- Created on Thursday, 19 May 2016 17:00
There have been several complaints in regards to dogs barking. We would like to remind resident of their responsibilites as a dog owner:
Caring for dogs
Compassion and common sense can eliminate many causes of excessive barking. A well cared for dog will generally not bark unreasonably and disturb neighbours. The following suggestions should help:
- Dogs need enough space to move freely in an enclosed backyard. A dog should not be left on a fixed chain for long periods. If a dog has to be chained, it should be on a running chain.
- Dogs need a place of their own. This can be a ventilated and waterproof kennel or an indoor area. Under section 8 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, a dog must be provided with adequate shelter, that is, a structure that protects them from wind, rain and sunshine.
- Dogs need regular and adequate exercise according to their breed and size.
Curing the barking habit
If you feel that a dog is well cared for, but continues to bark excessively, there are several things that can be tried:
- remove direct line of sight between the dog and children or animals, as looking at other animals or children may provoke barking
- take the dog to a recognised animal trainer to discourage bad habits
- provide noise insulation for the kennel
- take the dog to the vet - it may be sick.
The RSPCA website provides more information about proper care and management of dogs. The NSW Department of Primary Industries NSW Animal Welfare Code of Practice No 5 - Dogs and Cats in Animal Boarding Establishments provides information for everyone involved in the holding and care of dogs and cats for boarding.
Noisy dogs and the law
If you are annoyed by the noise from your neighbour's dog there are several things you can do.
Talk to the dog's owner
The dog's owner may not have realised that their dog is bothering you, and in many cases, will be happy to work with you to solve the problem.
Contact a Community Justice Centre
If the problem persists, you may contact a Community Justice Centre (CJC).
These are government-funded but independent centres that specialise in settling differences between neighbours without entering into complicated legal processes. They will suggest mediation, where you meet with the dog's owner and a CJC representative to try and solve the problem. This process will not cost you any money, and has a high success rate.
Contact your local council
If mediation is unsuccessful and the noise problem persists, contact your local council. They have statutory powers to deal with barking dogs. Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, a council officer can issue a nuisance order to the owner declaring the dog a nuisance if it barks or makes another noise that keeps occurring or continues to such a degree that it unreasonably disturbs neighbours.
For example, if you complain about a noisy dog, the council officer can investigate to substantiate your complaint. This may include collecting evidence such as written statements from neighbours, asking you to keep a diary of when the noise occurs, and visiting the property where the dog is kept (check with your council about what evidence is required).
If the complaint is substantiated, the officer can issue a nuisance order. Before doing so, the owner of the dog must be given prior notice of the officer’s intention to issue a nuisance order. The notice must specify what aspects of the dog’s behaviour need to change to prevent the disturbance from continuing. It must also inform the owner of their right to object to the proposed order, and that the objection must be in writing and submitted within 7 days of the notice being issued. If an objection is received, the officer must then consider whether it is appropriate to issue the order. Once an order is issued, it remains in force for six months and cannot be appealed against.
If the owner does not comply with the order, the offender is liable for a fine of up to $880 for the first offence and $1650 for the second and each subsequent offence.