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Thread: Our neighbour made a complaint about our dog barking..

  1. #1
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    Default Our neighbour made a complaint about our dog barking..

    I feel like I'm probably more just looking to whinge rather than actually look for advice about this one.

    I got a letter yesterday from the local ranger saying a neighbour had complained about our dog barking. We got a 'bark card' which states that our dog barks 'all day long' and it also states she does it regardless of whether we're home or not.

    The thing is that I graduated from Uni in December and don't start work until August. So basically I've been home all day, every day for the last 6 months with the exception of the one day a week I work. On the one day a week that I work my partners home, and it's also an afternoon shift so I'm home until 2.30pm.

    Now I'm not saying our dog is perfect by any means. But she doesn't bark unless there's something to bark at. The way our house is set up, we have a laundry near the back of our house that has a door that goes outside. This area is a small area that goes from our garage up the length of the house where we installed a pool gate so that our dog can't go into the wider back yard without us there. Unfortunately this 'run' that we created happens to be directly next to our neighbours patio. Now as I said, she doesn't bark unless there's something to bark at, so she only barks when our neighbours are actually outside using the patio.

    In saying that, as I said I'm home all day every day, and our dog has always been primarily an inside dog. She is always inside, full stop. When I'm out we keep her confined to the laundry, but she doesn't have access to the back yard unless we let her out. She also sleeps with us.

    I only ever let her outside for two reasons - to go the toilet and to play. When she plays in the backyard she's supervised and the neighbours can make as much noise as they want and she won't care because she's too distracted. The only time she really barks is if I let her out into the run to go to the toilet and walk away for a few minutes and they just happen to be outside. AS SOON as I hear her bark I bring her back inside, no exceptions. I know how annoying noisy dogs can be and refuse to be one of those neighbours.

    And before anyone says anything, it's not separation anxiety or boredem barking when we're out. She's been raised since she was a puppy to be left alone because I used to go to uni/prac and she'd be left alone. We also set up a camera inside just to check and see if she was barking while we're gone and she doesn't. She pretty much just sleeps/plays with toys until we come home.

    Now regardless of all this, we've been reported anyway. This annoys me so much because it's literally just untrue. Our neighbours on the other side are actually some of our closest friends and they said they never hear our dog bark, so logically it could only be the ones with the run on that side of the house to report her, or possibly the people behind us (but the run isn't on the back of our house and there's a distance between the run and the back fence anyway).

    We've also had landscapers working on our front and back yards for the last 3-4 weeks, who are obviously quite noisy and around all day. She hasn't barked at them once either. They don't phase her, because she's inside and doesn't bark..

    As I said, I'm not really looking for advice on how to treat this problem. Basically just having a sook really. It also really annoys me that they'd go straight to the council rather than bothering to speak to us first. We're not bad neighbours as far as I know and I thought we'd be quite approachable. Maybe they just didn't want to stir things up but I'd much rather someone be polite and speak up rather than get the council involved. We also have quite a few dogs in our neighbourhood that do bark a lot, so its a bit annoying that ours gets complained about..


    Oh, one last thing! I let her out the other day to go to the toilet, I'd walked as far as the end of the hallway (about 3 meters) and I heard her barking. I went straight back to bring her inside and heard our neighbour outside in her patio howling like a wolf... Then she yells in a nice and condescending tone 'Oh, calm down *my dogs name*!' (they know my dogs name from previous conversations) and then continued howling like a wolf. Apart from the fact I have no idea why she was howling like a wolf in broad daylight.. I felt like it was a little rude to acknowledge that she was stirring my dog up and then continued to do so.

    Anyway, in response to this I'm going to politely go to ALL of our close neighbours and the ones across the road and ask if they've complained/if they hear our dog barking. If they say they haven't heard her I'll be asking them to sign a statement saying so. And if they have I'll be asking what times it occurs. I'll also be buying an outdoor video camera with microphone and setting it up so that I have proof that it isn't her.

    Speaking of.. Anyone have any advice on outdoor video cameras with microphones ? Haha. Thanks for letting me rant!

  2. #2
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    Hi Saruh

    I love a good rant. This thing where neighbours complain about dogs barking is common. But as a neighbour to a dog that barks when I'm doing my thing in my back yard - it is annoying.

    Unfortunately this 'run' that we created happens to be directly next to our neighbours patio. Now as I said, she doesn't bark unless there's something to bark at, so she only barks when our neighbours are actually outside using the patio.
    Of course my dog barks too - usually at cats or people in the laneway across our back fence, the neighbour's dog helps. And my neighbours dog gets blamed for all the local dog barking - and there's a dog over the back fence and one across the road out the front and three on the other side of the road over there - all bark... and at the other end of the lane on both sides of my street... confused? there's about 20 different dogs that deserve the blame...

    there is an outdoor camera called farmguard - I don't know if it does audio or not but it's handy to catch people stealing from your farm or dumping rubbish. There's probably cameras that do on the web sites that sell the farmguard camera.

