Dealing with barking dogs

Find out what to do if your neighbour’s dog is barking and causing you concern.

Contact the owner directly

Try speaking with your neighbour first. Your neighbour may not realise the barking is an issue. They may also not be aware that their dog is barking when they're not home.

If you find approaching your neighbour directly too confronting, you can send them a letter. We've created a friendly letter template to help you with the process.

Download a courtesy letter template(DOCX, 61KB).

By raising the issue with them first, you are more likely to maintain a good relationship.

You may find your neighbour genuinely wants to resolve the problem. In most cases, barking can be effectively controlled. Understanding why a dog is barking can help to find the best solution. The dog may be dealing with separation anxiety or other issues.

For more information, visit Animal Welfare Victoria or RSPCA.

If your neighbour doesn't want to resolve the issue, you can contact the Disputes Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV). The DSCV is a free service providing practical solutions to resolve disputes in the community without the need for expensive legal action. In certain cases, this may include mediation between disputing parties.

Report the concern to Council

If you were unable to resolve the issue with your neighbour, you can report your concern online.

You will need to provide:

  • your contact details
  • the location of the issue
  • brief description of the problem.

Report a barking dog

If you're unable to report your concern online, call our Customer Service Centre on 03 8290 1333.

Our Animal Management team will investigate the issue and contact you within 10 business days with a response.

How your concern is handled

An Animal Management Officer will speak to your neighbour about the issue and provide advice on how they can best resolve the issue.

Most barking dog issues are resolved at this stage. If not, we will begin a process of collecting evidence.

Officers will provide you with a barking dog diary to record the date, times and duration of the barking. When you have completed and return the diary to Council, the Officer may:

  • attend the property to observe barking
  • revisit the owner to discuss the issue further
  • issue a Notice to Comply
  • issue an infringement notice.

We may take the matter to court if:

  • all other attempts to resolve the issue have failed
  • the complainant is prepared to go to court
  • appropriate evidence has been obtained to take the matter to court
  • evidence you give may be subjected to cross-examination.

A court may issue a fine and orders with specific requirements to address the issue. If the owner fails to meet the requirements of the order, they may be found in contempt of the court order, which carries significant penalties.

Council will not get involved in a domestic dispute between you and your neighbour. If this occurs, you will need to take your own legal action.