- Firstly, we encourage all neighbours to either discuss the situation with the dog owner or seek mediation as the first step in a barking dog situation. Seeking mediation can assist with neighbourly relations and can often lead to a suitable resolution for both parties. The Dispute Settlement Centre can be contacted via telephone on (03) 5858 7653 and is located at 307-331 Wyndham Street Shepparton.
- If a complaint is lodged with Council, a Council Community Ranger, as an authorised officer, will approach the dog owner and advise the dog owner that Council has received a complaint regarding their dog's barking. For this to occur, it is important to provide as much information about when and why the dog is barking.
- Once Council Officers have spoken to the dog owner and you have attended mediation through the Dispute Settlement Centre, this process will have hopefully resolved the issue while maintaining neighbourly relations. However, if there has been no resolution found that may assist to resolve the situation, the Dispute Settlement Centre will provide a No Resolution letter to you. A copy of this letter is required to be provided to Council to continue with the Barking Dog Complaint Process.
- Once a No Resolution letter has been provided to Council, barking dog diaries will be issued. Council requires that at least two independent neighbours at properties in close proximity to the dogs complete barking dog diaries over the same time frame for a minimum period of 5 days. Each neighbour must be willing to provide a statement and give evidence in the Magistrates Court if required. Further signatures from surrounding neighbours can also be obtained as evidence that the dogs are causing a nuisance.
- Once the diaries have been completed, the diaries need to be submitted to Council promptly for review by an authorised officer.
- A Community Ranger will then review all diaries. The information recorded in the diaries, allows the authorised officer to discuss the possible triggers of the dogs barking with the dogs owner, thus enabling Rangers to work with the dog's owners to implement strategies to minimise episodes of barking.
- After contacting the dog owner to discuss the situation, if the Community Ranger determines that the evidence provided is sufficient to prove that the barking dog is causing a nuisance and is excessive compared to a regular dog, the officer may issue a Notice to Comply to reduce the barking. The Notice to Comply will indicate a time frame which allows time for the dog owner to take remedial action to reduce the noise.
- At the expiry of the Notice to Comply, further diaries will be required to be completed by the same neighbours as previous to determine if the nuisance has been abated. Depending on the results of these diaries, Officers will determine the next course of action.
Should you require any additional information regarding Councils Barking Dog process please contact Council offices on (03) 5832 9700.