Originally Posted by clarkstoncracker
So you're telling me a dog that barks gives a cop the right to walk into my backyard?
I don't think so.
More than likely he will attempt to view the backyard from a neighboring parcel, or other means. Once the dog is in "plain view" it gives enough probable cause (if this were a criminal complaint).
And while the penalty for noncompliance can be as high as an actual misdemeanor, it is still typically a civil offense, not a criminal one. Meaning they can ticket you, and it's up to you to fight it.
They don't need to get all rambunctious/formal - which is why I quoted the word "officer" - as often it's not a police officer but instead an ordinance officer that signs off on the ticket.
Out of curiosity, where is your water meter installed at?
It'd be trivial for the ordinance officer to return and "shadow" the meter reader under the guise of cross-training, along with a building inspector and happen to notice several non-compliant things during the course of duty...