Dogs, Cats & other pets
Dogs, cats and other animals - sometimes it seems that the most intelligent member of the whole NFH family is the domestic pet then other times it's just an accomplice of the NFH as they take it in turns to be the savage dumb snarling monster running up and down the boundary fence barking at you for no other reason than you are trying to enjoy you own back yard. If you are having problems with animals there are a number of things you can do.
Rule number one, try to talk to the neighbour, let them know that the dog is barking all day when they are at work or their cat has turned you prize azalea into a scratching post and your flower bed into a toilet you might be able to sort it out in a friendly way. If that approach doesn't work you have rights according to law, in NSW it is called The Companion Animals Act 1998 and it is in most cases the local council ranger who enforces it although the police can also act but it would usualy have to be an emergency before they were willing to become involved. The Companion Animals Act spells out clearly the rights and responsibilities of pet owners and has some reasonably strong powers to deal with nuisance or dangerous animals.
One of the most common complaints is barking dogs, in NSW The Companion Animals Act 1998 deals with nuisance dogs and Protection Of The Environment Operations Act 1997 deals with nuisance noise so barking dogs are well covered but it is worth noting here that most council rangers will consider a dog that barks briefly at the postmen or a car pulling up outside the property etc. is just doing it's job, however if the barking is incessant that is another story and council has the power to order the owner to stop the nuisance from occurring. One of the problems encountered in this process is proving that the animal is a nuisance so you need to keep meticulous records of the noise – date, time, duration, etc. - and it is worth checking with the council as to what they consider is nuisance barking and what proof is required by them before they will take action.
Another problem that is commonly encountered is dogs wandering the street unrestrained without owners, again in NSW The Companion Animals Act makes it clear that it is an offence for a dog to be outside the owner's premises and not under control i.e. if it is on the street it must be on a leash with an owner. If a dog enters on to your property and no owner is present to control it you do have the right to impound (catch and tie up) the dog according to the Impounding Act 1993 however BEFORE YOU DO you should be satisfied that the dog is not a danger to you or your family if it appears to be dangerous call the ranger and/or the police don't attempt to catch it. If you do impound the dog you must: provide it with shelter and access to clean water, kept in a clean environment and not exposed to diseased animals, in other words keep it safe and healthy, if possible you must notify the owner within 24 hours as to the animals whereabouts, if the owner can't be contacted or fails to collect the animal it must be delivered to the nearest public pound, you can do this by calling the council ranger and having them collect the animal, you can not impound the animal on your property for more than 4 days. If you fail to comply with the requirements set out in the Impounding Act 1993 you will be guilty of an offence so think carefully and act responsibly.
Dogs, Cats, Neighbours and You PDF offers solutions for owners, neighbours and others affected by the activities of pets. This updated edition also includes information on changes to the law regarding micro chipping.
Australian Capital Territory