LIHUE (AP) - As Kauai considers new restrictions against dogs that bark too much, some residents worry the rules could fuel arguments between neighbors.
The Kauai County Council is weighing a bill that would fine owners if their dogs bark "continuously or incessantly" for 10 minutes or intermittently over 30 minutes.
The fines ranging from $50 for a first offense to $200 to $500 for a third offense would be levied if barking doesn't improve following a letter and educational material sent by the Kauai Humane Society.
Penny Cistaro, executive director of the nonprofit, said the bill will encourage neighbors to keep a log of barking episodes to serve as a legal document and help the organization decide what to do.
Some Kauai residents say that system would be misused.
Dora Sloger of Eleele said in written testimony that she's concerned the proposed law would allow the Humane Society to harass people.
"Maybe we need to have laws addressing the people who keep their big dogs on a short chain or in a small cage all the time, just one of the reasons dogs bark continually," Sloger said.
Josephine Steciuk said that she and her husband have to keep the back of their home closed during the day because of barking from a neighbor's home with about a dozen dogs.
"Kauai is a special place, but I don't believe we are this little backwater in the middle of the Wild West," Steciuk said. "We've got to respect our neighbors, and this is not respect."
Suzanne Woodruff of Kapaa said she doesn't support the bill because the county has other legal options for dealing with noisy dogs.
"How many layers of laws do we have to keep putting on this instead of taking realistic approaches?" she said.