Nuisance and Barking Dog

Ranger Services fully appreciates that a barking dog can often severely disrupt people's lives and erode their quality of life. However, the laws relating to an alleged dog nuisance are prescribed by State Legislation and Local Authorities are bound to follow that process.

Dogs bark for a reason and dogs that bark habitually suggest that something is not quite right. Some breeds will bark more than others, however the most common causes of excessive barking are:

  • boredom and loneliness
  • confinement and isolation
  • lack of exercise and activity
  • lack of training
  • separation anxiety
  • specific stimuli, e.g. people or vehicles passing by the property, other dogs, cats or native wildlife
  • a health problem

In many cases, excessive barking will occur during the owner's absence and more often than not, the owner may be completely oblivious of the problem. With this in mind, a friendly approach should be taken. If the complainant approaches the dog owner in a courteous informative and neighbourly manner, both parties can work together to solve the problem. If all reasonable steps have been taken by communicating with the owner and the problem has not been solved, call Ranger Services to discuss the matter further.

As a dog owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your dog is not creating a public nuisance by barking excessively. The on-the-spot fine for allowing your dog to bark persistently is $100. If taken to court, the fine could be up to $2,000. Please consider the impact of your dog's behaviour on your neighbours.

DO YOU HAVE A DOG NOISE OR BEHAVIOUR PROBLEM?

The Shire of Northam Ranger Services understand that a dog, that is not yours, that is constantly barking can be quite stressful and upsetting. There are several things Ranger Services, and you can do to help and reduce the noise. Please understand that it may not be a quick fix, but keeping the neighbourhood happy, is our best outcome.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

If you have a civil relationship with the dog owner, speaking directly with them and explaining the problem with them, is the best start. Explaining when, at who and how it makes you feel when the dog is barking might help the owner understand when the barking is happening.

 

WHAT CAN THE COUNCIL DO TO HELP YOU?

If you cannot speak with the dog owner, sometimes all that is required is for Ranger Services to visit the dog’s owner and explain the problem with them. In instances, the dog owner does not believe there is a problem and if that is the case Ranger Services will contact you for some more information.

Trying to convince a dog owner to change their dog habits is not easy, and the more information we have the easier it is to help you.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

A letter will be sent to the dog owner explaining that a nuisance complaint has been recorded against their dog and that these are the options that can be used to help change their pet’s behaviour. A follow up visit from the Rangers will also happen so that they can explain the options also.  

 

KEEPING A RECORD – DOCUMENTING TIMES/ DATES/ BEHAVIOUR/ EFFECTS

A letter will also be sent to you at the same time with a spreadsheet with Time, Date, Behaviour of Dog and Effects to yourself, you can also find it below. You will need to fill this out for 7 days, so that the Rangers Services can have a timeline for when the dog’s nuisance behaviour is happening. You will need to also fill in the Form 7 - complaint form and ensured it is filled out completely and signed, you can also find this below.

Once the 7 days have been complete and the form 7 is filled and signed, you can then mail or hand in to the Shire of Northam Administration building, or email to records@northam.wa.gov.au.

Barking Dog Diary 

Form 7 Complaint Form

 

IF THE DOG OWNER CO-OPERATES

If the dog owner/s co-operates, you should notice a difference over time. Some treatment strategies may result in a temporary increase in barking while the dog adjusts.

 

WHAT IF THE DOG OWNER DOES NOT CO-OPERATE?

The Western Australian Dog Act 1976 allows Local Authority to take action against a dog owner if it is nuisance dog.

      Nuisance dogs

               The Dog Act 1976 as amended deems a dog a nuisance if the dog —

                  (a)     makes 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 place; or

                  (b)     is shown to be allowed to behave consistently in a manner contrary to the general interest of the community; or

                  (c)     makes a noise, by barking or otherwise, that exceeds —

                               (i)     a prescribed noise level measured by a prescribed method over a prescribed period of time; or

                              (ii)     a prescribed number of times of occurrence during or over a prescribed period of time.

A person may lodge a complaint in a prescribed form (Form 7 as attached) with an authorised person, alleging that a dog is a nuisance,

If an authorised person is satisfied that a dog is a nuisance as alleged in a complaint, the authorised person may issue an order to a person liable for the control of the dog requiring that person to prevent the behaviour that is alleged to constitute the nuisance by a time specified in the order.

An order has effect for 6 months after the day on which it is issued.

A person to whom an order is issued must comply with the order during the period in which it has effect. 

 

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

Upon receipt of the completed documents, the Shire will consider whether or not to take legal action. Legal action is not automatic and depends on an assessment of each case.

Ranger Services would also consider sending out a letter to surrounding residence to ask them if there has been a nuisance dog in the area.

Should court action be necessary, then we will require you to appear as a witness. If you or any of the complainants do not wish to so this, the Shire cannot proceed with a prosecution.

It may take some time to obtain a hearing date at the Magistrates Court, during this period you may wish to keep an up-to-date record of noise, behaviour and effect on you.

 

SOME HELPFUL ITEMS FOR DOG OWNERS

  • No-Shock Training Collar
  • Anti-Bark Device
  • Handheld Ultrasonic Trainer
  • Thunder Shirts
  • Anxiety Wraps
  • Crate
  • Provide Plenty of “Jobs” for your dog to do
  • Medications – refer to a professional
  • Stuffed Kong Toy
  • Puzzle Feeder
  • Barking Dog Collars
  • A White Noise Machine – to mask exterior sounds
  • Electric Pet Barrier