Barking is a normal behaviour for dogs and an important means of communication. However excessive barking can become a nuisance to their owners and the neighbourhood.
Owners of barking dog
You may have noticed your dog makes excessive noise or someone has notified you. An open approach is most helpful in resolving any problems.
Firstly try to establish what is causing your dog to bark.
The most common reasons for barking are:
- attention seeking
You can discuss any concerns you may have with a Council Animal Management Officer, vet or seek the services of an animal behaviourist.
Neighbours of barking dog
What residents can do
Residents are encouraged in the first instance to try and resolve the problem with the owner of the dog.
The owner of the dog, for a number of reasons, may not be aware their dogs barking is causing a nuisance, especially if they are not at home during those times.
A calm neighbourly chat with the owner of the dog can resolve many of these issues and for those that do not feel comfortable in the person to person approach, a politely worded letter can achieve similar results.
Remember, the more information regarding the nuisance barking the owner has such as times, dates and duration of the barking, and if you have noticed something setting the dog off etc, the more equipped the owners will be in dealing with the issue.
What Council can do
If these approaches are unsuccessful, you may choose to contact the Council for assistance.
The Council will then contact the owner in an informal manner and discuss the concerns raised.
Where possible, provide advice and suggest steps the owner can take to help reduce the level of nuisance barking alleged to be caused by their dog.
If the owner is unwilling or refutes the allegations, resolution of the issue may require further and more formal action by the Council which will require additional involvement by the person making the complaint.
The onus of proving that the dog is a nuisance rests with the person making the complaint. If the owner of the dog refutes the allegations, the complainant may be required to give evidence in Court.
Noisy dogs and the law
Persistent dog barking can be a breach of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995.
Section 45A (5) of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 states:
"A person who owns or is responsible for the control of a dog is guilty of an offence if the dog (either alone or together with other dogs, whether or not in the same ownership) creates a noise, by barking or otherwise, which persistently occurs or continues to such a degree or extent that its unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of a person."
For further information relating to barking dogs, contact the Council's Animal Management Officer on 08 8366 4619.