Report animal-related issues

Barking dogs

Kempsey Shire Council receives many barking dog complaints every year. A constantly barking dog can be a source of irritation and can create conflict between neighbours. 

Is the barking a nuisance behaviour?

Dogs bark for many reasons. However, nuisance barking is different from normal dog behaviour. Nuisance barking occurs when:

  • the dog takes a long time to settle after the barking begins (more than five minutes or at regular intervals), or
  • the dog barks for prolonged periods, particularly during the night or early hours of the morning

What can I do if a dog barks persistently when its owner is away?

Most barking dog complaints can be resolved simply by making the owner aware that the problem exists. An owner who is absent for long periods may not be aware the dog is barking constantly. Once informed, an owner can take action to fix the problem. You should tell the owner of the dog that the dog is barking and how the barking is affecting you.

What can I do if my dog constantly barks?

If your dog’s barking is a problem, you can:

  • seek advice from a vet or dog trainer
  • exercise your dog daily
  • provide mental stimulation for your dog, such as toys
  • feed your dog in the evening so it is not hungry throughout the night
  • provide shelter from the weather, such as a kennel or shed
  • give your dog companionship
  • get to know your dog’s barking triggers, such as storms and emergency sirens

What will Council do about a persistently barking dog?

You can report a persistently barking dog to Council. 

In the first instance, Council will send an information brochure on nuisance barking to the dog owner and the person making the complaint. The dog owner must be given time to implement strategies to overcome the barking problem.

If the situation does not improve after the initial customer request, Council will send a Noise Nuisance Diary to the person making the complaint, who can then record the dates, times, duration and details of how the barking is a nuisance to them. Following this, a Council Ranger may also survey other local residents to determine whether the barking is causing a public nuisance. 

If a genuine problem is found and the owner fails to take measures to resolve the problem, a Nuisance Order may be issued under the Companion Animals Act 1998 (NSW). If the owner fails to act on the order, they may receive a spot fine.

More information

Barking dogs factsheet(PDF, 84KB)

Dog attacks

A dog attack occurs when ‘a dog rushes at, attacks bites, harasses or chases any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal’ (section 16 of the Companion Animals Act 1998).

What to do if a dog attacks you or your dog

If you or another person has been injured in a dog attack, you should seek medical attention urgently. Call 000 for ambulance and police attendance if a person has received life-threatening injuries.

If an animal has been injured, you should transport it to your nearest vet. Even minor wounds can easily become infected without immediate attention.

As soon as possible, report the incident to Council on 6566 3200. A ranger will contact you for an interview. You will need to briefly explain the incident and describe the attacking dog. It may be useful to write down these details straight after the attack to ensure you don’t forget.

Council will investigate complaints of attacks by:

  • confirming who owns the dog
  • speaking to any witnesses who can describe the incident and the attacking dog

As a result of an attack, Council can declare a dog menacing or dangerous. If this occurs, the dog’s owner must take certain actions to control the dog.

More information

Guide to dog attacks factsheet(PDF, 50KB)

Penalties

Below are examples of common offences under the Companion Animals Act 1998 and their associated penalties or fines.

 

Offence

On-the-spot penalty

Local Court penalty

Dog attack

Minimum penalty: $1,320

Maximum penalty: $11,000 – $77,000

Dog in a prohibited place

Minimum penalty: $330 – $1,760

Maximum penalty: $1,100 – $11,000

Dog not on a lead

Minimum penalty: $330 – $1,760

Maximum penalty: $1,100 – $11,000

Animal not permanently identified (microchipped)

Minimum penalty: $180 – $1,320

Maximum penalty: $880 – $5,500

Animal not registered

Minimum penalty: $330 – $1,320

Maximum penalty: $5,500 - $7,700

Dog without a collar and name tag

Minimum penalty: $180 – $1,320

Maximum penalty: $880 – $5,500

Fail to remove dog faeces

Minimum penalty: $275

Maximum penalty: $880

 

Nuisance cats and other animals

If you have a complaint about an animal such as a cat, you should talk to the owner and try to find an acceptable solution. 

You can also contact Kempsey Shire Council for advice on 6566 3200. Council has cat traps available for use in some circumstances.