In my neighborhood, the neighbor has about 3 dogs. At least one is outside and barking, seemingly all the time. (Earliest is 5-6am. Latest is midnight.) The only "authority" in the community is the municipalities Animal Control department.

The man who lives there is in his 80's and is quite hard of hearing. His daughter lives there, at least part of the time, and is quite confrontational with anyone who talks with her about it.

Animal Control says the burden of proof is on me.

Animal Control suggested that we set up an camera and film their back yard.

Q: Is this legal? Do I have any other recourse?

  • Audio or video recording? Since this seems to be a noise issue, a (calibrated) audio recording seems to be the best way to go. You can certainly do audio recordings on your property as much as you like. First, check the local noise ordinances of your town. If there are a noise level limits and the dogs exceed them regularly, you can try to enforces this. Otherwise, what would you do with the recording?
    – Hilmar
    Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 13:41
  • Apparently, I should send it to Animal Control. No idea what they would do with it.
    – Scottie H
    Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 17:26
  • Maybe it's a good idea to ask them what exactly they need and how they are planning to use it. This way you can make sure, you get it right on the first try.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


Whether or not this is legal hinges on the level of "reasonable expectation of privacy" that your neighbour would/should have.

Can your neighbour expect privacy in their backyard? It depends.

For example, if their yard is on top of a hill surrounded by blind 7ft high fence, then no person outside would normally see what is inside, and so they pretty much can expect privacy there. If, however, your property is high enough so that you can see their backyard from your balcony, then they would know that and therefore they would not be able to expect absolute privacy. Needless to say, if they have low/look-through/no fence, then pretty much everyone can see what is happening in their back yard and so there will be no expectation of privacy at all.

As a rule of thumb, if you can see something without entering the property, drilling holes in fences or using special equipment (tele lens, drones etc.), you can film it.


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