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The Carlsbad City Council unanimously approved changes to the animal noise abatement and control code at their June 8 meeting. The amendment adopts San Diego County's code of regulatory ordinances regarding the treatment of animal-noise complaints and violation enforcement.

Carlsbad’s previous code allowed for a single person to file a complaint with North County Animal Control if the noise from a neighbor's animal created a nuisance. It also protected the accuser's identity, allowing disclosure if and when the case went to court. A judge would then determine whether the noise offended the sensibility of a reasonable person, according to Carlsbad city attorney Ronald Ball, who provided clarification on the codes during the meeting.

Residents Floyd and Dianna Isley relayed their experience with Carlsbad's former code before the council. The couple said a vindictive neighbor filed false, anonymous complaints against them and illegally filmed their barking dogs and their property for evidence. The conflict, which spanned over 18 months, culminated in a restraining order filed by the couple to stop the filming.

Isley believes that if Carlsbad's noise-abatement code had been aligned with San Diego's in the first place, it would have spared them a lot of time and money fighting the frivolous complaint.

The code amendment incorporates two major changes. First, a complaint must consist of a written affirmation by at least two persons from separate residences who must divulge their identities. The second deals with the enforcement of penalties. The first three violations of the noise ordinance are considered infractions punishable by fines, but no jail time. Fourth and subsequent violations are misdemeanors, punishable by fine and/or jail.

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