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 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 instance 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, please contact Council to make a formal complaint.

Council's process

Notify the dog owner

When you lodge a complaint we send a letter to the dog's owner letting them know a complaint has been received as well as a fact sheet on common causes of excessive barking and how it can be addressed ( PDF, 0.41 MB ).

We do 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 passed.

Notify you

Council will notify you in writing confirming we have received your complaint. The letter will include a Barking Dog Nuisance Diary and a letter template.

Council needs to establish that a barking nuisance has occurred and that the noise is unreasonable. We need your assistance to do so.

What you need to do

Council needs to establish that a barking nuisance has occurred and that the noise is unreasonable. We need your assistance to do so.

If excessive barking continues after 14 days of receiving your confirmation letter from Council, please complete the Barking Dog Nuisance Diary for a period of 14 days and return it to Council.

Your barking diary is important for substantiating that nuisance barking is occurring. It is therefore important that you fill out the diary carefully for 14 days and provide as much detail as possible.

Next steps

If the Barking Dog Nuisance Diary is not returned we will not investigate further.

If you complete the Barking Dog Nuisance Diary and return it to Council we 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 their investigation.

No evidence of nuisance barking

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

Evidence of nuisance barking

If Council finds that there is evidence of unreasonable barking nuisance, 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 (fine) if the barking persists

If no, or insufficient, action is taken after these steps, Council can seize and remove the dog from the property. However, this step will only be undertaken in exceptional circumstances.

Last updated: 08 February 2017