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Barking dogs and noisy animals

Barking dogs and noisy animals

We receive numerous complaints about noisy pets from annoyed neighbours, especially about dogs that bark excessively.

While it is acceptable for a dog to bark to warn of an intruder, owners must train their dog not to bark at normal movement or noises such as passers-by, vehicles and animals near the property.

Complain about a barking dog

  1. If your neighbour’s dog is barking excessively, try politely talking to your neighbour first as they may not be aware of the problem, especially if their dog is only barking when they aren’t home.
  2. If you are uncomfortable approaching your neighbour, try placing our anonymous 'Dear Neighbour' letter into their letterbox or post it to them.
  3. If your neighbour still takes no action to stop the barking, we recommend the Dispute Settlement Centre, which provides free advice to help neighbours sort out problems. You can visit the Dispute Settlement Centre website or call 1800 658 528.
  4. If you still can’t resolve the problem with your neighbour, we ask that you keep a diary for 2 weeks to record how often the dog is barking. This allows us to determine whether the barking is causing an unreasonable disturbance.
  5. Once complete, mail the diary back to us and we’ll investigate the issue. We can only investigate if you provide your contact details, but your neighbour will not find out who made the complaint unless the matter cannot be resolved and proceeds to the Magistrates Court.
  6. We may ask you to get support for your complaint from another neighbour who is affected by the barking dog.
  7. We may then issue a warning to the dog’s owner to stop the barking.
  8. If the problem persists, we may issue an infringement notice or proceed with legal action.

My pet is making excessive noise

If your dog or cat is constantly being a nuisance in a way that upsets or annoys your neighbours - either by creating noise or by its actions - you need to take steps to stop it.

If we receive a complaint about your animal being a nuisance, we will give you an opportunity, suggestions and advice to help you control it.

If you fail to fix your animal's noise problem, you may:

  • receive an on-the-spot fine of $200
  • have to pay a court-imposed penalty of up to $2000
  • adhere to a court-imposed order to stop the nuisance

What to do about your dog’s barking

Depending on why your dog is barking, you may need to:

  • Take the dog on more frequent walks and include it on family outings. Even if you have a large yard, dogs still need to socialise and experience the sounds and smells of walks outside. Find a designated off-leash dog park to give your dog a free run.
  • Make the backyard environment more interesting.
  • Provide your dog with toys and a large bone to chew. You can also stuff hollow toys with food.
  • Give your dog access to your house through a dog door.
  • Take your dog to obedience classes or undertake dog training.
  • Block the dog’s view of movement outside the property with solid fencing, shade cloth or hedging if the dog is barking at passers-by.
  • Make sure your dog is in good health by getting a check-up at the vet.