eighteen months or with fine from five thousand to thirty thousand euros”.
To get “mistreated” in the technical sense, you need a voluntary conductwhile for the abandonment configuration (in a broader sense) a fault, an imprudence is enough; voluntariness is not required. In any case, it is essential to highlight how both cases include, in addition to active conduct, all those cases in which there is mere neglect on the part of the pet mate. It follows that the case discussed in this article, with the dog left alone to cry for hours and days, in a condition of continuous suffering – albeit mainly psychic – can also be included. Since these are crimes that can be prosecuted ex officio, a report to the police is sufficient and these are required to verify and, where necessary, to intervene in order to ensure that the illicit conduct stops and its perpetrator is prosecuted. The neighbor will therefore be able – considering a crime to be integrated – report the matter to the public authorities.
The crying dog and the crime of “disturbing the peace”
The fact that a dog barks or cries continuously, as mentioned, can also have very serious implications due to the nuisance caused to third partiesto the neighbors. These therefore have the right to act in civil proceedings but also to criminally denounce the pet mate.
In civil proceedings, if the noises produced by the dogs exceed the limit of normal tolerability, of an average tolerance, the neighbor who suffers from them has the right to see the conduct interrupted but also has right to obtain compensation for damages.
Lastly, “annoying” noises are relevant, as mentioned, in criminal proceedings. The Penal Code (article 659), in fact, establishes, among other things, that whoever “arousing or not preventing animal noises” disturbs people’s occupations or rest, or shows, gatherings or public entertainments, is punished with imprisonment of up to three months or with a fine of up to 309 euros. In this case it is important to note that according to peaceful jurisprudence (see among others, the sentences of the Criminal Cassation no. 40502 of 2017 and 5800 of 2018 ) for the so-called crime of disturbing the peace to be set up, it is sufficient that the noisy activity is potentially suitable for disturb the rest and occupations of an indefinite number of people.
This means that:
- if only one person, only one neighbour, is disturbed, there is no crime;
- the disturbance of several people need not be real and actual.