Barking Dogs

Reporter: Graeme Butler

It really is enough to drive you barking mad - continual yapping, barking, and whining. Susan is a peace campaigner of sorts - campaigning for peace in the suburbs from the sound of barking dogs. "We're concerned also about the dogs and we're concerned about the owners that are at work they need to know that they've got to train their dogs and get help so it's really for everybody so we can get a bit more peace in our suburbs"

Susan heads up Barkstop - an organisation campaigning to keep dogs quiet - .. and she says some Perth suburbs are much worse than others. "Huntingdale and Wanneroo were very bad Gosnells and Armadale, very bad and Bayswater very bad"

Susan isn't anti-dogs - she loves them she's just not keen on owners who let their dogs bark, "the blame has got to go to irresponsible dog owners that will just leave their dog as commodity just as a watch dog and it's left out there bored lonely of course it's going to bark so I cant blame the dogs" and that's part of the problem - often dog owners are completely unaware their dogs bark when they're home alone.

"It's a surprise to them when they've been at work all day and they come home and they receive a letter in the letter box and they're baffled" Samantha Tarling from the W.A Rangers association says if a dog barking is creating a problem you should first try contacting the owner. "If you feel comfortable enough I would approach your neighbour an I would say to them in a friendly manner did you realise that your dog is barking it doesn't' have to be aggressive or defence helping out the dog owner is your first approach and that in most cases the dog owner will say I'm so sorry I'll set about doing something"

"The single main cause of barking today is separation anxiety" Garth Jennens is an animal behaviourist he says there are ways to stop your dog barking once you're aware of the problem. "If a problem is caught early enough the problem can easily be resolved it can be a very simple solution such as restricting your dog from a certain area putting a radio in the right place4 of it can be a more complex problem such as having to treat a separation anxiety"

Left unchecked barking dogs can make life hell for those living around them - people like Frank Eddy. "Someone hitting you on the back of the head with a rubber hammer you don't notice it for a while but after about an hour you think I don't like that very much and it gets worse"

Susan from Barkstop says what's just as outrageous is the government dragging its heals on reforming the dog act. "I don't see any movement and quite frankly I'm now angry and frustrated and many people are in that position"

Changes to the dog act are being drawn up at the moment and should be introduced to parliament early next year at the latest - the changes would see tougher penalties of up to $6000 for second offences and clarify what's considered to be a nuisance dog -Susan says she's heard it all before. "There's no definition of nuisance barking and this is what the legislation promised us that they would be doing but I'm just wondering is it going to take another eight years"

Contact Details

Barkstop Co-ordinator Susan

PO Box 71 GOSNELLS WA 6990

( please include a self addressed stamped envelope for reply )