Woman faces losing barking dog

A Maungatapu woman is at her wits’ ends and “stressed to the max” as she faces losing her dog following a raft of complaints to council claiming it barks all-night.

In the last year, Tauranga City Council has received 14 complaints about the barking of Kathryn Edward’s labrador retriever boxer cross, Baxta.

Kathryn Edwards’ house where Baxta the dog lives. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

Both an abatement notice and a notice to remove the dog under Section 55(1) of the council’s Dog Control Act 1996 were sent to Kathryn earlier this year, which she originally objected to.

Three nearby neighbours have complained to council saying the dog barks for more than 30 minutes at a time between midnight and 5.30am, causing disruption to their sleep.

At today’s hearings panel subcommittee, consisting of councillors Terry Molloy, Wayne Moultrie and Larry Baldock, animal services team leader Brent Lincoln and Kathryn both aired their concerns about the situation.

Brent says the first complaint received about five-year-old Baxta was on May 22, 2012 – two weeks before Kathryn’s late husband Clint died, transferring ownership of the dog to Kathryn.

A further 13 complaints from the three different residents were lodged soon after.

After receiving the complaint, council discussed the situation with Kathryn and there was a short reprieve in the barking before it started again a short time later.

Council sent Kathryn advisory letters outlining how to manage a barking dog, but further complaints forced council to conduct a barking survey. Questionnaires were delivered to households adjacent to Kathryn’s home and other properties that may be affected.

From the 10 questionnaires sent out, which did not identify Kathryn’s address or her dog, five responded. Three of those identified the dog as “causing a nuisance” by loud and persistent barking. The other two did not have any issue with the dog.

Kathryn was served an abatement notice after the survey requiring her to reduce the level of barking.

Six more complaints about the barking were received by council and on August 8, 2013 council issued a final warning letter advising if complaints continued Kathryn would be required to remove the dog.

Two more complaints were recorded and a notice to remove was issued on August 27.

An emotional Kathryn told the committee today she is quite shocked at the amount of complaints, but is willing to keep the peace and take any council decision on the chin.

“I have tried everything. I have tried a collar, gone to pet shops for different sprays, and tried the internet for a better opinion about why is he barking,” says Kathryn.

“I think the easiest way is for him to be put down. It will be sad, I know that, but I can’t keep up with the stress.”

She has since purchased a de-barker collar and transmitter, which has been used since August 15. One verbal complaint has been reported since.

Committee chairman Wayne Moultrie decided to “throw the rule book out the window” and look for solutions in re-housing the dog away from the property, or temporarily moving the dog until the barking is reduced.

But Brent says a temporary arrangement is not the answer as Labradors are very situational barking dogs, where they may bark at one address and not another, and the barking could start again once he returns.

Kathryn admits Baxta does not leave the property for any proper exercise and if there was a possibility to re-home the dog she would be more than willing, but has no friends or family in rural areas.

“I just want to keep the peace and if he has to go he has to go.”

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We can help

Posted on 11-10-2013 08:20 | By Absolutely Precious Paws

Hi. We’d like to donate this lady a casual user card for our Doggy Day Care including a 20 minute walk. Her dog could have fun and run around with other dogs and be guaranteed a good time and a good night’s sleep. A combination of this and a good diet, some natural relaxing remedies and some behavioural training would go a long way to helping. We are happy to help. Lisa Hudson. Absolutely Precious Paws.


Posted on 10-10-2013 21:09 | By penguin

Sadly for you, Brent is talking sense. He obviously knows more about dogs than you. Different breeds behave in different ways to different situations. I suggest you Google various breeds and gain a better insight into dogs. That way you might end up eating your words about Brent’s "weak" answer!


Posted on 10-10-2013 20:50 | By Tyraone

Debarking could defuse the excessive barking. This is a veterinary surgical proceedure that is the cutting of the vocal cords in the throat. Or obtain Dvds or books on the,caesar millan method of training. My dogs are trained this way Nd are happy well discaplined and know their place in my heiracy One final observation how does one know that the dog concerned is not fretting for his deceased master? Maybe an elimentary course in canine obedience training could help both dog and owner.

get some training

Posted on 10-10-2013 17:46 | By rotovend

dogs especially labs are pretty smart and this dog is obviously miserable get it some exercise and some training by a professional no problem Once again an animal getting the blame for its owners mistakes


Posted on 10-10-2013 17:16 | By Heather

We have a golden lab 5yrs old, he just missing his owner!!! it’s sad, take’s along time for him to understand that his owner’s not home, we had the same thing, we were away for 11days and he cried/barked all he wanted was to be inside with family because that’s were I’m to be, my family even had a hard time with him till we got home and it all stop’d.. We even told all our neighour’s that we will be away and some one was not happy with him (dog),, give him some thing that has a cent on it and see what happen’s.. just an idea.

Love is the secret

Posted on 10-10-2013 16:32 | By zarak

When the owner finds that the easy way out is to put down her lovely pet that overstayed its welcome, you can see how the poor animal is completely given on his own devices. The solution seems to me to keep the dog inside at night, even in the bed room if that necessary, and deal with the bark yourself instead of living it to your neighbors. The moment the dog feels part of the family, will be no more bark.

Good Grief

Posted on 10-10-2013 16:07 | By Kathy

Let the dog sleep inside - it is simple. Take the dog for a walk before bedtime then bed him down in the kitchen in a nice warm soft bed and he will sleep all night like a baby. If this dog is having to sleep outside then find him another home with a family that will treat him as a member of that family. The dog is barking because he is lonely and bored and most probably cold. He is not a farm animal, he is a gorgeous family pet - treat him as one!

Confused animal

Posted on 10-10-2013 14:28 | By penguin

Two issues here. One, the dog does not get enough exercise. Two, it is thoroughly confused about what breed it is! Notwithstanding this, dogs need to be controlled and this includes barking. A community belongs to all who live there and no-one has the right to absolutely do as they please.

owners at fault

Posted on 10-10-2013 14:09 | By annon

Perhaps finding Baxta a home where they give him regular exercise is the simple solution?? too many owners blame the dog when they are kept in small yards and not let to run. we have neighbours who dont walk their large active dog so he gets upset and barks at everything, a simple walk a day would fix it!


Posted on 10-10-2013 13:12 | By gingerpussy

isnt there an operation that would stop this dog from barking and if the lady cant exercise the dog there are people that would. How sad that this lady will loose her best friend......

A dog only has one master!!!

Posted on 10-10-2013 12:39 | By Sambo Returns

maybe this dog misses his!!! re house and give it some T.L.C with exercise, a dog that bites has no where to go, but give this one a chance with a new loving family.


Posted on 10-10-2013 12:20 | By maccachic

That poor dog, dogs need excerise and company not locked up in a yard all day

Help By Members?

Posted on 10-10-2013 12:03 | By tabatha

Not going to dwell on EM’s thoughts but if the dog is not getting exercise there may be someone near by who could take the dog for a walk. Obviously loss of husband has not helped. The answer by Brent is weak and he needs to realise he gets paid by ratepayers and also good ways of keeping a dog alive must be good. Just hope he keeps well other wise the answer for him is put him down, because that is what he is saying, shame.

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