    It's important that you only catch vision in your yard tho if you set up so that the dog run is included with audio - then it will be quite obvious when the neighbour is harassing your dog.

    But if it was my patio and there was a dog run complete with "toileting" or poop - right next to it, I would not be happy. Do you clean up immediately? Any chance of moving the run?

    And definitely have a chat with the council rep that sent the letter - and discuss with them directly what your options are and explain your side of the story. I know that sometimes neighbours get caught making stuff up about the noise - if the owner can prove their dog was not home at the time eg away for the weekend or at the vet... and then nothing the neighbours say about your dog would be taken seriously after that.

    Hope that helps a bit.

    And do keep us updated. Dog owners can win at this. Especially if your dog is not barking continuously when the ranger shows up to check.

  3. #3
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    Hey Hyacinth,

    Thanks for your reply will definitely have a look at the farmagard cameras.

    As I said previously, I am home literally 24/7 and her toileting sessions are basically completely supervised as she's only out there for a minute or so, and as soon as she barks I bring her inside. It's literally not even 20 seconds of barking before she's inside. And she only gets toileted maybe 5 times a day (plus walks), and she only barks if they're out there during one of these toileting sessions, at which point I immediately call her inside.

    As for the pooping, it gets picked up as soon as she's done it. It never gets left for more than a few hours and the only time it gets left that long is if it's pouring and I can't get outside to pick it up. I also wash down the pavers (it's all pavers) once a fortnight with detergent and we use a high pressure cleaner as well. It doesn't even smell down there . Apart from doing this for us and the neighbours we don't want our pavers getting ruined. Also the part of the run where she goes the toilet is half way down their garage anyway, at least a meter - a meter and a half down. I don't even think they'd know she poos down there as there's no visual access unless they were going to walk through a wall :P. We also have a large colourbond fence.

    As for moving the run I have thought about this so many times trying to figure how I could do it. Unfortunately we only have 3 doors which go outside - the laundry where it currently is, the front door which is obviously not an option and the patio. The problem with the patio is that there's no way to block it off from the rest of the backyard as it's quite big, I'd have to install a massive fence through our backyard. Also our house is open plan, so the patio door would allow free access to pretty much the entire house.


    As I said, I know that she barks if there's something to bark at and she's outside in the run, but I have to say this happens maybe once or twice a week and as I'm home when I toilet her she's brought back in straight away. We don't have a problem with her barking at all in any other scenario. I could hardly call a dog who barks for maybe 40 seconds a week a nuisance barker, I certainly wouldn't report anyone for that. Especially when there's multiple dogs in the neighbourhood that never shut up :P. So my issue is with my neighbours wrongly accusing my dog, not with her barking. Which I'm not worried about because as soon as I install a camera it'll prove she's not a nuisance barker.. I just hope that these neighbours won't become problem neighbours :/!

    Also when we moved in we had to pave along the whole side of our back yard because their dog kept digging under the fence into the back yard and we never said anything . Starting to wish we had of!


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  4. #4
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    Also when we moved in we had to pave along the whole side of our back yard because their dog kept digging under the fence into the back yard and we never said anything . Starting to wish we had of!
    I don't think council works this way. And they're more likely to look at it as tit for tat neighbour wars rather than any kind of legit complaint from either of you - ie don't sink to their level it won't do your credibility any good.

    Can your neighbour see the dog run area from their patio... I'm thinking you go out there and sniff a bit with your phone set to record... when they're out there and see what they do... ie pretend to be your dog (not barking)... or go out with your dog. See if you can persuade her to be out there and not bark and see what the neighbours do - not necessarily for a toilet run, more of a sort of training / heelwork drill.

    Just don't record yourself saying "gotcha"... just record them and describe it when you play it back for the ranger.

    Maybe you could persuade your other neighbour to go talk to the problem neighbour and ask them what's with the howling? And be completely non judgemental, just encourage them to talk about what their problem is. If it's a simple fix - everybody is happy, otherwise - you know you're dealing with crazy (beware of what comes over the fence).

    Does the problem neighbour still have digging dog? Does it bark?

  5. #5
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    Sorry, I meant I wish I had of said something to our neighbours at the time, not the council, :P, I definitely wouldn't be doing it now.

