Last updated: August 21, 2023 at 9:01 am
Dogs are fantastic pets, and they can really help to make a house feel like a home. But, for any number of reasons, sometimes dogs can start to bark quite a lot. They may do this when you’re at home, or when you’re away, and may even do it at night when you’re fast asleep. For those who live nearby said barking dogs, the noise can be incredibly disruptive.
Has someone in your neighbourhood got a dog that seems to bark excessively? Are you kept up at night or stopped from relaxing by the noise of constant barking? Then you might be wondering how to submit a dog barking noise complaint.
IN THIS ARTICLE
Why Do Dogs Bark?
The first thing that is important to know is why exactly the dog might be barking in the first place. Sometimes, this can help you to sympathise with the animal and make the occasional dog barking sound forgivable.
Dogs bark for several reasons. They might be trying to express their feelings, such as excitement, anger, or fear. Sometimes, dogs bark because they want something; often this is something like wanting to be let back indoors, or a drink, or some food – or even the local pesky cat that has strolled past on the fence.
A dog may bark when left alone. Some dogs experience separation anxiety, and this can make them prone to excessive barking out of stress. You may also notice that puppies, or new dogs in a household bark more as they are not yet trained.
Now, none of those reasons make it any easier for neighbours to live their lives, but it is always useful to know. It may help in your conversations later should you decide to speak to the owner, and, as mentioned, may help you to understand.
Steps to Make a Dog Barking Complaint
If a dog’s barking is just too much, then it is time to do something about it. You should be able to live in your home free from noise intrusion. When you decide you’re ready to act over a noisy canine, here’s what to do.
1. Speak to the Owner
As with almost any noise complaint, the first thing you should do is speak to your neighbour. When it comes to dog barking noise complaints, you will often find that your neighbour isn’t aware of the problem. This may be because they’re at work when it happens, asleep when it happens, or just doesn’t realise that the noise from their furry friend carries through the walls.
You may also be able to suggest to your neighbour that, especially if the dog has suddenly started barking, they take their pet to the vet for a general check-up. Sometimes, barking is how dogs let us know something is wrong!
You might be able to solve the problem by simply politely conversing with your neighbour. If, however, you try this and a few weeks later nothing has changed (and you can see that your neighbours are making no effort to change anything), then you can submit an official complaint.
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2. Contact Your Local Council
To submit an official complaint, you need to go to the government website and complain to your local council. Once they have received a complaint, the local authority is obligated to investigate it. They will provide your neighbour with an informal warning letter, and if no action is taken, that will progress into a Noise Abatement Notice or Community Protection Notice that your neighbour can appeal against.
If they break the Noise Abatement Notice (without having appealed it) they will then be subject to a Criminal Behaviour Order and an unlimited fine. The council may choose to use the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Punishment Act.
When is a Dog Barking Considered a Nuisance?
Plenty of people wonder at what point they’re ‘allowed’ to claim a dog barking as a nuisance. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that simple. There is no legal definition of a ‘nuisance’, it is simply a noise that is intrusive and irritating.
To define whether your neighbour’s dogs fit this, the local authority will consider whether they deem the noise to be disruptive and/or annoying, and will also consider the volume of the noise, how long it went on for each time, and, often most importantly, what time the barking occurs.
If your neighbour’s dog is barking for three hours every afternoon, but it’s intermittent and at a reasonable volume, you might find it is not considered too pesky. Alternatively, 3 hours of barking in the middle of the night is much more likely to be considered an intrusion.