Excessive barking is a form of environmental noise pollution that has been proven to impair hearing, mental health, and task performance. It interferes with spoken communication and disturbs sleep. It also leads to negative social behaviour and reactions of annoyance, according to a medical study.
And it is up to the owner to stop it.
Having a chat with the dog owner to notify them of the problem is the most sensible thing to do according to lawyer Roy Bregman of Bregman Moodley Attorneys.
It is then expected of the dog owner to investigate – or else.
The SA Noise Control Regulations provide that no person shall allow an animal owned or controlled by him or her to cause a noise nuisance, explains Bregman.
If you do decide to take steps against your neighbour, you should begin by making a written complaint to your local authority. Many of them have Noise Control Units whose officials are empowered to take steps if they find that a problem exists, says Alec Veitch, a lawyer at Schindlers Attorneys.
If the barking is declared a nuisance, continued failure to control it can come with a fine of up to R20,000.
One solution if the dog is left alone and is bored or afraid is to fit a cold-air-spray bark collar sold by a vet.
Bregman also notes that the dog may need to see an animal behaviourist to determine if the problem is lack of exercise, lack of stimulation, separation anxiety, protecting territory, or something else that can be addressed.