    That's a really good idea! But unfortunately I think my dog just barks at them making any significant noise, not just when they're stirring her up (as they were clearly doing in the howling scenario). If they are just out there talking normally she won't bark, or even if they're watering the garden or something. But if they're playing with their dog or making any sort of significant noise she'll bark. Which is why I bring her back inside as soon as she barks, because it is my responsibility.

    I'm not sure if the dog still digs or not because we paved off the fence completely and can't tell now. It doesn't bark but occasionally it whimpers/cries. I'm not sure if it's when they're out or not, but as I said unfortunately most noise like this will set my dog off.


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  6. #6
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    Hi Saruh,

    You as a dog owner have rights too...never forget that...dogs bark...it's a fact of life and councils know this and they are also aware of people with grudges and dog haters.

    Video the nutter howling like a wolf and anything else they do to intimidate your dog...then go to the council with it...your letter and give them your side of the story and leave nothing out don't wait for some ranger with a clip board to turn up...Remember you're innocent until proven guilty.

    These gutless cowards usually complain anonymously so council might not know who complained but show them what your neighbour is doing to you...then council might have a word with them...is their dog registered and microchipped...ask the council to check.

    We've got an old bastard who rents the granny flat at the back of the property next door (I'm old but don't carry on like this) came running out a few months ago while I was mowing and said "pick up that piece of paper" to which I replied "F off you old bastard...mind your own bloody business"...then he says "Every time your dogs bark I'm going to ring the council and I'm going to ring the R$PCA and tell they you keep your dogs locked up in the house 24/7"...to which I said "Ring them...I don't give a stuff...can't wait...go for it".

    I'm still waiting for the council and the R$PCA to come...the funny thing is if I kept my dogs in the house 24/7 as this crazy old bastard claims...how would he hear them bark ? When I was telling him where to go he said " speak up I can't hear you".
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

  7. #7
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    I'm pretty sure our council would not bother putting a notice with a complaint that was anonymous to them. They might keep the complainant details and not tell you but they wouldn't follow up on something they could not verify. Ours is under resourced enough as it is.

    I got told to "Mind my own business" when I offered someone a bag to pick up after their dog at our local park. I said - it is my business - people like you will get dogs banned... That bloke and the woman and the dog he was not treating respectfully, did not come back. I really hate it when people say "mind your own business" about something that's in a public space.

    But Dogman's neighbour does seem a bit over the top.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    I'm pretty sure our council would not bother putting a notice with a complaint that was anonymous to them. They might keep the complainant details and not tell you but they wouldn't follow up on something they could not verify. Ours is under resourced enough as it is.

    I got told to "Mind my own business" when I offered someone a bag to pick up after their dog at our local park. I said - it is my business - people like you will get dogs banned... That bloke and the woman and the dog he was not treating respectfully, did not come back. I really hate it when people say "mind your own business" about something that's in a public space.

    But Dogman's neighbour does seem a bit over the top.
    A bit over the top...No he's a spiteful old bastard with a grudge and a big chip on his shoulder who can't mind his own business. Unfortunately there are plenty more like him around who know the councils phone number by heart and salivate at the mouth while ringing the council to dob someone in.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

  9. #9
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    That's pretty crappy you have such a horrible neighbour Dogman . I feel bad for you! Fortunately for people like you who have to deal with false claims (unfortunate for some dogs though who are in bad situations..), the RSPCA generally won't take a dog off someone if it has food, water and isn't seriously mistreated because they're so overpopulated as it is with homeless dogs/dogs in abuse situations.

    I will definitely be recording the run anyway which will disprove the complaint so it'll be alright, just annoying. At least you know who your horrible neighbour is :P?

    Our complaint form was marked as anonymous, but I'm pretty sure in WA when you report a dog for barking you're required to enter your information to legitimise claims. The ranger hasn't followed up yet as this is our first complaint. We've lived here with our dog for a year and a half by the way and absolutely nothing has changed. Our neighbours moved in about 6 months after we did, but even then it's been a year since they've been here and nothings changed. The letter said if there were further complaints and the issue isn't resolved the rangers would follow up.

    But yes. Definitely getting an outdoor video camera. If a neighbour has falsely reported our dog for barking once, I have no doubt they'll do it again.

  10. #10
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    So just a quick update.

    Rang the Rangers Monday and they said the report was made Wednesday last week. I was definitely home all day and had my dog inside with me that day.

    We've also had landscapers for the last 4 weeks so we've been unable to let our dog outside at all in that time except to go to the toilet.

    Today I spoke to our neighbours that are on the side with the dog run, and they said not only did they not report us, they hardly ever hear our dog bark.


    How frustrating. Maybe someone put the wrong number house down on the complaint.


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