Dogs bark naturally, but the constant barking or whining of a dog can be very disturbing or annoying for your neighbours. This problem often occurs when you are out of the house so you may not realise that there is a problem. In law, a barking dog can be a 'statutory noise nuisance'. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 you (as the owner) could be taken to court if you do nothing to stop the nuisance. This could lead to a fine of up to £5,000.
Complaining about a nuisance dog
To complain about a barking dog please complete the Noise complaint form. You will need to give your address and the address that the noise is coming from. After you have complained you will be sent a diary to record incidences of dog noise - usually for 2-3 weeks. If you do not keep the diary up-to-date with nuisance incidences the council will be unable to take your complaint further, as it is required for evidence purposes.
At the same time that we send the diary to you, we also send a letter to the address where it is alleged the dog is kept. This explains the possible legal implications and gives the owner of the dog a chance to solve the problem without the council becoming involved.
If the barking diary is returned, and it indicates that there is is a possible statutory noise nuisance, we will carry out an independent investigation. We will do some monitoring visits around the problem times indicated by the diary. If our monitoring confirms that there is a statutory nuisance then we will take the appropriate action to resolve the problem. Where possible we prefer to work with the dog owner to solve the problem without taking legal action which we see as the last resort.
What happens if I don't think it is my dog barking?
If we write to you regarding a barking dog but you believe the complaint refers to someone else's dog you should contact us on 01832 742263. Your comments will be recorded although the investigation will continue. It may be be a good idea to ask your neighbours if your dog causes a problem. You could try returning to your house unexpectedly and see if you can hear your dog barking.
Things you can try to reduce barking
- You could try a food ball or a kong. These help to combat boredom as the dog is occupied and distracted by trying to get at the food you put inside them.
- Ask a friend or relative to check on the dog.
- Leave a TV or radio on to mask other noises and provide a soothing distraction.
- Consider putting the dog into kennels while you are at work or using a dog walking service
- There are lots of articles online about how to reduce separation anxiety that may cause your dog to bark. However, it takes patience and persistence
- Think about whether your lifestyle is really suited to dog ownership