Barking dogs can be very frustrating and create friction in neighbourhoods. It is important to understand 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 and bored
- Not properly trained
- Suffering from separation anxiety, lonely, sick, hungry, or generally neglected
- Alerting or alarming someone to a possible threat.
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.
Barking dogs are one of the most difficult issues for Council to resolve. This is because each of us has a different idea about what nuisance noise is.
Troubled by a barking dog?
1. Let your neighbour know
The owner of the dog may not be aware their dog is a nuisance, particularly if the dog only barks when the owner is out. In most cases, owners will want to do the right thing.
- You can talk personally with the owner, telephone or write. Be courteous when contacting the dog owner.
- Be specific and tell the owner if the dog is barking at certain times or at certain things. Give them an opportunity to correct the problem.
- Sometimes they may not know how to go about fixing the problem so be prepared to assist with information.
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.
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.
4. Contact us
While not the preferred path to resolution, as neighbours are usually able to resolve matters themselves without the interference of an authority, if you are unable to do so, we can contact the owner on your behalf.
Discuss this option with our Customer Service Officers or Rangers, but they may suggest that under the circumstances, it would be better if you discussed the matter with the owner directly, before we become involved.
5. Lodge a request
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 need two different neighbours affected by the barking to complete a barking dog diary and complaint form.
Complete the Barking Dog Diary - By recording the barking times, you are assisting us investigate the matter. This form needs to be filled in for a minimum two weeks.
Fill in the Barking Dog Request Form - This user friendly form helps you capture all the important facts. Lodge the diary and form with us.
6. Take private civil action
You are able to take civil action. If you want to take your own action, you can seek a Noise Abatement Order. This is under the provisions in Section 268-274 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW). This will involve taking private civil action through the Local Court.
You can find more information about seeking a Noise Abatement Order on the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) website found on the link to the right.