Dogs bark for a variety of reasons and may appear to be barking for 'no reason' - but the dog is trying to communicate with anyone nearby. Sometimes the owner is quite unaware that their dog has been barking.
Download the Dear Dog Owner Letter to let owners know about their dog's nuisance barking behavior.
Why do dogs bark?
- Lack of exercise
- Inadequate yard space
- Separation anxiety
- Boredom or lack of stimulation, both mental and physical
- Not enough human companionship
- Inadequate shelter from weather conditions
- Hunger or thirst
- Medical condition such as an illness or discomfort
- Change to family structure/separation anxiety that can lead to destructiveness, howling or escaping.
Don’t allow your pet to become a threat or a nuisance
A cat or dog that is out without their owner or out of their owner’s control is considered at large. Cats are not permitted to leave the property at any time. Most Council parks, reserves and beaches are off-lead dog exercise areas as long as the dogs are supervised and under effective control.
Handling complaints regarding nuisance barking can be a sensitive issue. We work with residents and pet owners to investigate, substantiate and find a resolution that works for everyone.
Reporting nuisance barking
If a dog is making a noise (including barking) which is persistent and interferes with the peace, comfort and safe living environment of a person on other premises, a complaint may be lodged by an online form or
Complaint process for nuisance barking
We have an established process for dealing with complaints about nuisance barking.
As a general rule, Council will undertake a nuisance barking investigation where:
- barking exceeds three (3) minutes in any 30 minute period between 10pm and 7am the following morning
- barking exceeds six (6) minutes in any hour period between 7am and 10pm that day.
As a general rule, Council will not undertake a nuisance barking investigation where barking has occurred due to the following circumstances:
- emergency vehicle sirens
- storms in the neighbourhood
- mail delivery person
- uninvited person on premises
- peak hours of foot traffic e.g. school open and closure times
- enticement of a dog through physical or verbal abuse
The procedure for dealing with nuisance barking is as follows:
- When you report a barking complaint, you will be asked to provide details about the nuisance that is being caused.
- We will provide you with a barking diary and you will be asked to keep a log of the dog's nuisance barking over the next seven days.
- A notice will be issued to the dog owner advising them of nuisance barking allegations against their dog.
- After substantiating the complaint, the Council Ranger and Animal Education Officer will provide the dog owner with self-help information and also offer the owner advice and assistance to help them reduce the nuisance.
- During the investigation our Ranger will contact you seeking updates on the nuisance barking. If the nuisance has ceased, the dog owner will be provided with feedback and encouraged to continue with the action they have taken.
- Should the nuisance barking complaint remain unresolved, the dog owner may be issued with an infringement notice or be prosecuted.
Should further barking 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 re-homed or euthanised.