Cats and dogs
Council understands the value of enjoying a peaceful neighbourhood and appreciates that resolving noise nuisance complaints can sometimes be confronting or difficult.
Why do dogs bark?
Dogs are social animals and often bark for various reasons. These reasons can include:
- when they are lonely, bored and frustrated
- when they are separated from their owner, which can cause dogs to stress
- a way of seeking attention from its owner
- out of fear - this can be fear of people, objects or other dogs
- when there is a threat to their territory or people pass the property
- playing with your dog often stimulates barking
- some breeds have a reputation for barking
- dominant dogs bark until they get what they want.
My neighbour’s dog barks, what can I do?
Talk to your neighbour as they may not be aware that their dog is barking or that their dog's barking is bothering you. If the barking persists after a week or two, speak with your neighbour again to provide feedback.
If your neighbour is unapproachable or does not agree that a problem exists, you should contact Council for further advice or contact the Dispute Resolution Centre for a free mediation service to work through the issue.
My dog barks, what can I do ?
It is not Councils’ responsibility to resolve the problem for you. As the dog owner you need to firstly accept that your dog may be causing a problem and then take appropriate action to stop your dog barking excessively.
Assess the problem
The most important step is to work out why your dog is barking. Once you know the symptom, you can find a resolution.
Ongoing barking is often a symptom of another problem and taking time to understand what makes dogs bark - is a key step towards solving this problem, both for the dog involved and your neighbours.
Utilising a counting collar can give you as the dog owner the opportunity to acknowledge and fix the problem or rule out the allegation. Council may be able to assist with the provision of bark count collars.
Control the barking
Behavioural problems can be understood if you learn more about your pet’s behaviour. Barking can be controlled through several small behavioural changes, some as small as walking your dog twice a day to relieve boredom.
Ensure you provide your dog with sufficient food, water and toys to keep them happy. A bored dog barks to attract attention. A more active dog generally barks less.
Seek professional help or talk to Council if necessary. Help is available.
Council has a legal obligation to investigate all complaints; however some barking may not constitute a noise nuisance under the law even if it annoys you.
How to lodge a complaint
Council will need the correct address of where the dog is kept, a description of the dog, a detailed list of dates, times and possible causes for the dogs barking and how the barking is affecting you. This information will assist us to carry out a fair and impartial investigation and may also help the animals’ owner understand and resolve any problems that may be contributing to excessive barking.
What happens to my complaint?
Council must be satisfied that the dog/s is in fact creating a nuisance by barking. If Council is unable to determine that a nuisance exists, no further action can be taken.
In the first instance Council will contact the dogs’ owner and let them know that a complaint has been received. We will also provide the owner with information on why dogs bark excessively and suggest ways in which this can possibly be resolved.
Give your neighbour time - understand that the dog owner needs time to fix the problem. There are no quick fixes to a barking problem. If however the excessive barking problem does not abate, Council needs to be advised so it can investigate the matter further.
Councils’ investigation process forms part of a legal process and as such it is necessary to obtain sufficient information/evidence to confirm the existence of a nuisance. It is also necessary that Council satisfies the requirements of relevant legislation and provides reasonable time and notice to the owner of the offending dog; therefore these matters are unlikely to be resolved quickly.
In the event that legal action is taken, all parties including the complainant and other witnesses may be asked to attend court to provide evidence.
This information is also available as a
Information for the owner
If you are aware that your dog is barking and may be causing a nuisance, steps should be taken to minimise this barking. Try discussing this issue directly with a neighbor to ascertain if the animal is causing concern.
Noise standards are prescribed in the Subordinate Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2011 Schedule 4, Section B (1).
Council has a legal obligation to investigate complaints of animal noise nuisance under its local law and if it is determined that you are in breach of the law enforcement action may be taken.
For more information, contact Council or visit http://kb.rspca.org.au/My-dog-is-barking-excessively-what-can-I-do_375.html.
Information for the neighbour
If your neighbour has a dog that is causing a nuisance by barking excessively you may wish to approach the neighbour to discuss the issue. The owner may be unaware that their dog is barking.
Should the matter persist you may wish to lodge a complaint with Council.