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Nuisance Dogs

As a dog owner, you are responsible for the behaviour of your animals at all times and for any inconvenience their dogs may cause.

What is considered Nuisance?

A dog is considered a nuisance when it:

  • chases or runs at a person (whether or not the person is on foot or otherwise and whether or not there is a fence or other barrier between the person and the dog)
  • chases after a vehicle or an animal (other than in the course of droving, tending, working or protecting stock)
  • causes damage to anything outside the premises where the dog is usually kept.

Dealing with a barking dog in the neighbourhood

It is likely that the dog owner is not aware of the issue. The best way to deal with it is to make the owner aware of the situation before escalating it to a formal complaint with Council. The Dear Dog Owner letter is a friendly way to let the dog owner know their dog’s barking may be causing a nuisance.

If the issue continues, please feel free to contact the City of Darwin Pet Care Help Line

Reporting a Nuisance Dog

If you observe a dog causing a nuisance please report it to Council using our online form or on 08 8930 0600.

Complaint process for nuisance barking

We have an established process for dealing with complaints about nuisance dogs.

The procedure for dealing with nuisance dogs is as follows:

  1. When you report a nuisance dog, you will be asked to provide details about the nuisance.
  2. We will then call a Ranger to attend and investigate the nuisance complaint.
  3. An offence notice will be issued to the dog owner advising them of the nuisance allegations against their dog.
  4. After substantiating the complaint, the Council Ranger will provide the dog owner with self-help information and also offer the owner advice and assistance to help them reduce the nuisance.
  5. During the investigation our Ranger will contact you seeking updates on the nuisance. If the nuisance has ceased, the dog owner will be provided with feedback and encouraged to continue with the action they have taken.
  6. Should the nuisance complaint remain unresolved, the dog owner may be issued with an infringement notice or be prosecuted.


If, through carrying out an investigation, no nuisance behaviour is substantiated, a further investigation for that property will not be undertaken unless there is a significant change in circumstances. 

Should further nuisance complaints be received and found to be true, the dog owner may receive a 'show cause' letter on the dog's registration. A 'show cause' letter requests information from the owner on reasons why the dog's registration should not be cancelled.

If the dog's registration is cancelled, the dog owner will then have 24 hours to remove the dog from the Darwin municipality and if they fail to do so, we may acquire a warrant from the courts to remove the nuisance dog.

If we seize the dog with a warrant, it will be impounded and held for four days. If the owner makes no attempt to contact Council or find an alternate property outside the Darwin municipality, the dog will be rehomed or euthanised.


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