South African dog owners are warned that if they cannot control their dog’s barking they could be fined R20 000 for disruptive barking.

A medical study showed that excessive barking is a form of environmental noise pollution that is 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,” said Lisa Goines, of the Southern Medical Journal.

According to lawyer, Roy Bregman, having a chat with the dog owner to notify them of the problem is the most sensible thing to do. It is then expected of the dog owner to investigate or else.

“A dog owner who fails to address incessant barking is in contravention of noise control regulations under the Environmental Conservation Act.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,” said Bregman.

It was reported that 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. If the barking is declared a nuisance, continued failure to control it can come with a fine of up to R20 000 or even imprisonment for up to two years,” said Bregman.

According to Bregman cautions on how to avoid incurring hefty fines if it is your dog barking could be 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 noted 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.