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Animals
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Nuisance pets and animals

You can discuss nuisance pet and animals issues our friendly Customer Service team on 5320 5500 or info@ballarat.vic.gov.au.

Image of dog smiling

What can I do about a nuisance dog in my neighbourhood?

If a dog barking is causing a nuisance, we can investigate to and help achieve a resolution. Nuisance barking complaints are investigated by our Animal Management Officers (AMO) with your help.

While it is not an offence for dogs to bark, it is an offence for dogs to cause a nuisance.

Talk to your neighbour as early as possible, they may not know there is a problem and may be more than happy to make changes. If this is unsuccessful, contact us for advice about resolving the problem. 

Download a copy of the noise complaint diary and start keeping the seven-day noise diary. Our AMOs will use this as part of their investigation. Our AMOs use information from the dog owner, the resident/s being impacted by the noise, along with surrounding residents to make sure our investigations are balanced and fair.

You may need to keep more than one diary during our investigations. If you wish to make a complaint, you must be willing to give evidence in court to support your complaint if the complaint needs to go before a magistrate.

Our aim is to resolve the nuisance so that everyone can enjoy the peace and quiet of their residence as soon as possible. There may be times when a matter can’t be resolved quickly and needs to go before a magistrate. The person/s being upset by the dog will need to give evidence and the dog owner could be ordered to remove the dog, receive a punitive penalty, or both.

How can I make sure my dog is not annoying the neighbours?

Basic health and welfare
Make sure there is adequate food, water, shelter, yard space, exercise, and companionship for the dog.

Keep things interesting
Have plenty of chew toys for your dog to play with. Raw bones, toys, chew ropes provide good mental stimulation.

Daily exercise
Dogs need daily exercise. A walk each day is essential for good health and good behaviour. A ten-minute walk twice a day will help as a walk past two or three houses gives a great variety of new smells to look forward to.

Larger dogs such as cattle dogs, border collies, and kelpies need more exercise than other dogs. Vigorous runs at an off-leash area help reduce problem barking.

Daily training
Training can be done easily at home. Teaching the dog to come, sit, and stay will help give good boundaries for your pet. You can also contact dog obedience clubs for more formal and intense training. 

My dog is barking, what can I do?

Our AMOs can work with you and give suggestions about any behavioural issues your dog/s may be expressing or give you tools that you can use as a responsible pet owner.

There are many reasons your dog may bark, including: boredom, being lonely or wanting attention, warning that others are in the area or passing the house, your dog may not be feeling well or you may be hearing a dog being mistreated, separation anxiety, or howling in response to other dogs, sirens or other noises in the area.

You can find out more about what dog barks might sound like in our barking dog fact sheet.

Identify triggers
Once you’ve found the barking triggers, they can be reduced or removed. Try using a video or sound recording to see if roaming cats or strange noises are annoying your dog.

Sight barriers
Providing a barrier to a busy street can sometimes remove the dog's need to try to control the situation. Sometimes a doggy door for the dog to retreat inside solves the problem.

Pet minding service
Ask a neighbour to check on your dog through the day or employ someone to walk or play with them.

Aboistop (anti-barking citronella collars)
These work by distracting or discouraging the dog from barking. They are not a permanent solution and can induce fearful behaviour in some dogs.

Pet behaviour counsellor
Someone outside the situation can offer workable solutions. Your local vet can recommend a counsellor.

Avoid getting a companion dog
Until you have controlled the first dog's problem, a second dog will often add to the problem e.g. two barking dogs.
 

What will we do once a complaint is made?

Our Animal Management team will:

  • Give you a noise diary to log dates, times and duration of barking. These investigations cannot proceed without your help.
  • Contact the dog owner and advise them of the complaint without identifying complainant.
  • May do a door knock of the neighbourhood to confirm the effects on others in the neighbourhood after receiving the noise dairy.
  • Officers will discuss solutions with dog owners and let them know about their responsibilities.
  • If enough evidence is gathered which confirms a nuisance and no solution is being put in place by the dog owner, then the matter may be brought before the courts.

What if Council can’t help or I don’t want to go to court?

There is limited help we can give if you are not willing to go to court as your evidence is what we rely on and without that, we cannot proceed.

You can discuss your issue with the Dispute Settlement Centre or talk to your neighbour. You can use the Barking Dogs Fact Sheet to help your neighbour with their barking dog.

What other legal remedies area available?

The Department of Justice funds a free dispute settlement service. This service uses mediation as a way of settling neighbourhood disputes without expensive legal action. It is a private and free service.

You can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria on 4301 7000 or dscv@justice.vic.gov.au.

What does the law say about barking dogs?

Section 32 of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 states a dog or cat be a nuisance if: 

  • it injures or endangers the health or any person or if it creates a noise, by barking or otherwise, which persistently occurs, or
  • continues to such a degree or extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises.

There is a rooster near me, what can I do?

If you are in an urban residential area, your neighbour is not allowed to have a rooster. If it is causing you a nuisance, you can call us on 5320 5500 and our AMOs can speak to the owner about rehoming the rooster or surrendering it and we can find it a new home.

A cat keeps coming into my yard, how can I stop it?

If you know where the cat is coming from, as a first step, you can speak to the cat owner about your concerns.

Here are some tips for your neighbour about keeping their cat inside their property:

  • cat proof fencing (net barrier, pvc piping on top of fence)
  • cat enclosure
  • keep cats indoors 

Or check out The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning for more detailed information.

You can also hire a cat trap from the Ballarat Animal Shelter (you will need to place a refundable deposit) and return it when the cat has been trapped securely.

The City of Ballarat has a cat curfew which means that cats must be confined to their property between sunset and sunrise. You can find out more about cats and our cat curfew on our responsible pet ownership page.

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