Barking dogs in a body corporate

Barking dogs in a body corporate

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The joys of pets can sometimes be accompanied by the challenge of barking dogs.  In a body corporate, where neighbours share spaces, it’s crucial to maintain harmony and respect.

In this article, we cover how to manage barking dogs in a body corporate, as well as your responsibilities as a pet owner.

Understanding your responsibilities as a pet owner

Excessive barking in a body corporate

Under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (BCCM Act), pet owners are responsible for ensuring their pets do not disturb others. 

The definition of excessive barking in a body corporate can vary slightly depending on the specific bylaws, however, generally speaking, excessive barking refers to continuous or repetitive barking that goes on for an extended period and causes a significant disturbance to other residents.  

It typically implies barking that occurs frequently, loudly, and for an unreasonable duration. The specific guidelines and thresholds for what constitutes excessive barking can be outlined in the body corporate’s by-laws or the applicable local council regulations. It’s important for dog owners to be aware of these rules and take measures to address and mitigate excessive barking to ensure a peaceful and harmonious living environment for everyone in the community. 

Understanding your responsibilities as a pet owner

When faced with excessive barking in a body corporate community, residents typically have certain rights and avenues to address the issue, however, it is often best to start with a friendly and informal conversation with the pet owner.

Communicate with the owner: Approach the dog owner in a friendly and respectful manner to discuss the issue. They may not be aware of the extent of the problem or the impact it has on others. Explain the situation, express your concerns, and request their cooperation in finding a solution.

Document the incidents: Keep a record of the excessive barking, noting the date, time, and duration of each occurrence. This documentation can be useful if you need to escalate the issue or provide evidence to the body corporate or local council.

Notify the body corporate: If the barking continues and causes ongoing disruption, report the issue to the body corporate. Depending on the nature and severity of the nuisance they may choose to issue a breach notice to the pet owner, informing them of the specific bylaw and requesting compliance within a specified timeframe.

Involve the local council: If the excessive barking persists despite efforts to resolve the issue internally, residents can also report the matter to the local council. Each council will have its own procedures, but they can investigate and enforce local noise regulations and if necessary, issue warnings or fines to the dog owner.

Remember to approach the situation with empathy and understanding, as it is possible that the dog owner may be unaware of the impact their dog’s barking has on others. Open communication, collaboration, and adherence to body corporate bylaws will help promote a harmonious living environment for all residents.

Non-compliance with a breach notice

If the pet owner does not comply with the breach notice, and the barking persists, the situation may be escalated.

Again, depending on the nature and severity of the disruption, a contravention notice might be served, or legal proceedings may be initiated through the magistrates’ court or the Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM) dispute resolution service. Read more about this process in our article on dealing with a by-law breach.

In summary

In summary, barking dogs have the potential to disrupt the peace and harmony within the body corporate. Residents have the right to report excessive barking, and it is essential for dog owners to address the issue responsibly.

By following the bylaws, engaging in open communication, and seeking mediation, if necessary, a resolution can often be reached to mitigate the problem. However, in cases where the nuisance persists, the body corporate may act by issuing a breach notice, ensuring compliance with the rules and a peaceful living environment for all residents.

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