The Oxnard City Council will consider an ordinance Tuesday to establish a new procedure for handling complaints about barking dogs and other animal nuisance problems.
Under the ordinance, residents could file a written complaint with the Ventura County pound master, who has the power to conduct a hearing, take testimony and decide whether an animal is a nuisance.
Lt. George Moore, who heads the city's Animal Control Department, said the previous animal nuisance ordinance required residents to file complaints with Ventura County Municipal Court judges.
But Municipal Court judges stopped accepting such complaints years ago, placing the responsibility for resolving animal nuisance problems on city animal control officers, Moore said.
He said the ordinance was proposed in response to a rash of complaints in recent years about barking dogs.
Under the proposed ordinance, hearings before the pound master could include sworn testimony, eyewitnesses and evidence. The pound master also has the authority to subpoena witnesses or evidence at the request of the plaintiffs or the defendants.
If the pound master determines that an animal is a nuisance, the animal can be impounded.
An animal is considered a nuisance if it runs free on public streets, damages property or injures any person. The pound master can also determine a dog is a nuisance if it barks, whines, cries or makes other noises loud and often enough that it disturbs two or more unrelated people.