Animal owners will be investigated if their dog barks for longer than three minutes under strict new noise rules.
The limit was set by the City of Darwin Council this week in a bid to silence nuisance canines.
Under the new rules, if a dog barks for more than three minutes in a 30 minute period during the night or six minutes in an hour during the day, irritated neighbours can call the council to investigate.
Debate has been sparked online since the strict noise levels were announced, with some people taking to social media in support of the change.
‘It is always a tricky area, but hopefully it will make people a bit more responsible for their dogs. No-one should have their peace broken by a continuous barking dog,’ one woman said.
‘Dogs barking all day while the owners are at work … try being a shift worker who needs to sleep,’ another person said.
However, not everyone was happy about the rules.
‘Maybe easy revenue raising? How about they do something to stop the antisocial behaviour that leads to dogs barking instead?’ one woman said.
‘I’m glad my dog barks at night lately with all the crime in my neighbourhood,’ said another person.
There will be exemptions under the stricter rules, such as emergency sirens, storms, mail delivery and peak-foot traffic.
Council has also dropped the number of dogs a resident can have on their property to just four.
Animal lovers were able to have up to five dogs registered to one home and an unspecified number of cats
Complaint process for nuisance barking in Darwin:
When you report a barking complaint, you will be asked to provide details about the nuisance that is being caused.
Council 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.
Source: City of Darwin Council website