Dog barking has been selected by Medway Council as the theme for this year’s Noise Action Week taking place from Monday, 23 May to Friday, 27 May. As part of the week, the council’s environmental health team will be running a series of fun and informative events for dogs and their owners. Staff from the council’s environmental health team will be joined for the week by dog welfare charities, including The Dogs Trust and vets charity PDSA. Visitors will be able to enrol their pets in special agility training classes and take advantage of free food giveaways and health checks.

Owners will also be able to get their dogs micro-chipped at no charge and get access to the latest advice on dealing with other vocal pets. It may be your pet dog’s natural method of expression, but like singing in the shower or mowing the lawn at dawn the sound of barking isn’t always welcome. More than 300 complaints about barking were received by Medway Council in 2009/2010, the latest figures available. It is second in the league for noise complaints in Medway with loud music the only other issue causing neighbours a greater headache. Andy McGrath, Assistant Director for Frontline Services, said: “Owning a dog is a rewarding experience, but it also a big responsibility. “People have to properly look after and train their pets so they don’t spend hours and hours barking, which simply isn’t normal behaviour for a dog.” “I hope that people with pets will come along to our roadshow and take on board advice to help keep both dogs and their neighbours content.”

Hints and Tips

How the council handles complaints.
When a complaint about dog barking is received the complainant is asked to fill in a diary detailing how they are being disturbed.

If there is sufficient evidence environmental health officers will investigate further, including making contact with the dog owner.

If the problem persists an abatement order is served requiring the owner to take action to reduce noise nuisance.

If that fails the dog owner could ultimately be taken to court and fined up to £5,000.

If you want to report a noise complaint or want to find out more about the work of the council’s environmental health team call 01634 333333, email environmental.protection@medway.gov.uk. Alternatively visit http://www.medway.gov.uk

Dog barking advice

The first thing to do is to try to work out why your dog is barking. If you can remove the cause it should – with a bit of training – stop.

Your dog could be barking because it is excited, frustrated, guarding, bored, trying to get your attention, scared or because it cannot cope with being on its own.

The DogsTrust has a fact sheet available on dog barking, which includes helpful hints and tips on the issue. Click on the A-Z section at http://www.dogstrust.org.uk.

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