- Pets and Animals
- Community Development
- Community Investment
Council receives a number of complaints from members of the public for several types of nuisances including;
- Noise from animals
- Roaming animals
- Dogs off leash
- Excessive numbers of animals being kept on a property.
Council advocates neighbours talking with each other where an animal is causing a nuisance, we do understand however that this may be difficult.
Before making a complaint to Council you should consider:
- Can I talk to my neighbour about the nuisance?
- Can I write them a note about the nuisance?
- Is anything that I am doing triggering the animal to cause the nuisance (i.e. a cat walking on the fence making a neighbour's dog bark) and can I modify the surroundings to prevent the nuisance?
If you have taken steps to resolve the problem and have been unsuccessful, Council may become involved.
Nuisance complaints escalate depending on the circumstances of the complaint, Council generally follows the below process:
1st complaint - Letter sent to the alleged animal owner and complainant acknowledging the complaint. If it is a noise nuisance, the complainant will receive an Animal Noise Nuisance Kit and Diary along with their letter. The complainant is to complete and return to Council in order to progress to the 2nd complaint process.
2nd complaint - An officer will liaise with both parties and investigate further.
3rd complaint - An officer will undertake a survey of the surrounding area to determine if other residents are being affected.
Depending on the circumstances an abatement notice may be issued, this notice requires the owner to take action to prevent the nuisance.
Barking is normal behaviour for dogs, but excessive barking can become annoying for neighbours and the community. Barking is one of the most common dog behavioural problems Gladstone Regional Council is asked to act upon. The owner/responsible person is obligated to restrict their dog from causing a barking nuisance. Council encourages pet owners to identify and address their dog's excessive barking before it results in an official complaint. There are many reasons why an animal may be barking, including:
- Contact seeking – Dogs can be very vocal animals as barking and howling is the way in which they communicate
- Boredom – Walking your dog keeps you and your dog fit. The amount of exercise required depends on the breed or size of the dog. Also, being left out for long periods of time can cause frustration and boredom. As with all friendships, the success of a relationship between dogs and their owners depends on finding time to spend together
- Separation anxiety – The animal may be very dependent on other animals or humans; when taken away the animal may become stressed
- Excitement – Something nearby increases the dog's state of arousal
- Territorial defence – Your animal may become very protective of your property which sometimes portrays the animal as being aggressive when people and other animals walk past
- Fear or physical discomfort – Your dog may suffer from fleas, worms or other diseases that may cause discomfort and be the cause of barking and whining. Examine dogs regularly and seek veterinary attention if necessary
- Lack of training – Your dog will accept kind but firm discipline. Take it to obedience training before it develops bad barking habits.
All possible steps should be taken to minimise the nuisance being caused. Assess the situation; determine what the main cause is and how to reduce this.
A good start is to ask your neighbours if the dog is barking while you are not at home. The neighbours may be able to give you more information in relation to how often and when the dog is barking and what it may be barking at.
If minimal steps are not taken to stop the animal from barking, and the alleged barking nuisance is proven to be a breach of Council's Local Law, you may be subject to an on the spot fine.
One method of control is through the use of anti-barking collars. These antibarking collars are not endorsed by Council, and Council recommends dog owners seek professional veterinary advice to address excessive dog barking in their pet dogs.
Council has provided information to help neighbours with barking dog issues. The fact sheets below provide information for the dog owner and for neighbours on why the dog may be barking and some recommendations on how to reduce the barking.
If your dog is barking excessively, you can try
- Filling in gaps and cracks in the fence
- Blocking the dog's view of people passing by
- Keeping the dog inside or in an enclosed area if the dog barks at regular disturbances such as rubbish trucks.
If the owner of the dog agrees to do something about the barking, wait a few weeks to see if they have been successful in their efforts. Your support and ongoing feedback about the dog's behaviours can assist the dog owner to resolve the problem.
If you are not comfortable approaching the owner when the dog barks excessively, or if the dog continues to bark after the owner has had time to resolve the problem, you can report the issue to Council. If you have the exact location details of the dog, including house number and street, you can contact Council.
A lot of complaints are received from persons about wandering animals impacting on their lifestyle. Dogs are required to be kept in a sufficient fence or enclosure and restrained on a lead at all times when taken for a walk on Council footpaths or land. A dog found wandering may be rescued and only released after payment of release fees as set by are paid in full.
As well as animals found wandering on Council property, property owners can impound dogs found wandering on their own properties. Stray animals must be restrained by the finder of the animal and then contact made with Council to arrange the return of the animal to its owner OR collection for impoundment.
Cats must also be controlled so as not to cause a nuisance on other people's property. Traps are available for hire subject to strict guidelines upon request to Council. Every effort will be made not to issue traps to neighbours known to be vindictive. Detention by Council officers will only occur upon complaint and there will be no established street patrol.
Dogs must be on a leash at all times when being walked in public, it is an offence for a dog to be in public and not be on a leash. This is as per the Subordinate Local Law No.2 (Animal Management) 2011 which outlines the only places in the Gladstone Region where dogs are allowed to be off leash within the Region.
Owners must remember though that when their dog is not on a leash and is in an approved 'dog of leash' area then the following rules apply:
- Dog is under your control (for example, your dog will return to you when called)
- Dog is not a nuisance to other dogs and their owners
- Dog's droppings are disposed of in the bins provided
- Dog is registered with Council, wormed regularly, and its vaccinations are up to date.
- Pets and Animals
- Community Development
- Community Investment