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Animal Services
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Report Barking Dogs

A barking dog can cause great annoyance and distress to others. It is the dog owner's responsibility to ensure their dog does not cause a nuisance, ignoring justified complaints could lead to heavy fines and the removal of the dog but...

Dogs are permitted to bark and at times are required to do so. Tolerance is required where occasional barking occurs. It is always preferred that where a barking dog is causing a nuisance, the dog owner is visited to discuss the matter before involving the Council Dog Control Officer.

Dog Control Act 1996 Sec 55 Barking Dogs

  1. Where a dog control officer or dog ranger has received a complaint and has reasonable grounds for believing that a nuisance is being created by the persistent and loud barking or howling of any dog, the dog control officer or dog ranger may:
    • Enter at any reasonable time upon the land or premises, other than a dwelling house, on which the dog is kept, to inspect the conditions under which the dog is kept; and
    • Whether or not the dog control officer or dog ranger makes such entry, give the owner of the dog a written notice requiring that person to make such reasonable provision on the property to abate the nuisance as shall be specified in the notice or, if considered necessary, to remove the dog from the land or premises.

How we can help

Our experience in this area is extensive. Sometimes all that is required is for our Animal Control Officer to explain the problem to the dog owner and provide advice. Unfortunately in many cases the dog owner does not believe that there is a problem, especially if their neighbours have never approached them.


Your details are kept confidential and are not released to the dog owner. We require your details to both verify the complaint and to enable our Dog Control staff to liaise with you during the investigation. Your investigating Officer may need further information from you and will keep you informed on the progress of the complaint.


The Process

On receipt of a complaint regarding a barking dog at an address specified by the complainant and after checks on registration data, a standard barking dog letter is sent to the dog owner alerting them to the issue. Several days is allowed for compliance and Council will notify you if this period is likely to be extended. During this period we will continue to log complaints and ask that you also let us know if the barking ceases.

Continued barking after 14 days will result in a second letter being issued highlighting the legal responsibilities of a dog owner regarding a barking dog. Again several days must be allowed for compliance. If no action is taken, Council proceeds to the next stage in its process.

  • We will deliver survey notices to the surrounding neighbours. This is to confirm whether or not other people are being affected. We suggest that you do not discuss the matter with your neighbours so as not to influence their comments.
  • A Bark Diary will be sent to the complainant to complete and return and we also ask if you notice a pattern or trigger factor in the barking.As a result of the survey we may visit the dog owner and advise them about the problem.
  • The Dog Control Officer will try to ascertain why the dog is barking / howling.

If the dog owner co-operates

If the dog owner is willing to co-operate then your situation will become a little easier. Barking is often the symptom of an underlying problem. The key to resolving the barking is to identify and treat the problem. Depending on the nature or cause of the problem, it may take some time to correct a habit that the dog has developed.

During this period please feel free to contact us to pass on your comments or observations. Council has a desire to rectify the problem and to assist both you and the dog owner through the process.

If the dog owner is unco-operative

Should the dog owner refuse to co-operate the process will become quite formal.

Once the Dog Control Officer has ascertained why the dog is barking/howling (to the best of their ability given the lack of co-operation), the dog owner will be served with a notice pursuant to section 55 of the Dog Control Act 1996. The notice will provide direction on how the problem is to be solved. The notice will also advise the dog owner that if the problem persists a further notice requiring the removal of the dog may result.

Legal Action

Every person to whom a notice is served has the right of objection. If an objection is received, initially the matter will be heard by the Council's Hearings Committee and from there the matter may progress further to a Court Hearing. If no objection is received and the dog owner fails to comply with the notice the matter may go straight to Court. In any case you may be required to appear as a witness to the truth of the complaint and the information that you have supplied us.

Legal action is not automatic and will depend on our assessment of the case. If Council chooses not to proceed and you believe you have a strong case, you have the option to take a civil action. Our aim is to assist you and to resolve the situation in the most amicable way possible.

Not sure what to do?

We welcome you to contact us at your convenience to discuss your situation and to answer any other enquiry you may have.

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