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Ask Phoebe: Talk to neighbours first about their noisy dogs

By Phoebe Falconer

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Council officers can take action if friendly chat fails to fix things.

If an animal control officer assesses that the dog is barking to a nuisance level, the council may send a formal letter to the owner. Photo / Doug Sherring
If an animal control officer assesses that the dog is barking to a nuisance level, the council may send a formal letter to the owner. Photo / Doug Sherring

Our neighbours have two large dogs on their well-fenced urban property. We have two problems with them. Firstly they are extremely noisy. If the owners are out they will bark constantly for the entire time they are gone (hours at a time both day and night). And secondly they are extremely aggressive and territorial. What is our best course of action? We don't necessarily want the dogs gone, but something does need to be done about the behaviour. Who should we contact first? Animal control, noise control, or someone else? Phil Brown, Auckland.

Your first option should be to talk to your neighbours. If, as you say, they are out for a large part of the day, they may not be aware that the dogs are bored and barking. If the situation cannot be resolved this way, animal control is your best bet.

Auckland Council's website has a helpful section on this problem.

Dog control officers assess the extent of any problems, including asking neighbours to monitor the dog's barking and complete bark monitoring forms.

The officers may also visit the neighbours and assess the barking (or howling or whining) themselves.

If an officer assesses that the dog is barking to a nuisance level, the council may send a formal letter to the owner.

If an officer assesses that the dog is barking to a nuisance level, the council may issue a barking abatement notice.

If an officer assesses that the dog is still barking to a nuisance level, the council may infringe the owner for breaching the barking abatement notice with a $200 infringement fee. If the matter goes to court, the fine may be as much as $1500.

The dog or dogs may also be impounded.

What should I do if I return to my car which is parked (legally) on the roadside and find that the car in front of me and the one behind me are parked so close that I cannot get out? It could be an emergency, or it could be late at night in the inner city. Should I ring 111? Chris Jones, Auckland.

You should ring Auckland Transport (09 355 3553) as a first option, as they will have people close by who can help.

AT admits though, that this is a tricky question, and can be legally hard to prove.

Parking officials have responded to several requests for assistance like this and have only ever towed one vehicle as this was safety-based, being parked very close to an intersection and impeding pedestrian flow. In other cases staff have helped the driver manoeuvre their vehicle out.

According to AT's website, in the section "Types of parking infringement", there is a clause for inconsiderate parking.

"Where a person has stopped, stood or parked a vehicle without reasonable consideration for other road users, under Section 40 of the Land Transport Act 1998 and Rule 6.1 Road User Rule 2004, there is a $60 fine (Rule 4 and Schedule 1 Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999)".

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