THE MAJORITY OF NOISE COMPLAINTS ARE BECAUSE OF BARKING

It is standard prectice for most owners to leave their dog unattended throughout the
day, a cruelty which is torture to a dog because of its congenital predisposition to
intensive socialisation.

This mindless cruelty is the main cause of neighbourhood barking as the trapped animal
howls and barks its frustration and its distress at the absence of its pack leader, the
inconsiderate, ignorant, uncaring owner.

The whines, howls, yips, squeals, woofs and other sounds of distress are what drives the
neighbours to complain to the local council for the restoration of peace, and in
particular, for their right to the recuperative benefits of sleep.

Upon receipt of a formal complaint on a single sheet of A4 paper, plus a Complaint Fee
which varies between councils, a council is required by law to investigate that
complaint.

If the complaint is believed to "have substance" then that fee is refunded in full,
otherwise it may be retained.

The manner in which a council conducts its investigation is up to the particular council.
Its Animal Control Officers (ACOs) will start to gather evidence which is expected to be
strong enough to hold up in court under every challenge.

Councils have traditionally found this task so tedious and fraught with the risk of failure
they they have devised tactics to evade duty.

One of their most dodgy tricks is to pretend that, after an "investigation," that there's
really no offence. They will even belittle or deny the complainant's legitimate barking
reports in order to extract themselves from the onerous task of monitoring the premises
for documentary evidence.

Anti-barking activists are unanimous in their condemnation of councils' habitual
demands that the complainant must keep a barking diary. This is not required by law
and its entries may be ridiculed and shot down in court should the offender challenge a
council's abatement notice or prosecution.

Tasmania's Dog Control Act 2000 provides our councils with unprecedented power to
solve barking complaints within a few hours.

Overwhelming power is allocated to councils through section 46 which allows
infringement notices for $200 to be issued merely on an ACO's
opinion that a barking
offence has occurred, and s73 which allows any ACO to enter the land containing the
dog and to remove it forthwith whether it is still barking or not.


Councils have no excuse whatever to let barking complaints remain unresolved for up to
six years as in a recent Hobart case where the offender was eventually penalised around
$50,000 over matters which his council could have resolved in a week.