If you have a complaint about a nuisance animal, first try talking to the owner. If you are not comfortable doing this or cannot agree on a solution with them, contact your local council. Encourage any neighbours with the same concerns to also contact the council.

If the council has had multiple complaints and/or identifies a serious or ongoing problem, it may issue a nuisance order. This requires the animal’s owner to prevent the behaviour specified in the order. Penalties may apply if the owner does not comply.

Under the Companion Animals Act 1998: a ‘nuisance dog’:

  • consistently roams
  • makes persistent, excessive noise
  • endangers the health of a person or animal (other than vermin)
  • repeatedly:
    • defecates on private property
    • runs at or chases a person, animal (other than vermin) or vehicle
    • causes substantial damage to anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept.

A ‘nuisance cat’:

  • makes persistent, excessive noise, or
  • repeatedly damages anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept.

If you suspect an animal is being mistreated, report it to the RSPCA or local police.

Dealing with a barking dog

Barking is one of the ways dogs communicate. Sometimes they bark because they’re:

  • chained up or kept in an area that’s too small
  • not getting enough exercise or stimulation
  • reacting to people or other dogs
  • hungry, thirsty or sick
  • provoked, neglected or abused.

If you’re concerned about the excessive barking of a dog, talk to the owner about it. They might not know their dog is bothering you.

If you have reported the barking to your local council but it continues, there are other ways to resolve the issue:

Last updated: 1 July 2024

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