Wellington Shire Council actively promotes responsible pet ownership, and responds to public requests regarding domestic animal and livestock matters.
Council is required to meet a number of obligations relating to animal management under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
These responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
Dogs that bark excessively can become a source of irritation for neighbours and others using the local environment. Barking is a natural dog behaviour and some level of barking is deemed acceptable, however excessive barking can become intrusive and create friction between neighbours. One of the duties associated with responsible pet ownership is to ensure dogs do not annoy neighbours by barking excessively.
Before reporting a dog that barks loudly and frequently, Council suggests contacting the dog's owner. By approaching the dog's owner in a polite manner and discussing your concerns you can often resolve the issue as:
Barking is a natural behaviour for dogs; it is one of the ways they communicate. Excessive barking, however, may be a sign that something is wrong. The first step in solving the problem is to determine why the dog is barking. The following list provides some of the common reasons why a dog may bark:
Dogs also bark to alert or warn their owners of something they think might be a threat. This could include barking at animals, the postman, strange noises, or the movement of people or vehicles outside the property.
While it is acceptable for a dog to bark to warn its owners for an intruder, it is the owner's responsibility to train the dog not to bark at normal occurrences such as possums, dogs and cats.
Excessive barking at normal movement/noises from adjoining properties is considered unacceptable behaviour.
You should first attempt to discuss the issue with your neighbours prior to lodging a complaint with Council. In most cases, a solution can be found between neighbours through communication.
Neighbours can assist in solving barking dog problems by communicating their concerns and helping identify reasons for excessive barking.
Try the following steps to attempt to resolve the issue in a neighbourly manner:
If communicating with your neighbour has failed, you may now start the process of lodging an official complaint with Council by completing a Barking Dog Complaint Form or contacting Council's Local Laws Department.
In order for the Local Laws team to investigate a barking dog complaint you will need to:
On receipt of a barking dog complaint, Council will appoint an Authorised Officer who will:
Council may issue an infringement notice if the dog's owners fails to comply with the notice to abate the nuisance and to proceed with legal action against the dog owner in the Magistrates Court.
*Legal action will not be taken against the dog owner unless the complainant is prepared to testify in the Magistrates Court.
If you wish to investigate civil action please contact the Disputes Settlement Centre of Victoria.
Some simple tips to reduce dog barking:
If it is not clear what is causing the barking, you can consult your vet. If the vet cannot resolve the issue, try an animal behaviour specialist or a dog training organisation.
Firstly, you need to try and establish if the cat is domestic (has an owner) or if it is a stray/ownerless cat.
For stray or timid cats you may hire a cat trap from us by contacting Council. Cat traps require a $67.00 deposit (refunded when trap is returned in good condition).
Wellington Shire Council is not legislatively authorised to deal with issues relating to wildlife.
For enquiries regarding wildlife (eg. snakes, birds, possums etc.) please visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.
In Victoria, the Domestic Animals Act 1994 defines Domestic Animal Businesses as any of the following:
All domestic animal businesses operating in Wellington Shire must be registered annually and comply with the appropriate mandatory Code of Practice. This includes annual inspection of the facilities prior to registration each year.
Further information regarding Domestic Animal Businesses can be found on the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources website. If you would like to discuss registering as a domestic animal business, please contact us.