DOG LAW REFORM
Submission to the Government during its
Review of the Dog Control Act 2000
TOPIC: Barking – Nuisance or Assault?
All legislation refers to the main objectionable noise from dogs as Nuisance Barking. Innumerable
persons distressed by this invasive and distressing din regard it more as an illicit assault than a
The Paper Noxious Barking elaborates further:
It is long overdue that many behavioural characteristics of dogs be recognised as assaultive on
the human senses. In particular it must become more commonly realised that the barking of any
dog, when it adversely impacts on any person anywhere and especially within his own home, is
not only invasive but also assaultive.
It may be submitted that no assault occurs. Those on the receiving end know full well that they
are being assaulted by noise; but can noise really assault anyone?
One legal definition of assault is the intentional use of force, however slight. The physical
impact of noise can be measured and is defined - so it is indeed a force.
As many owners keep dogs just so they will indeed bark, then the audible assaults these animals
generate are indeed intentional. The sooner such barking is defined as an assault the better.
With such barking legally defined as a noise assault it can be quite properly expected that all
enforcement authorities will treat the matter of noxious barking much more seriously than they
The almost claustrophobic conditions of suburbia where most of us live, in a proximity that’s
rather too close for proper privacy and comfort but which is tolerated for the enormous social
and economic advantages of it, require from each of us an awesome regard for our neighbours’
rights, particularly regarding noise pollution from any source.
There are people resting or trying to sleep, there are the sick already suffering, there are the
disabled confined to home and hardly able to escape invasive distress of any kind, there are
numerous decent workers trying hard to support their families and who very much need their
deserved rest to safely and properly perform society’s tasks the next day, there are students
and thinkers trying to study, there are those trying to hear the TV, the radio, music, or
converse on the telephone or to each other, and there are many who just want to go about
their domestic chores without any invasive harassments of any kind.
With the huge preponderance of noise complaints being about noxious barking, the primary focus
for community relief must be directed at this source of grief for so many.
1.That the term Noise Assault be used in references to any distressing dog noise and the term
Nuisance Barking be dropped altogether.