Barking is a dog's natural means of communication. It may signify alertness to danger or another animal or intruders or it may be the result of boredom.
A dog is considered a nuisance by law when a dog persistently barks in a manner to such a degree or extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person.
Many dog owners are not aware that their dog is barking and/or that it’s a nuisance to others. Dogs often bark when people are not home so the owner may have no idea of the problem. Sometimes a dog will bark at every noise or passer-by however it is not considered normal behaviour for a dog to bark for long periods of time.
What can I do about a nuisance dog?
First, try to solve the issue yourself
Visit your neighbour and politely explain to the owner when the dog is barking and how it affects you. This conversation should be courteous, informative and supportive of any suggestions.
Alternatively, you can download and complete a ‘Barking Dog Card’ (we can also post you one if you need, just call our Rangers team on 9405 5000).
Making a formal complaint
If your attempt to resolve the issue directly with your neighbour has been unsuccessful and the persistent barking has not decreased, an official barking dog complaint may be lodged with the City in accordance with the Dog Act 1976, section 38 which in part states:
A person may lodge a complaint in a prescribed form with an authorised person, alleging that a dog is a nuisance. If an authorised person is satisfied that a dog is a nuisance as alleged in a complaint, the authorised person may issue an order to a person liable for the control of the dog requiring that person to prevent the behaviour that is alleged to constitute the nuisance by a time specified in the order.
If you wish to lodge a formal complaint, a 7 day diary and information pack will be provided for you to record:
- The address of where the dog resides
- dates and times that barking has occurred
- how long the dog barked for on each occasion
The reason the City requires a completed diary is to gather evidence of the times and duration of the barking in question so that, if we establish that the barking is indeed a nuisance, we can ensure that both the owner of the animal and the Ranger assisting are able to identify the root cause of the issue and work towards a suitable solution.
To better assess a case of nuisance barking, the City suggests that two or more neighbours take part in the diary recordings.
Please note: The completion of the diary is necessary to provide sufficient evidence for the City to act on.
What happens next?
- If the diary supports the complaint of nuisance barking the City will contact the dog owners to arrange a visit to discuss the issue
- A letter will also be provided to the dog owner detailing the times the nuisance barking. This will provide a further opportunity for the dog owner to abate the nuisance barking.
Should the City require further evidence of nuisance barking, you may requested to complete additional diary(s) for evidentiary purposes.
Failure to comply with a request to resolve a nuisance dog complaint may result in an infringement or even legal action against the owner. In this instance, you may be required to attend court and give evidence against the dog owner.
To receive advice regarding the barking dog complaint process, please contact our Ranger Services team on 9405 5000 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click below to download an information brochure on barking dogs.