Dogs

Barking & Nuisance Dogs

Dogs can be a wonderful addition to any household. Unfortunately some of the most common complaints within communities arise from barking dogs.

Barking, whimpering, howling, whining, yelping and moaning are sounds made by dogs for communication. However, excessive noise can be a real nuisance, especially for neighbours.

Do you live next to a nuisance dog?

Under the Dog Act 1976 a dog is considered a nuisance if:

  • The dog 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.

Examples of possible nuisance noise or barking can include:

  • Barking at passing traffic, people or other dogs that continues for some time after the distraction has passed.
  • Barking regularly during the hours of darkness.
  • Barking, whining and/or howling for regular periods in excess of 15 minutes when the owners are absent or are inside the house and the dog is outside.
  • Barking associated with other behavioural problems.

What can I do about a nuisance dog?

Dogs bark for many reasons including excitement when being exercised or when owners return home, or on a longer term basis from boredom or in protection of their territory.

It can be very difficult to collect evidence of the frequency and loudness of a dog’s barking.

Often dog owners are not aware if their dog is a nuisance to neighbours because they are not at home when the dog barks and/or the dog is not barking when they arrive home. The Shire recommends neighbours speak with dog owners as soon as the dog becomes a nuisance.

Dog owners should be informed as to when the dog is barking and how it affects their neighbours. The complainant should be courteous, informative and supportive of any suggestions to rectify the problem. However, if the dog owner fails to accept there is a problem, then a complaint should be lodged with the Shire.

What is a Dog Diary and how do I use it? 

Following a complaint of nuisance barking the Shire will send the affected neighbour(s) a Barking Dog Package which includes a 14-day diary. You can also download a copy below of either. 

Nuisance Barking Dog Complaint Form

Nuisance Barking Dog Complaint Package

To better assess a case of nuisance barking the Shire requires two or more neighbours take part in the diary recordings. 

The complainant(s) are given 28 days to complete and return the diary to:

Shire of Gingin
Attention: Ranger Services
PO Box 510
GINGIN WA 6503

WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THE SHIRE CANNOT PROGRESS DOG BARKING COMPLAINTS.

If the diary is not completed or does not support the requirements that constitute nuisance barking, the Shire will be unable to take any further part in the complaint.

If the diary supports the complaint of nuisance barking then the Shire will contact the dog owner to arrange a visit to discuss the complaint. A letter will also be provided to the dog owner detailing the times the nuisance barking is allegedly occurring. This will be the first opportunity for the dog owner to abate the nuisance.

The main objective of the Shire’s Dog Diary procedure is to satisfactorily resolve dog barking complaints as early as possible. The successful resolution of a barking dog complaint relies on the full and timely participation of the complainants and of the dog owner.

For more information on this process please call the Coordinator Ranger Services on (08) 9575 5100.

How can I keep an effective dog diary?

  • Have two or more neighbours keep a dog diary.
  • When logging an instance of barking over a long period of time be sure to include whether the noise is constant or intermittent.
  • Avoid comments on the dog diary that identify who the complainants are.
  • Clearly show when the nuisance barking is at its worst.

The Shire's process is that the dog owner is given three opportunities to abate the nuisance. Each time complainants must complete a 14-day diary.

After the second opportunity the Shire will serve an order against the owner of the dog. If the noise has not been abated and the barking continues then the Shire may issue an infringement in accordance with the Dog Act 1976. Following the infringement, if the nuisance barking is still happening then the Shire can take court action against the dog owner.

The completion of the diaries is necessary to provide sufficient evidence for the Shire to act on.

How do I confirm my dog is actually nuisance barking?         

When receiving a letter of complaint from the Shire the dog owner should understand the person who lodged a complaint may not have spoken to you personally for several reasons. To rectify the problem at the first level of complaint the dog owner can:

  • Check with nearby neighbours to establish when and how often the barking is occurring.
  • At the times the nuisance barking is alleged to be occurring try leaving home and returning without the dog noticing. It is recommended this practice be repeated a number of times to confirm or refute the claim or to establish a pattern to the barking.
  • Have an independent neighbour keep a diary of your dog’s barking. Ask them to observe and report if there is a trigger. These observations and recordings may help to establish the duration, time and nature of the barking or to confirm that there is indeed a problem that needs to be addressed.
  • Determine if other factors (neighbours, children, local youth) are causing the barking to occur.

What can I do to try to stop my dog barking? 

  • Try covering gaps or cracks in fencing to prevent the dog from seeing a distraction or use other means such as shade cloth to block the dog's view.
  • Regular exercise and socialisation with other dogs can help keep a dog calm and reduce barking.
  • Place a radio between the distraction and the dog, soft music or a radio playing can help block noises that can irritate a dog.
  • Seek help from an animal behaviourist for more information.

Dog Exercise & Dog Prohibited Areas

Our dogs quite often need to be exercised. Across the Shire of Gingin there is a number of areas where you can exercise your dog off-lead or on-lead and there are also a small number of areas where it is prohibited to take your dog. 

Note: Dogs must be on leads at all times unless in a designated Dog Exercise Area. Even on a lead, dogs are not allowed in Dog Prohibited Areas.

Dog Exercise & Dog Prohibited Areas

Responsible Dog Ownership

As a dog owner within the Shire of Gingin there are a number of responsibilities of which you must be aware. These include microchipping and registering your dog, ensuring that your dog does not threaten or harm another person or animal and does not cause a nuisance. In certain instances the Shire may approve the keeping of more than two dogs on a premises. 

A list of relevant forms in relation to dog ownership can be viewed below. 

Responsible Dog Ownership Information and Registration Form

Application to Keep More than Two (2) Dogs on Premises

Enquiries

Contact the Rangers Service on (08) 9575 5140