Barking dogs are one of the most widespread animal management issues in the community, with 133 different dogs the subject of noise complaints made to Burdekin Shire Council in the 2016/17 financial year.
Burdekin Shire Council Governance and Local Laws Manager Dan Mulcahy said noisy dogs could be a real neighbourhood nuisance but were also a particularly difficult issue for Council as a number of factors had to be taken into account before further compliance action could be pursued.
“Excessive barking is often an indication that something is wrong, whether the animal is impacted by boredom, separation anxiety, discomfort or a perceived threat to its territory,” Mr Mulcahy said.
“Sometimes it is difficult to determine the cause of the barking, but for pet owners in this situation, taking the time to understand why this is occurring is the first step to solving the problem.”
He said Council received a number of noise complaints regarding barking dogs but that the majority of these could be resolved without Council involvement. People with dogs barking excessively in their neighbourhood are encouraged to first try talking to the dog’s owner to ensure they’re aware of the problem and see if they can do anything about it.
“In most cases the dog’s owner may not be aware of the barking or realise it is annoying to you or others,” Mr Mulcahy said.
“Local Law stipulates pet owners must take all reasonable steps to prevent their animal from making a noise or disturbance that causes a nuisance to neighbours.
“People must ensure their animal does not make excessive noise for more than a total of six minutes in any hour from 7am to 10pm on any day and for more than a total of three minutes in any 30 minute period after 10pm or before 7am.
“There is no concrete definition of a nuisance or excessive noise, which is why Council officers must rely on completed seven day diaries and surveillance information to proceed with further action.”
As a last resort Council may serve an infringement penalty notice and instigate legal action against the dog owner.
Some simple tips to reduce excessive barking include:
· Exercise — an active dog barks less when it gets regular exercise.
· Stimulation — a bored dog will bark to attract attention.
· Fence design — restrict your dog’s view to what’s going on outside the fence.
Pet owners can obtain more tips from the barking dogs fact sheet which has recently been mailed out with their animal registration renewal notices, by contacting Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800 or online: www.burdekin.qld.gov.au/wp/media/downloads/2017/07/Barking-dog-pamphlet-2017.pdf