A dog that barks continuously throughout the day or night can be considered to be a noise nuisance. If the barking causes a substantial interference to the enjoyment of your premises, action can be taken by the council to deal with the nuisance. This page explains your options.
The following criteria are used to assist the council in its decision on whether or not a nuisance is being caused:
Firstly, it may be best to contact your neighbour to let them know that there is a problem. In many cases, neighbours are often totally unaware that their dog is causing a problem to others. They will often appreciate the opportunity to put things right before anyone else, becomes involved.
Contact the Swale Borough Council on the telephone number provided at the top of this page. When you call, give full details of the problem.
We will investigate your complaint, which may include sending you diary sheets for you to complete and return to us, so we can determine the extent of the problem. At the same time, we will also write to the dog owner saying we have received a complaint about dog noise. This may resolve the barking nuisance. At this stage, we will not say who has complained.
To help us decide whether the barking is a statutory nuisance as defined in law. To do this we need information on the type of noise, how loud it is, when and how often it occurs, and how it affects you. It is very important that you keep detailed records, which must include exact times.
Return the diary sheets to us. If you do not contact us within four weeks from the date of your original complaint, we will assume the problem no longer exists and we will take no further action.
If the problem continues, the owner of the dog making the noise will be advised that the matter will be investigated further. An officer from Swale Borough Council will then need to witness the barking. We may arrange to install sound monitoring equipment in your premises.
We may serve an Abatement Notice, requiring the owner of the dog making the noise to stop the nuisance happening again.
If the barking does not stop after the Notice has been served and we witness it, we can prosecute the owner of the dog in the Magistrates' Court. If this happens, your record sheets will be used in evidence and you will also be required to act as a witness on the Council's behalf. If people are not prepared to act as witnesses, then we are limited to advising the offenders. This action will not always prevent a nuisance from happening.
Sometimes noise from barking dogs is difficult to witness because it only happens occasionally and sometimes after monitoring, we may think that the barking is not a statutory nuisance and we cannot then take any action. If this happens, then you can take your action either by making a complaint direct to the Magistrates Court under Section 82 of the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT 1990 or by taking civil action through the County Court for nuisance. Swale Borough Council would recommend that you first seek legal advice before taking your own action.
Nothing. The Council cannot proceed any further without a complainant/witness and no further action can be taken.
If at any time you require further information, please contact Swale Borough Council (Details at the top of the page).