Real Life

When the neighbour’s dog won’t stop barking

What happens when man’s best friend becomes your worst nightmare?
When the neighbour's dog won't stop barking

**We have a really tricky issue. Our next door neighbours, who we’ve been friends with

for years, have a new dog which is driving us mad. It barks for long periods and they either don’t know this or do nothing about it. We want to ring the council, but this might mean the end of a really good relationship in all other ways. Does the law make it possible to register a formal complaint without the owners being told who’s behind it?**

First of all, speak to your neighbours. If you know them that well, surely there will be a time and place where you can raise your concerns in a relaxed manner. If the dog is barking incessantly and you have told them about it but they have not fixed things, then contact the council. Dog control laws in New Zealand tend to be in the hands of councils using local by-laws. Yes, you can tell the dog control officer that you wish to remain anonymous. This means you have to tell him who you are, but he/she won’t reveal this to your neighbour in the course of their investigation.

The problem is, if the matter has to go to court, you will then need to reveal who you are and you will probably have to give evidence. Don’t be worried about reporting the dog. You are showing loyalty to your neighbour, but if your neighbour isn’t doing anything about it, he/she isn’t showing you that loyalty in return. Bear one thing in mind, though – young dogs can be quite difficult to manage, so show some patience. The dog may be driving its owners just as nuts as it is driving you. The fact of the matter is, they may be doing all they can and no-one wants a dog put down just for barking. Most dogs settle down after a year or so.

Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email [[email protected]](mailto: [email protected]), or post to Weekly Consumer, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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