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How to write a letter to your neighbour about their barking dog
Each year thousands of people make complaints to local government bodies about their neighbours barking dogs. So many complaints that many local council's now have their own brochures and web pages specifically outlining what actions you can consider taking if you are experiencing offensive noise caused by your neighbours dog.
Usually, the council will advise you to attempt to resolve this matter with your neighbour yourself before making any type of formal complaint. This is because your neighbour may not be aware that their beloved companion is causing you such disturbance, and if you make them aware of the problem they may be able to rectify it swiftly, without any formal investigations being needed.
This advice seems reasonable however the problem is, it can be quite difficult to approach a neighbour about this subject. Especially if you don't know your neighbour very well, and therefore can't judge what their reaction may be. Or, you do know them and you know they adore their pet more than anything else in the world! You might also be afraid that what you have to say will come across the wrong way, and that your once friendly neighbour may become at war with you forever, or at the very least start an argument with you while you're standing there at their front door, and your other neighbours also overhear.
Some people will make a formal complaint without speaking to their neighbour as they are too fearful to approach them. This might be understandable but it might also cause greater distress for the dog owner who may not aware of the problem their pet is causing you, when they answer their door one day and are greeted by a government official. How would you like it? Others, due to the same worries will just put up with the dog's barking and not say anything.
Another option is to write your neighbour a non-threatening letter about it. Here is an example of one such letter which could assist you if you decide to write to your neighbour about their barking dog.
I am your neighbour at number 120 Sunny Street. I'm sorry I don't know you well, but my name's Victoria and I've been at this address with my husband and son for two years. We also have a new baby girl.
I don't mean to cause you any upset, but for the past few months I've noticed that the dog in your yard has been barking very early in the morning, starting at around 6am. It seems to bark constantly for the next few hours, and I thought I should make you aware of this, as you may not be home at this time and therefore may not be aware.
Unfortunately, the noise seems quite noticeable inside our house, even with the windows and doors shut, and it has been disturbing our sleep in the mornings.
I am a pet lover and don't mean to cause you any distress, I just wanted to inform you of this so that you may have the opportunity to find a solution to our problem.
With kind regards
Notice that in the sample letter there is no threat made to make a formal complaint and the tone of the letter is friendly and factual.
It's important to let your neighbour know what times you are hearing the barking because this may assist them in addressing the cause of the problem.
You could send the letter anonymously, without your address details in the first paragraph, should you not want your neighbour to know who wrote the letter.
Some dogs are considered part of the family so you do need to be sensitive about approaching your neighbour with a complaint about their dog, and in the wording of the letter you write to them.
Dogs bark for a variety of reasons, it could be tied to a fixed point and unable to move around freely, lack the proper food and shelter conditions, or it could be bored and lonely. A dog who is barking excessively may be distressed and/or dangerous. If you suspect a dog is being mistreated it's a whole different issue, and should be reported to your local RSPCA.
Author: AustralianNappies Copyright 2012
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