A nuisance dog differs from a dangerous dog in that the dog’s behaviour is not believed to be an actual threat to people or other animals, but it is annoying.
For example, nuisance dog orders are often used when an animal consistently bothers other people by barking, or repeatedly causing property damage.
Being under a nuisance dog order can be restrictive for you and your pet.
If you have been receiving complaints about your dog’s behaviour, it is important to take them seriously, and take measures to fix the problem before you are issued with a nuisance dog order.
Before your local council issues a nuisance dog order, it is required to send you a ‘notice of intention’ of making the order and you have 7 days to send council a letter of objection.
The letter of objection should state the reasons that you oppose the proposed order.
That letter can be drafted and submitted by you or by a lawyer who is experienced in Companion Animals Act cases.
Council is then required to consider the letter of objection before making its decision about whether to issue the order.
Unfortunately, there is no way of appealing a nuisance dog order if one is issued, so it is important to get the letter of objection right.
What is nuisance behaviour?
There are a number of different types of behaviour that can lead to your animal being issued with a nuisance dog order. These include:
- Persistent barking
- Regularly damaging other people’s property
- Regularly defecating on other people’s property
- Regularly chasing people or animals (other than vermin)
Who can issue a nuisance dog order?
The local council issues a nuisance dog order.
Once a council has received one or more complaints about a dog’s behaviour, a council officer will generally conduct an investigation.
In determining whether or not a dog’s behaviour justifies the issuing of a nuisance dog order, a council officer will review any complaints made by neighbours, and visit the premises to see or hear the behaviour themselves.
What happens if you ignore a nuisance dog order?
Failing to comply with a nuisance dog order comes with penalties.
Fines of $880 for a first offence, and $1650 for a second or subsequent offence, apply.
It is important that you abide by the terms of the order, and ensure the nuisance behaviour stops, if you want to avoid having to pay heavy fines, or having a new order issued when the existing one expires.
What is the process for being issued with a nuisance dog order?
A nuisance dog order is usually issued at the end of a formal process.
The exact process varies between different councils, but there will usually be an opportunity for mediation before the order is issued.
As an owner, you will be provided with plenty of warning and opportunities to change your dog’s behaviour before you reach the stage of being under a nuisance dog order.
Is there anything I can do to appeal?
Although appealing a nuisance dog order is not possible once it has been issued, you will be given notice of the intention to issue a nuisance dog order, and be allowed to object in writing within seven days.
The council officer will take your objections into consideration when deciding whether or not to issue a nuisance dog order.
How long do nuisance dog orders last?
Nuisance dog orders last for six months.
If you have had complaints from your neighbours regarding your dog’s behaviour or barking it is important to take them seriously, and take measures to change your dog’s behaviour.
Many problems that lead to nuisance dog orders can be alleviated with education and common sense, and taking the time to reduce the problem before the council gets involved could save a lot of stress and money in the future.