Making a complaint

Many dog owners don't realise their dog is causing a nuisance as their pet only barks when they are away from home. Often a friendly chat with the neighbour is enough to address the problem.

If you are not comfortable talking to your neighbour you can download a letter template ( PDF, 0.07 MB ) to fill in and drop in their mailbox. It can take time to stop nuisance barking, so we ask that you give your neighbour at least 14 days to address their dog’s barking.

In the meantime, it’s important that you don’t shout at or punish the dog (for example, hosing it over the fence) in an attempt to stop it from barking. This may have the opposite effect and encourage it to bark more.

If the problem persists after 14 days, you may wish to consider using the FNQ Dispute Resolution Centre as opposed to formal intervention from Council. Alternatively, you can contact Council to make a formal complaint.

Note: If you choose to lodge a complaint, you must provide the exact address of the property where the barking is coming from.  If you choose to make a complaint anonymously, your complaint may not be actioned depending upon the level of information provided. Council will also not be able to provide you with any information about the investigation.

Council's process

Notify the dog owner

When you lodge a formal complaint, Council will send a letter to the dog owner letting them know that a complaint has been received as well as a fact sheet on common causes of excessive barking and how it can be addressed ( PDF, 0.43 MB ).

Council does not tell the dog owner who made the complaint.

At this point your neighbour may contact you to get a better understanding of when and why their dog is barking. It is useful if you can provide details such as the time of day barking occurs and any triggers such as the postman driving past..

Notify you

Council will notify you in writing confirming we have received your complaint. The letter will include a guide to resolving dog barking issues in your neighbourhood, a formal complaint form, and an animal noise diary.

What you need to do

Council needs to establish that a barking nuisance has occurred and that the noise is unreasonable, and needs your help to do this.

If excessive barking continues after 7 days of receiving your confirmation letter from Council, please complete the formal complaint form and the animal noise diary. The animal noise diary must be completed for a period of 14 consecutive days. This is important for substantiating that nuisance barking is occurring.

You will need to return both the formal complaint form and the animal noise diary to Council within 28 days from the date the letter was issued to you.

Next steps

If the animal noise diary is not returned to Council, there will be no further investigation on the matter.

If you complete the animal noise diary and return it to Council with a completed formal complaint form, Council will assign a Local Laws officer to investigate the matter to verify the extent of the barking behaviour.

Council officers will advise you of the outcome of the investigation.

No evidence of nuisance barking

Council is unable to take further action if it finds there is no evidence of nuisance barking or that it is not considered unreasonable in the circumstances.

Evidence of nuisance barking

If Council finds there is evidence of unreasonable nuisance barking, Council can issue the dog owner with:

  • A compliance notice warning of possible penalties unless action is taken to prevent the dog from barking excessively.
  • A Penalty Infringement Notice (a fine) if the barking persists.

Council will attempt to work with the dog owner so that a long-term solution can be achieved. Your understanding that this may take some time is appreciated.

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Last updated: 16 September 2019