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
- 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.
Owners of dogs have responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act 1998 and the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, to ensure their dogs do not exhibit nuisance behaviour or emit offensive noise.
The Companion Animals Act 1998 defines nuisance behaviour as ‘making 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’.
The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, defines ‘offensive noise’ as noise;
a) that, by reason of its level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is made, or any other circumstances:
(i) is harmful to (or is likely to be harmful to) a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or
(ii) interferes unreasonably with (or is likely to interfere unreasonably with) the comfort or repose of a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or
b) that is of a level, nature, character or quality prescribed by the regulations or that is made at a time, or in other circumstances, prescribed by the regulations.
Council encourages negotiation between neighbours in an attempt to resolve the problem. Such negotiations can be conducted between each party or with the assistance of an independent mediator through a forum such as a Community Justice Centre. Advice and further information on Community Justice Centres can be obtained by contacting 1800 990 777.
Alternatively, you may apply to The Chamber Magistrate at the Local Court for a Noise Abatement Order. These orders may be issued by the Magistrate when it is clear the barking has caused a nuisance and you have tried to resolve the issue by other means. Call Singleton Local Court on T 02 6572 1170 for further information.