IT'S 2am and your neighbour's dog has not stopped barking since you got home. It's the third night in a row and it's not getting any better. So what do you do?
The answer depends on which council area you live in.
Complaints to local councils about barking dogs are common and each council has its own procedures for managing the complaints.
The first step is discussing the problem with the dog owner. He or she may not be aware their dog is barking, particularly if it only barks when they are away.
WHY DOGS BARK:
- They're chained to a fixed point and don't have enough room to move around
- Are provoked by people or other roaming animals
- Don't get enough exercise
- Are not properly trained
- May suffer from separation anxiety
- Lonely, sick, hungry, or generally neglected
SOURCE: Ballina Shire Council
In most cases, owners will want to do the right thing and co-operate.
If discussing the problem with the dog's owner fails, the next step is usually to lodge a formal written complaint with your local council.
Some councils may require more than one written complaint, so it might be worth talking to your neighbours to see if they share your concerns.
You may also be required to keep a log book of the dog's barking.
The council may then investigate the complaint and issue a nuisance order requiring the owner to prevent the dog barking.
If the problem persists, council may issue fines.
The maximum penalty for failing to comply with a nuisance order is $880 for a first offence and $1650 for further offences.
Readers share struggles with neighbour's noisy dogs
FACEBOOK readers have expressed their concern and annoyance over the constant barking of some dogs in the region.
One Northern Star Facebook reader asked: "What about people that let their dogs bark all hours of the night and too lazy to tell (them) to shut up keeping everyone else in the neighbourhood up listening to them, they should be fined!"
This question sparked a barrage of responses.
Carol Davey, Tony Martin, Wendy Dahlene Johnson, Catherine Roche and Michael Satin were among those who all said 'yes', the owners of constantly barking dogs should be fined.
Danielle Aafjes agreed people should be fined.
"If their dog or child is yelling or barking all day there is a fault with the owner or parent," she said.
Haley Caccianiga said she had neighbours that worked day and night and had four dogs that "barked 24/7."
"They were never home; I don't know why they bothered owning these dogs!"
Karen Grainger then gave some advice: "They can't correct the behaviour if they don't know. Slip a note in their letterbox."
Others were more concerned with the reasons why a dog may be barking.
Catherine Lucy Buckland said: "Dogs that are well fed, looked after and who are not bored being locked up all day are less likely to bark. But if they are locked up all day with no stimulation - or even worse, chained up all day - will bark hysterically (and) should be monitored. If people don't care for their dogs - it's a matter for the RSPCA."