Dogs in the Snowy Monaro Regional Council are an important part of our local community, however excessive barking can irritate and cause disputes between neighbours.
According to the Companion Animals Act 1998, a dog is considered to be a nuisance if it “makes a noise, by barking or otherwise, that persistently occurs or continues to such a degree or extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises”.
Why do dogs bark?
Barking is a natural behaviour for dogs and allows them to communicate with their owners and other people. Often there are underlying reasons why a dog will bark excessively. These reasons include:
- A lack of exercise or training;
- Medical conditions;
- Prolonged containment in a small yard;
- Disturbances outside the dog owner’s property; or
- Protection of their property from intruders such as unfamiliar people or wildlife.
Further information and how to lodge a complaint?
You can look through Council's Guide to Managing Barking Dogs which provides information and explains how a member of the community can lodge a complaint against a nuisance barking dog with the Council.
Other useful resources
If your dog is barking excessively, you should take a look at the NSW Environmental Protection Agency website page on Barking Dogs.
They have also produced a useful booklet "Dealing with barking dogs" which can be downloaded from the website.
Troubled by a barking dog?
Step 1. Let the owner know
If barking is an issue in your neighbourhood, try and politely approach the dog owner and explain the problem. Communication between neighbours, establishing when and why a dog is barking may be effective in solving the problem. Remember, the dog owner may be unaware that the barking is a problem if it only occurs when they are out for the day or if they are a heavy sleeper.
Step 2. Wait for a while
If the owner agrees to do something about the barking, please wait a few weeks to see if they have been successful in their efforts. Give them feedback about what is working and what is not. It's in the best interest of a harmonious neighbourhood that the matter is sorted by those most affected.
Step 3. Attempt/undertake mediation or obtain a Noise Abatement order
Community Justice Centres (CJC) are government-funded, but independent centres that specialise in settling differences between neighbours without entering into complicated legal processes. A CJC will suggest a mediation process. This process will not cost you any money, and has a high success rate. For information on your nearest CJC, visit www.cjc.nsw.gov.au, phone 1800 990 777 or enquire through the Local Court.
If mediation does not resolve the matter, you may contact a local Magistrate to issue a Noise Abatement Order under Section 268 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
Step 4. Lodge a formal complaint with us
You can lodge a formal request with us as a last resort. There are some critical aspects to making a formal complaint to Council. Because your request could go to Court, Council will need sufficient detail prior to taking action. We will need two different neighbours affected by the barking to complete a barking dog diary and complaint form.
Council’s Procedures regarding noise complaints provide guidance for Council to fairly and accurately respond to complaints from the community. Our standard procedure is to receive a written complaint, which will remain confidential at all times. The complaint will be assigned to the Council’s Ranger and an investigation will commence within three (3) days.
Please Note ‐ Council cannot proceed to further investigate without a completed barking Dog Complaint Form and a filled in Barking Dog Diary, from two or more affected properties.
- You should always talk to your neighbour to try and resolve the problem first
- Not all barking is unreasonable; it is only unreasonable if it affects your activities at home
- If your diary is not completed it will be returned pending more information
- If your diary has any false entries you may be fined for providing false/misleading information
Guide to Managing Barking Dogs