Monday, 26 February 2024
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Nuisance Animals

Council receives numerous complaints about barking and nuisance cats and dogs.

Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, cat and dog owners must ensure pets are securely confined to their property. Pets found wandering/roaming or cats that have been trapped will be impounded by an Authorised Officer.

Barking dogs

Dogs that bark excessively can be a source of great irritation for surrounding neighbours. Dogs bark for a reason and there are many ways that excessive barking can be managed.

Before reporting a barking dog

Before reporting a dog that barks loudly and frequently, Council recommends contacting the owner. Discussing the issue in a polite and neighbourly manner can often resolve the issue, as:

  • They may not realise the barking is a nuisance to neighbours
  • They may not be home when the dog is barking
  • They may be a sound sleeper and does not hear the dog barking

Alternatively, if you are not comfortable speaking with your neighbour, you may provide them with the Dear Neighbour Letter contained in the step-by-step guide for dealing with barking dogs below.

Barking is a natural behaviour for communication, but excessive barking can indicate something further. Common reasons for barking include:

  • Boredom
  • Protecting territory e.g. response to other animals or people within or passing-by
  • Loneliness / separation anxiety from the owner
  • Strange noises
  • Fear e.g. fireworks, thunder, loud noises
  • Excitement
  • Habit
  • Hungry or thirsty
  • Lack of exercise

How do I report a barking dog?

In order for Council to investigate a barking dog complaint, you will need to:

  1. Identify exactly where the barking is coming from
  2. Record the barking occurrences in the ‘barking dog diary ‘over a period of 14 days
  3. Make a complaint to Council and inform us if you have spoken with your neighbour

If you do not provide Council with the barking dog diary, we may not be able to assist any further.  Council requires the diary containing the detailed information to determine the level of barking.

Report an issue to Council

What happens once I submit my report?

Once you have made your initial report to Council regarding the barking dog issue, an Authorised Officer from the Regulatory Service Department will make contact with the owner of the dog to make them aware that there has been a barking dog noise complaint.

Once the barking dog diary has been returned and submitted to Council, Officers will be able to undertake an investigation with the information provided by the complainant.

Nuisance cats

Cats may become a nuisance whether they are owned, semi-owned or stray and feral.

  • Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, Section 25 – all cats are required to be contained to their owner’s property at all times. Council does not have a cat curfew in place.
  • Cats can annoy neighbours by wandering onto their property, fighting, spraying, digging in their gardens and attacking and killing wildlife
  • Under the Community Local Law, you can only have two cats in a residential area
  • Owners of cats found causing a nuisance and trespassing continually may receive a fine
  • Roaming cats can get hit by cars, injured in fights, infected with diseases (e.g. cat flu) or not find their way home.
  • Handing and trapping of cats is undertaken in line with the Domestic Animals Act 1994 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986

Before reporting a nuisance cat problem

Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, it is an offence for a cat to remain on private property without permission and landowners or occupiers may trap cats (both owned and unowned) found trespassing on their property.

It is recommended to speak with your neighbour first, before contacting Council, to let them know about them problem. If the owner is unapproachable or you are not comfortable in speaking with them and the that cat is continuing to be a nuisance, you may report it to Council.

Request a cat trap

Owned or unowned cats found to be trespassing at any time may be trapped.

Cat traps are available for loan to assist residents in the control of nuisance and feral cats in their neighbourhood.

Request to loan a cat trap  Request to have cat trap collected

Wandering or roaming dogs

Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, dog owners must ensure their dog is securely confined to their property. This means that the dog is not able to escape from its yard or enclosure.

Wandering and roaming dogs may cause a nuisance to people in the community, who have a right to live without interference or risks from other people’s pets.

As a responsible pet owner you can ensure this by making sure the yard fencing is secure, reinforced so the dog cannot push it over and effective in containing dogs to your property.

Please be mindful that during thunderstorms and firework events, dogs can be quite startled and fearful. Please ensure you take extra precautions to secure your dog and keeping it calm during these events.

Risks of dogs roaming and wandering

If your dog is not securely confined and is able to roam and wander from your property it can leave both you as the owner and the dog at risk.

  • May cause an accident
  • May threaten person
  • May attack another animal or person
  • May be hit by a car

Should your dog attack or threaten another animal or person, Council may declare your dog as “Menacing” or “Dangerous” which comes with requirements for you to continue to keep your dog.

You should also be aware; farmers have the legal right to protect their livestock.   If your dog is found within a paddock containing livestock, your dog may be a risk of being put down.

I have found a wandering or roaming dog

If you have found a wandering or roaming dog, please contact the Regulatory Services Department on (03) 5036 2346 during office hours for collection and an Authorised Officer will attend when they are available.  If the dog is contained, it will make it easier for the Officer to collect it.

When you make your request, you will be asked information including:

  • Where you found the dog
  • Description of the dog (gender, breed, colour)
  • Any distinguishable features

What happens if my pet is impounded?

Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, cat and dog owners must ensure pets are securely confined to their property.  Pets found wandering/roaming or cats that have been trapped will be impounded by an Authorised Officer.

If your pet is currently registered with Council:

  • Authorised Officers will attempt to make contact with the owner to return the cat
  • If the owner is unable to be contacted, the cat may be impounded and pound release fees may apply

If your pet is not registered with Council but is microchipped:

  • The cat will be impounded
  • Authorised Officers will attempt to contact the registered owner on the microchip
  • Pound release and registration fee will apply before the cat can be released to the owner

If your pet is not registered with Council or microchipped:

All pets are required to be microchipped and registered before being released from the pound.

Please ensure that your pets microchip details are up-to-date with the applicable microchip database.

Report an issue to Council

If you have an issue you can report the issue through the Council website.

Report an issue to Council

Or you can contact Council by:

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