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Problems and Complaints

Barking Dogs

Barking is a natural way for dogs to communicate.  However excessive or persistent barking can be a nuisance to neighbours.

Dog owners may not be aware that their dog is barking or that there’s a problem. Communication between neighbours and early intervention helps in preventing the issue escalating.

Owners Responsibility

You’re responsible for making sure your dog doesn’t unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort or convenience of your neighbours. Dogs may increase their barking behaviour when their owners are not home.

If you become aware that your dog is barking, it is important you take adequate measures to address your dog's behaviour as soon as possible. Try to identify what is causing the dogs barking; boredom, anxiety, fear, territorial behaviour; attention seeking behaviour or undiagnosed medical issues.

Additional resources

Dog and Cat Management Board website -


If you believe your neighbour’s dog is barking too much, try talking in a friendly manner to your neighbour about it in the first instance. Your neighbour may not be aware that their dog is barking when they’re away from the house or the nuisance it is causing you.

As nuisance barking behaviour is not something that is resolvable immediately, it is recommended you address your concerns before the barking has become unbearable.

Complaint process

Prior to making a formal complaint, it is strongly encouraged that you approach the issue with the neighbor in the first instance.

To make a formal complaint, you may report the issue to our Customer Service Centre between 8:30am and 5:00pm Monday to Friday. Please be aware that Council will require your support to take the matter any further.

Council will require the complaint to be made in writing and will ask for a questionnaire to be completed providing all relevant information to be able to proceed with the investigation.

Dog Attacks

What to do if a dog attacks

After a dog attack, you should be to seek medical or veterinary treatment as a priority.

When safe to do so, you must report the attack to the relevant council.

If the Incident occurred within City Adelaide’s jurisdiction, please contact our Customer Centre on 8203 7203 or email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

If you’re not sure which council to contact, you can find a map of South Australia’s council boundaries here.

Report the incident ASAP

Like all serious incidents, time is a critical factor in dealing with dog attacks. This is especially important if the offending dog is wandering at large and still poses a risk to the public or other animals. To help Council investigate, please try to gather the following information before contacting us:

  • The date, time and exact location of the attack. If you’re not sure, use your GPS equipped smart phone to check on a map
  • A description of the offending dog - registration disc, name tag, breed, colour, sex, markings, collar size and colour
  • A description of the owner - name, address, contact phone number, male or female, age, hair colour, clothing
  • If a car was involved and the offender drove away with the dog - car registration number, make, model, colour
  • A description and photographs of any injuries and location on your body or your pet's body.

You should also keep copies of any medical certificates, vet or doctor bills as evidence.

What happens when a dog is reported?

  • Authorised Officers may take a statement or affidavit from you
  •  Photos may be taken of any injuries to yourself, or your animals or birds.
  • The dog's owner may be contacted to get their side of the incident.
  • Authorised Officers could seek witness statements and other evidence
  • Authorised Officers assess the circumstances and evidence and make a decision for action
  • Council will then issue legal notices as required, and;
  • Inform the parties of the outcome.

Who is responsible?

You are responsible for your dog’s actions. It is an offence for a dog to attack, harass or chase a person, another animal or a bird owned by a person.

Find out more from the Dog and Cat Management Act, 1995

Depending on the severity of the attack, councils can:

  • Issue a warning
  • Impose an on the spot fine of $315
  • Take direct court action (in more serious cases)
  • Impose a control order (Nuisance, Dangerous Dog, Menacing Dog, or Destruction Order)
  • The maximum penalty for a dog attack is $2,500.

Preventing dog bites

Dogs bite for many reasons. The most common reasons are fear, pain or confusion when mixing with people and other dogs. Ignoring signs of aggression can result in serious injury to you, a member of your family or others.  You can discourage biting by:

  • Socialising your dog from an early age so that it learns how to mix with other dogs and other people in public
  • Avoiding situations that may cause your dog to become nervous or anxious
  • Training your dog - obedience classes help you learn about your dog, its body language and how you can communicate with it
  • Desexing your dog. Research shows that, on average an entire dog is more aggressive. Note that desexing dog will be mandatory (with exemptions) from 1 July 2018.
  • Asking your vet for advice if your dog shows any signs of aggression towards people.

For more information on being a good dog owner, visit the Dog and Cat Management Board website.

Lost or Found Animals

If you have lost your dog or cat, please consider the following:

  • Call Council to notify us of your missing dog or cat 8203 7203
  • Contact the Animal Welfare League on 8348 1300
  • Contact the RSPCA on 1300 477 722
  • Notify local and nearby veterinary clinics and the After Hours Emergency Vet clinic 8371 0333
  • Notify neighbouring councils
  • Check social media lost pet pages

 Please ensure your pet's microchip details are up to date and all contact phone numbers are current.

How we help

Council makes every effort to reunite wandering dogs and owners as quickly as possible.

We check:

  • Registration discs and id tags
  • Microchip number, and search all national microchip databases for owner contact information

We display impounded dog notices:

  • At our Customer Centre; 25 Pirie Street Adelaide SA 5000

Dogs whose owners cannot be contacted will be taken to the Animal Welfare League located at 1 to 9 Cormack Road, Wingfield SA 5013. They must be claimed within 72 hours of being impounded. You may call the Animal Welfare League on 8348 1300 during their opening hours.

Cats believed to be stray or un-owned may be taken to the Animal Welfare League, however there is no requirement for wandering cats to be collected by Council. You may call the Animal Welfare League on 8348 1300 during their opening hours to check whether your cat has been taken to the shelter.

When you find your dog or cat

Please let us know when your dog or cat has been found.

If you find a stray dog

Report it to the City of Adelaide immediately on 8203 7203. Council’s Contractors will collect the dog and return to owner or impound the dog at an approved facility for suitable care until the owner can be located. Do not remove any identification.

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