In most nuisance dog cases, all that is required is for someone to explain to the dog owner that there is problem. Often, the dog owners aren’t aware that there is a problem and are more than willing to act once it is brought to their attention.
In other instances they will refuse to accept the validity of the complaint. In order to address the concerns in a timely and equitable manner for all parties, further information is required.
If a dog is barking it may be for one of the following reasons:
• Needing exercise
• Wanting attention
• Suffering from separation anxiety
• Hunger or thirst
• It's too hot or cold (needs shelter)
• Needs veterinary attention.
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 you have not already done so you should discuss the problem with the owner of the problem dog. He or she may not be aware that a nuisance exists as the barking of their own dog may not be a problem to them but may be offensive to you. In most cases owners want to do the right thing and will co-operate, in which case, move to step 2. Should this not be successful and the owner is unwilling to co-operate, you should move on to step three below.
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. Contact a Community Justice Centre (CJC)
CJCs 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.
Step 4. Lodge a formal request with us.
You can lodge a formal request with us, but this is a last resort. You must make every effort to deal with the situation first. There are some critical aspects to making a formal request. Because your request could go to court we need sufficient detail for us to take action. We will need two different neighbours affected by the barking to complete a barking dog diary and complaint form.
- Part 1 - Complete the Barking Dog Diary - By recording the barking times, you are assisting us investigate the matter. This barking dog diary needs to be filled in for a minimum two weeks.
- Part 2 – Put your complaint in writing and return it to council with your completed barking dog diary
• You should always talk to your neighbour to try and resolve it 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 and misleading information
Guide to Managing Barking Dogs