Barking dogs are one of the most complained about issues regarding dogs for Council and is one of the most difficult issues for Council to resolve because:
- Each individual will have a different view as to what is a noise nuisance. This will vary from the location of the dog to the complainant, noise tolerance level of complainant, type of barking and time/length of barking.
- Gathering evidence and completing barking dog diaries are time consuming and difficult.
- Council Rangers need to investigate complaints to ascertain whether indeed the barking is causing a nuisance.
- Council Rangers require complainants to agree to be a witness in Court and provide evidence if the matter is to proceed.
- The owners often are not aware that their dog is barking excessively.
- Barking is simply one way dogs communicate and can mean anything from playfulness to danger.
Some dogs bark because they are:
- Chained to a fixed point and don’t have enough room to move around
- Being provoked deliberately or unintentionally by people or other roaming animals
- Not getting enough exercise
- Not properly trained
- May suffer from separation anxiety
- Lonely, sick, hungry, or generally neglected.
Chronic or excessive barking is a sign that something is wrong and can be a nuisance to others in the community.
Sometimes stopping a dog from barking can be as simple as taking care of their basic needs.
Important websites for further information on dealing with barking dogs and definition of nuisance dogs
Refer to http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/noise/barkingdogs.htm for details on dealing with barking dogs.
Refer to Companion Animals Act 1998 - Nuisance Dogs for further details on definitions of a nuisance dog.
What can I do about my Barking Dog?
• Exercise your dog. Dogs who have worked off their excess energy are less likely to bark from boredom (this could include walking your dog for at least 15 minutes each day)
• Play with your dog when you are home.
• Make sure your dog receives veterinary attention when required.
• Leave toys out for your dog to play with.
• Make sure your dog has plenty of food, water and shelter from both the sun and rain
• Discipline your dog. Take it to obedience school or puppy preschool and talk to your vet about what type of training courses are available.
If you feel your dog is well cared for but continues to bark excessively there are a number of things you can try;
• Confine your dog in the back yard, away from interference and/or provocation by passing traffic including pedestrians.
• Restrict your dog's vision through the fence and or gate.
• Consider training, talk to specialist dog trainers and or dog behaviourists.
• Insulate the kennel against noise and weather.
• Keep your dog inside or confined to the garage or a similar enclosure at night.
If your dog continues to bark excessively despite the fact that you have tried all of the above suggestions you may consider hiring an anti-barking collar.
If your dog continues to bark excessively despite the fact that you have tried all of the above suggestions you may consider hiring a anti-barking aid.
Products such as Anti-barking collars and “Hushers” have proven to be very successful in training dogs with barking problems. Alternatively you may enlist the services of qualified trainers from organisations such as Bark Busters.
The use of Anti-barking aids and the facilitation of training are options best discussed with professional trainers or your local veterinarian.
Bellingen Veterinary Hospital
1 Prince Street, Bellingen 2454
(02) 6655 1098
Urunga Vet Clinic
17 Bowra Street, Urunga 2455
(02) 6655 5299
Dorrigo Veterinary Clinic
12 Hickory Street, Dorrigo 2453
(02) 6657 2416
What to do if troubled by a barking dog
- Contact the dog owner first. How you do this is your decision. You may decide to talk personally with the owner, telephone or write to the owner. The dog owner may not be aware their dog is barking particularly if it's only doing it when they are out. In most cases owners will want to do the right thing and will co-operate.
- Be courteous when contacting the dog owner. Sometimes they may not know how to go about fixing the problem so be prepared to assist with information.
- Be specific and tell the dog owner if the dog is barking at certain times or at certain things and give them an opportunity to correct the problem.
- With the aid of Council
- If requested Council will contact the dog owner to advise them of the complaint regarding alleged excessive barking and their responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act 1998 (NSW).
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. If Council has contacted the dog owner on your behalf allow time for the owner to take action to address the nuisance barking.
Ask for Barking Dog Information Brochure to be sent to you, including additional copies for you to pass onto other potentially affected neighbours.
Lodge Complaint to Council
- A written complaint may be lodged with Council please note that two (2) written complaints must be lodged regarding a barking dog. In urban areas, complaints must be from two (2) separate residents before Council will take action in relation to a barking dog.
- Council requires your agreement to act as a witness in court and provide evidence if the matter proceeds to Court. Your signature agreeing to this is required on the Barking Dog Information Sheet.
- Council requires you to agree to complete a Barking Dog Diary for up to six (6) months for evidence if the matter proceeds to Court and or a Nuisance Dog Order is issued to the Dog owner restricting the barking. Your signature agreeing to the keeping of such a diary will be required on the Barking Dog Diary.
Contact a Community Justice Centre (CJC) and or take Private Civil Action
- Until such time Council receives two (2) written complaints and completed diaries attached, Council is unable to take further action and you are advised to take civil action in Court or contact the Community Justice Centre (CJC).
- 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 is where you meet with the owner of the animals that are making the noise, together with a CJC representative, to
try and solve the problem. 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
10 essential tips for good dog management
1. Avoid unwanted puppies and have your dog desexed at an early age.
2. Ensure your dog is microchipped and registered with Council as soon as it becomes eligible.
3. Never console a frightened, aggressive or barking dog. Reprimand for undesirable behaviour and only praise for good behaviour.
4. Do not allow your dog to bark at things that are not a threat to your security, eg. passing pedestrians, postman, neighbours, stray dogs, birds etc.
5. Be a responsible dog owner and remember a good watchdog makes for a happy neighbourhood.
6. Seek professional help if your dog is too difficult for you to handle, and if so, don't feel like you have failed. Humans are naturally human trainers and it takes special skills to be able to train dogs successfully.
7. Do not allow your dog to roam, always walk your dog on a leash. It is an offence against the Companion Animals Act for any dog to be outside its own property at any time, unless it is under the effective control of a competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash, that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person.
8. Always carry a bag with you to pick up any dog droppings (poo).
9. Wherever possible confine your dog at night to reduce any annoyance to your neighbours.
10. Keep your dog healthy and happy.
Companion Animals Act 1998 No. 87 (exert dated August 2011)
Section 21 Nuisance Dogs
(1) For the purposes of this section, a dog is a nuisance if the dog:
(a) is habitually at large, or
(b) 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, or
(c) repeatedly defecates on property (other than a public place) outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept, or
(d) repeatedly runs at or chases any person, animal (other than vermin and, in relation to an animal, otherwise than in the course of droving, tending, working or protecting stock) or vehicle, or
(e) endangers the health of any person or animal (other than vermin and, in relation to an animal, otherwise than in the course of droving, tending, working or protecting stock), or
(f) repeatedly causes substantial damage to anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept.
(2) If an authorised officer of a council is satisfied that a dog is a nuisance, the officer may, after complying with section 21A, issue an order in the approved form to the owner of the dog requiring the owner to prevent the behaviour that is alleged to constitute the nuisance.
(3) The order must specify the behaviour of the dog that is required to be prevented. The order can specify more than one kind of behaviour.
(4) An order remains in force for 6 months after it is issued.
(5) The owner of a dog must comply with an order issued to the owner under this section and must continue to comply with it while it is in force. Maximum penalty: 8 penalty units for a first offence or 15 penalty units for a second or subsequent offence.
(6) A council whose authorised officer issues an order under this section must notify the Director-General within 7 days after the order is issued.
(7) An order under this section is final and is not subject to any appeal or review.