Animal Nuisance

Animal nuisance is when an animal's behaviour causes;

  • damage to property owned by a person other than the keeper
  • excessive disturbance to a person other than the keeper because of noise, or
  • danger to the health of an animal or a person other than the keeper.

For a dog, animal nuisance also includes repeated occurrences of the dog not being kept under control by its keeper or carer, or not being restrained in contravention of the Domestic Animals Act.

If the situation involves immediate danger to the health of an animal or person please call ACT Policing on 000 for their immediate attendance. For all other non-life threatening matters that do not require an emergency response, please call Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

Most often, animal nuisance relates to excessive noise caused by a dog barking. It's important to remember that all dogs bark to some degree and not all barking behaviour will meet the criteria for 'nuisance'.

Before lodging a complaint with Domestic Animal Services, we recommend you speak with your neighbours about the problem. Often people are unaware that their pets are causing a problem and speaking with them directly can address the problem.

If you would like to lodge a complaint, you can complete the 'How to Lodge an Animal Nuisance Complaint' form provided below and submit it to Domestic Animal Services at GPO Box 158, Canberra City 2601.

Nuisance complaints may also be emailed to

ALL sections of the form MUST be completed for Domestic Animal Services to commence a formal investigation. This includes a 'bark diary' that records when the barking has occurred and for how long. This diary should cover a minimum of four days. The bark diary provides us with essential information that helps to demonstrate the nature of the nuisance behaviour, so that the animal's owners can take steps to address the issue.

We will advise the owner of the complaint and allow two weeks for the issue to be addressed, before taking any regulatory action.

In deciding how to respond and manage animal nuisance complaints, Domestic Animal Services must consider;

  1. the number of people affected,
  2. the damage, disturbance or danger resulting, or likely to result, from the nuisance;
  3. any reasonable precautions the animals owner has taken to stop or minimise the nuisance;
  4. any reasonable precautions a person adversely affected has taken to avoid or minimise the effects of the nuisance.

You may also contact the Conflict Resolution Service to discuss the matter and receive some free dispute coaching, or enquire about mediation.


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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.