It is accepted and natural that dogs bark, and it is not illegal for a dog to bark, but they are not allowed to cause a nuisance. A barking dog could be a ‘statutory noise nuisance’ under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. There is no set definition of a ‘statutory nuisance’ but previous cases have defined this as ‘material interference with the comfort and enjoyment of another’s home.’ Therefore, in practise the barking would need to be, for example, for prolonged periods, frequent excessive barking and/or barking at unreasonable hours.
Before any action can be taken it must be shown that the noise is prejudicial to health and /or is causing an unreasonable and persistent disturbance to lifestyle.
If a complaint is made to the Council, they have a duty to investigation. If the council are satisfied that the barking is causing a statutory nuisance, they can serve a Noise Abatement Notice, which gives around 21 days in which to resolve the problem. The recipient also has 21 days to appeal the Notice. If no action is taken to improve the situation a person could be taken to court. If convicted in Magistrates Court this could result in a fine, and further fines for each day until they fail to comply.
An individual can also take their own action under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
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