Man’s best friend or a neighbour’s worst nightmare?
The answer can depend if there is a dog in the vicinity who barks incessantly.
Port Stephens Council has opened its proposed revised Dog Noise Policy for public consultation.
In changing the Legislative Act that dog noise is categorised, the draft policy recommends that only one barking dog diary is required, rather than the current three which has proved to be onerous for residents claiming to be impacted by the noise.
The one diary requirement will, from the Council’s perspective, enable Rangers to act more quickly and decisively about issues.
If your dog is a barker, there are strategies you can take as a responsible owner, to discourage your hound from barking and disturbing the peace for surrounding residents.
The RSPCA has a list of recommendations to assist owners to curb their dog’s barking.
Consulting with your local Vet is a good starting place, as they are likely to know you and your dog.
The RSPCA suggests that training should be based on a reward, rather than punishment, system.
Using this method, dogs are rewarded for good behaviour and unwanted behaviour is largely ignored.
Long term resident, Barb Winkleman, has had enough of her neighbour’s bad behaviour, telling Medowie News Of The Area, “We have two small dogs inside that will bark if tormented and our neighbour purposely bangs the lid against the tin fence to torment our dogs.”
“I informed Council that I will not pay any noise complaint fine because our dogs are tormented.”
With the consultation time closing in just over two weeks, Medowie and Williamtown residents are urged to have their say on the proposed policy.
Of course, the fact remains, that a policy is only as good as its enforcement.
Local residents impacted by incessantly barking dogs will have to see whether or not Rangers can, or will, enforce the policy through issuing a noise abatement order as written in the draft policy.
Written submissions to Council close Thursday, 15 December 2016 at 5pm.
By Heather SHARP