Local governments can pass bylaws to control noise. They may also make bylaws to regulate the use of all streets, sidewalks and other public places. The police enforce these bylaws.
Many municipalities have noise bylaws that prohibit excessive, unnecessary and unreasonable noise, keeping in mind the normal activities of urban and rural life. To find out what noise bylaws, if any, exist in your area contact your local municipality.
Generally, noise bylaws prohibit or limit loud and unnecessary noise. Many bylaws prohibit noise that can easily be heard from someone outside or in another home. There may be "quiet hours" when the operation of some things, such as lawn mowers, snowblowers, chain saws and engine-powered model airplanes, is not allowed. It is quite common for noise bylaws to also restrict the hours that noise from construction is permissible. So called "quiet hours" may be extended on Sundays and holidays. Depending on where you live, noise bylaws may also cover such matters as advertising using loudspeakers or bells and whistles, music concerts, diesel motors on tractors and semi-trailers that are left running when not in use, and the use of air brakes.
Some types of noise may also amount to a criminal offence. In some situations it may be possible to get a court order to stop the offending behaviour. If you suffer damages as a result of the noise, it may be possible to sue your neighbour to recover from such losses. You may wish to consult a lawyer.
Before you call your local council office, the police or a lawyer, you may want to consider talking to your neighbour to see if you can't work out a solution to the problem. If you are uncomfortable talking to your neighbour alone, and if the problem persists, you may want to consider getting help from a mediator. A mediator can facilitate a meeting and possibly help you find a solution that won't further strain relations between neighbours.
If your community has a noise bylaw, it would also cover situations such as the one you describe. You may want to advise your neighbour of the problem to see if the situation can be corrected, or you can contact your local council office to find out what noise bylaws are in effect in your area. You could then call the police to have them enforce an existing bylaw. Additionally, under The Residential Tenancies Act, you have the right not to be disturbed by neighbouring tenants and the landlord has the responsibility to take steps to ensure that one tenant does not continue to disturb people in neighbouring residences. So even if your community does not have a noise bylaw, you can ask your landlord to correct the situation.
General provisions of many noise bylaws would apply to your situation. Some noise bylaws specifically deal with barking dogs and require dog owners not to allow their dog to bark or howl excessively. Some communities also have dog bylaws that address the problem in much the same way. Since you indicate that your neighbours may not even be aware of the problem, it might be a good idea to talk to them first to see if you can't resolve this problem. If you are not comfortable with this, contact your local council to see what, if any, bylaws may be in effect to address your problem. You could also contact the animal control agency in your area or even the police.
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