Dog owners risk an unlimited fine for not stopping their dog’s excessive barking
Dog owners who don’t take action to stop their dog’s excessive barking could be fined under the Environment Protection Act 1990 – but there are some practices they can put in place to avoid paying
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Pet owners could be fined indefinitely for not intervening to stop their dog’s excessive barking.
Neighbors who have to put up with the barking of a dog at all times of the day can report their owner to the local authority, who have a duty to investigate any noise complaints in their area.
If their complaint is proven, they can bring a formal action to sue the owner for “harm to a person’s health” or “obstructing the enjoyment of his property”.
As under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, owners who fail to prevent their animal from making noise are “liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding Level 5 of the standard scale”, as well as “another fine for each day that the infringement continues”.
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While a level 5 offense on the standard scale was previously capped at a maximum of £5,000, it is now subject to an unlimited fine.
A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “For crimes committed after March 13, 2015, Tier 5 has been removed and all criminal penalties are considered punishable on declaration summary conviction of a maximum fine of £5,000 or more, or expressed as a level 5 fine, are now subject to a fine of any amount (i.e. unlimited). is as a result of Section 85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
In 2020, a dog owner from Southam, Warwickshire was fined a total of £9,304 for her dog’s excessive barking.
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However, there are some practices owners can put in place to help minimize excessive barking and avoid a costly fine:
Make sure you don’t reward barking
Telling your dog that he is a “good dog” and rewarding him with treats while this behavior is going on will encourage him further.
Instead, reward your dog for being quiet.
If he barks at mealtimes, wait until the barking has died down, then put his food down.
This way they associate silence with a reward and over time they will learn that barking continuously will not get them what they want.
Don’t raise your voice over your dog
You might be inclined to speak in a louder tone out of sheer frustration or desperation, but your dog thinks you’re joining in and he’ll usually get louder.
Identify the cause of excessive barking and remove the stimulus that is causing it, leading to a calmer, happier dog.
Make sure your dog has a routine
If your dog is bored and unstructured, he is more likely to engage in destructive and less desirable behaviors.
Daily exercise, scheduled meal times, and regular play can all contribute to a more relaxed dog, which will result in a significantly reduced amount of barking for attention.
Train your dog to become desensitized to barking triggers
If you notice a series of triggers that cause your dog to bark, it’s important to train him not to react to them unnecessarily.
Some dogs are particularly reactive, so this is something to keep in mind when training your dog.
It is a process that must be done gradually and with patience. If you have any concerns about training your dog, contact a professional canine obedience specialist or licensed trainer who can advise you further.
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