Hello, my name is Robin and I own a medium sized business which is based in a suburb of Perth, Australia. Many business owners do not understand the importance of commercial law on their operations. I know that I certainly didn't when I set out. At first, this wasn't an issue but as my business grew, I realised that if I didn't teach myself about the legal rules in place and seek expert help, I would find myself in serious trouble. I got in touch with a great law firm who helped me to understand exactly what I needed to know. I decided to start this blog to help other business owners.
Having a neighbour lodge a legal complaint against you because your dog barks too much can be a stressful experience and could end in you paying a hefty fine. If you want to defend yourself against a nuisance barking complaint, take a look at these 3 tips.
Try Mediation First
Before matters even get to court, try initiating a mediation session with the neighbour who lodged a complaint against you. Mediation involves an unbiased, trained mediator helping the two of your discuss your dispute outside court. Instead of making judgements or giving advice, a mediator will simply facilitate communication between you and your neighbour so you can both voice your opinions and come to a conclusion. If mediation doesn't work, or if your neighbour refuses mediation, you'll need to move on to preparing your case.
Collect Evidence of Trying to Stop the Barking
If a judge sees you've done everything reasonably in your power to stop your dog from barking, they're more likely to make a decision in your favour. That's why it's a good idea to keep and collect any physical evidence you have. If you've purchased an anti-bark collar or ultrasonic bark deterrent, for example, make sure you keep the receipt handy. If you've had your dog assessed by a vet or trained by a professional dog trainer, collect invoices or booking slips that can prove this. Other deterrents you may have proof of include privacy fencing or curtain installation. You may even want to make a 24-hour recording to show just how much (or how little) your dog actually barks. Any and all receipts you have can be entered into evidence and used in your legal defence.
Ask a Neighbour to Testify
If your dog really doesn't make much noise and no other neighbour complains about barking, one of the best ways to get a judge to rule in your favour is to find another neighbour who will testify. You'll need a neighbour who lives as close to you as the neighbour who complained does, though one who lives even closer may be better. This neighbour will need to be willing to give sworn testimony in court and potentially be cross-examined by the prosecuting lawyer, but having them on the stand saying that your dog isn't a nuisance will go a long way.
Remember, if you want to win your case, you'll need an experienced attorney on your side. Before you get to court, lawyer who knows about dog laws who can build a defence case for you.