Many times, dog owners are not aware that their dog is barking. A friendly approach may help the owner address their dog's barking quickly and avoid unnecessary dispute.
If you are uncomfortable approaching the dog owner in person, you can download our 'Dear Neighbour' postcard below or call us on 8384 0666 for a hard copy.
'Dear Neighbour' postcard(PDF, 215KB)
Please remember that changing a dog's learnt behaviour takes time and the amount of time will vary depending on the dog.
If contact with the dog owner is unsuccessful or the owner has been unable or unwilling to address their dog's behaviour, you can contact our Community Rangers on 8384 0666 to discuss your concerns and make a report.
On receipt of a report about a dog that is causing a barking nuisance we gather information to understand the dog’s behaviour, why the dog is barking, how often, when and for how long.
This may involve:
- meeting the customer and assessing the situation from their property
- recording the dog barking
- speaking with or visiting other neighbours to gather additional information.
Estimated time: about 7 days.
The dog owner is notified of the report and provided with suggestions to resolve their dog’s barking based on the most likely cause. Resources are provided to support behaviour change or confirm the cause and extent of the barking.
We will seek weekly feedback from you and share this with the dog owner.
- Has the barking reduced, stayed the same or got worse?
- What is the dog owner doing that is and is not working?
The monitoring stage may be extended to allow for continuous improvement of the dog’s behaviour to be recognised.
Estimated time: 3-5 weeks
If the dog owner is unable or unwilling to address their dog’s nuisance behaviour and there is evidence of persistent nuisance, we may Order the owner to take all reasonable steps to prevent nuisance barking including engaging a behaviourist and undertaking a training course.
If we proceed to an Order, supporting evidence will be required to prove persistent unreasonable barking and its impact on neighbours.
This evidence can be in the form of:
- a diary with date, time and duration of barking recorded
- audio or video recordings
- an impact statement; or
- a combination of all three.
Before a Control (Barking Dog) Order is served, we must give the dog owner prior notice and consider any information they provide.
Timeframe: 2-4 weeks
When a dog owner has been served an Order and been directed to engage a dog behaviourist, we will check that this action has been taken.
Timeframe: Engaging a behaviourist and completing mandated training may take between 1-2 months.
If unreasonable barking continues after an Order has been served, further evidence will be gathered of the breach, including how often, how long and what impact it's having on neighbours.
Again, this evidence can be in the form of:
- a diary with date, time and duration of barking recorded,
- audio or video recordings.
The evidence is best documented in a statement that can be tabled in court. Guidance on documenting the barking and its impact can be taken from our example impact statement(DOCX, 22KB)
If the dog owner fails to meet the requirements of the Control (Barking Dog) Order:
- an expiation notice may be issued for breaching the Order; and/or
- prosecution may be initiated through the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) which can lead to strict controls being imposed on the dog, and/or temporary or permanent removal of the dog.
Estimated time: Briefing a matter before the court for prosecution or court ordered directions may take 12-18 months.
The issue is resolved once persistent barking has been addressed and the barking no longer persistently interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of a person.
Once the barking issue is resolved an acknowledgement letter will be sent to the owner and neighbours, and the report will be closed.
If nuisance barking recommences we will re-open the report starting at the relevant stage.
The Dog and Cat Management Act provides for civil action against a dog owner. Any person can take civil action; however this course of action can only be initiated by the complainant and not the City of Onkaparinga.
Mediation can help to resolve conflict and disputes at an early stage, with a view to avoiding the expense and stress of drawn-out legal proceedings. Contact Uniting Communities Mediation Service on 8342 1800 or visit www.unitingcommunities.org/mediation