Hello once again,

I've been asked to put this question to you by my sister-in-law. She lives on a cul -de-sac, but she has 4 or 5 neighbors that are not exactly next door but are able to determine where the sound of a dog barking would be coming from.

Which brings me to the problem. She has a Rottweiler. For only 10 min. at 11:00 p.m. one night they had their dog doing his business outside their door, but he was barking. An unknown neighbor called the police. My sister-in-law got perturbed at this and starting cursing at the police. She wanted to know who called them but the police refused to divulge that info, not wanting to cause a feud. After the police left, she walked up and down the street saying that whomever called the police, "SUCKED."

She wants to know if there is a way for her to find out, legally, who called the police and if not what steps "should she have taken." She's very irked by this incident.

I've been very satisfied by your help with "my" problems in the past and would appreciate it if you could supply her with a solution.

By the way, the town is Piscataway, NJ, if that would be of any help to you.

Thanks a lot,


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Here are some general guidelines:

A. People, with and without dogs, have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their property.
B. Communities set standards for times (often, 10:00 PM) and noise levels (loud cars, motors, or music amplification) that disturb the peace.
C. Screaming at the police that are just doing their job is not apt to have positive results.
D. Yelling obscenities in the middle of the street after 11:00 at night could result in a court appearance if a neighbor or the police made a formal complaint.

A barking dog at 11:00 at night can disturb other households and is likely in violation of community standards. People retire early, children need their rest, and some just don't want to hear a dog barking.

Generally speaking, people don't call the cops for a one-time barker. Odds are that this 10-minute period was one of many, perhaps a nightly ritual honoring the dog's circadian rhythm.
If your sister-in-law was in violation of the community standards, the neighbors were within their rights to report the transgression to the police.

Screaming at the police is counterproductive. No one likes to be screamed at, especially when they are just performing their duty. Police are trained to tolerate bad attitudes but it is a fair bet that screamers are on their "lunatic list."

The police in this case were acting more socially than legally. Unless a complaint is signed, social considerations may be in play. Neighbors often prefer to make an informal complaint rather than take a neighbor into court regarding a barking dog or similar quality of life complaint.

Your sister-in-law, by shouting obscenities, has probably alienated several families that will happily support each other if a formal complaint is made. To put it simply, she will lose in court, because she is in violation and has a loud, obscene, disrespectful, mouth for neighbors and the police. Not a winning hand.

There is no simple way, to my knowledge, to find out who made the complaint nor should she try. To what end? The complainant did nothing wrong. He/she called the cops with cause. In fact, keeping the complaint "informal" was a favor. Signing a formal complaint would have resulted in a court appearance wherein your sister-in-law could be fined, reprimanded and warned about taking any action against the plaintiff(s).

The fact that your sister-in-law is "perturbed" and "irked" is regrettable since she is clearly the offending party, not the neighbors. Most incarcerated individuals are perturbed and irked at the cops, judges and juries that prosecuted them. A bank robber would be perturbed and irked if your sister-in-law blew the whistle on him. Perturbed and irked are emotions - not requiring logic and given little weight in judging right and wrong.

What she should do is:
Rethink her position,
Understand that she is the offending party,
Apologize to her neighbors,
Apologize to the police,
Control her dog,
Abandon all notions of finding out who called the cops,
Realize the folly of being perturbed and irked at neighbors reacting properly to her misconduct.

Good luck,

Everybody's Uncle

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