A dog usually barks because it's bored or lonely, but many owners don't realise their dogs are barking because they generally only do it when their owner is not at home.
It's the owner's responsibility to ensure their dog is not a nuisance to neighbours. If a barking dog is causing a problem for you, here are the steps you can take to resolve it.
Step 1: Talk to the dog's owner
If someone living near you has a constantly barking dog that is bothering you, we recommend that you first try to talk to the dog owner calmly and politely. Sometimes this can resolve the situation.
Step 2: Report a barking dog to Council
If you've tried talking to the dog's owner and nothing has changed, you can report it to Council.
To help us investigate the report, we recommend that you record how often, and for how long, the dog barks in our barking dog diary template.
You can also contact us by email, phone or mail with details of your complaint.
When we receive your complaint, we'll appoint an Animal Management Officer, who'll contact you to:
- clarify and/or confirm the information you have provided
- discuss the impact of the nuisance on you
- take a detailed account of the issue to assess if nuisance exists as defined in the Domestic Animal Act 1994.
The officer will contact the dog owner to advise them of the concern, discuss possible solutions, and inform them of their responsibilities.
If this does not resolve the issue, the Animal Management Officer will take a formal impact statement from you and assess whether to issue a Notice to Abate. At this stage you may be asked to record barking in the barking dog diary.
We may also visit the location to check that barking is consistent with the report, and to see if other neighbours are affected by the barking.
This may result in legal action. You may be required to continue to record barking. If we don't have the information we need or participation from witnesses, we may not be able to continue the investigation.
Step 3: Use independent mediation
If nothing changes after Council has tried to resolve the situation, you can use the free and confidential mediation service provided by the Victorian Government’s Dispute Settlement Centre. This is worth exploring as an alternative to long investigations and legal action.
Visit the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria or call 9603 8370.
Advice for dog owners
To understand why your dog is barking and training and management techniques that can help prevent the problem from becoming worse, see tips on the Victorian Government's Agriculture Victoria website.
If a neighbour approaches you in a friendly manner about your dog barking, discuss the problem and take some action to control your dog when you are not around.