Whitehorse City Council

Barking Dogs

Dogs that bark excessively often become a major problem in our community. Barking dogs can become a nuisance and create conflict between neighbours.

> Speak to your neighbour
> Contact Council
> Why do dogs bark?
> What the law says
> Advice and assistance for dog owners


Speak with your neighbour

If barking is becoming an issue, start by speaking with your neighbour.

Your neighbours may not be aware that it’s a problem (i.e. dog only barks when they’re at work etc.). This may resolve the issue without any further action. You could write a politely-worded note and put it in their mailbox, if you do not feel comfortable speaking with them.

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Contact Council

If you are unable to resolve the matter with your neighbour, you can contact Council by phone, email or write a letter to us including:

  • Your name and mailing address
  • Your contact phone number
  • Property address where dog is located
  • When the dog barks and for how long
  • The effect the barking has on your wellbeing.

Once a concern has been received by Council, we will write to you and the dog owner, advising of the alleged nuisance and allowing a period of time for the dog owner to firstly assess the issue, and to take action where necessary to reduce the alleged nuisance.

Information will be included to the affected resident advising what further action can be taken if the matter is not resolved by this first communication by Council with the dog owner.

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Why do dogs bark?

Dogs bark for many reasons. These include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Inadequate yard space
  • Boredom or lack of stimulation, both mental and physical
  • Not enough human companionship
  • Inadequate shelter from weather conditions
  • Hunger or thirst
  • Medical conditions, such as an illness or discomfort
  • Provocation
  • Disturbances
  • Movement outside their property. 

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What the law says

The Domestic Animal Act 1994 defines nuisance as a dog that creates a noise by barking or similar 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 other premises.

A dog owner must not allow their dog to create a nuisance. If a barking dog problem cannot be resolved, the matter may be referred to court to obtain a court order requiring the dog’s owner to remedy the problem.

Council’s definition of excessive barking that creates a nuisance is as follows:
“If a dog barking exceeds six (6) minutes of accumulated time in any hour between 7am and 10pm or, three (3) minutes accumulated time in any 30 minute period between the hours of 10pm and 7am is considered to be excessive”.

Council takes all allegations of dogs causing a nuisance very seriously, where a complaint is substantiated.

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Advice and assistance for dog owners

As the owner of a dog that may have received a barking nuisance complaint, you can contact Council's Community Laws Department to discuss the complaint and receive further information and advice.

As many dogs behave differently when their owners are away from home, you may also monitor your dog by using one of many recording applications that are available on the internet for smart phones and tablet devices. A search of the internet for barking dog monitor should provide a few choices.

Council also recommends that you consider obedience and socialisation training for your dog, and you could also consult your veterinarian to establish if the barking may be caused by a medical condition.

Council further recommends:

  • walking your dog daily
  • altering feeding times
  • providing toys at different intervals in an attempt to alleviate any boredom your dog may have from living in a backyard.

pdf icon Resolving Barking Dogs Nuisance (196.20kB)
pdf icon Barking Dogs Information Department of Primary Industries (395.85kB)

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