THERE ARE REASONS WHY COUNCILS REFUSE TO ENFORCE THE BARKING CONTROL LEGISLATION One major reason why councils wilfully ignore barking allegations is their abhorrence of the time and costs involved in doing so. But councils can make good money by issuing infringement notices, so the question becomes .. why don’t they? In short, it’s because of the nature of our legal system, particularly on its demand for proof that an alleged offence actually occurred. This insistence on proof is our protection, but it’s also an ongoing curse on an offender’s victim. The legal system’s noble intention is to prevent an injustice occurring. The challenges imposed upon councils are significant because they always have to consider than a ticketed offender may challenge his penalty in court. In Tasmania the fine for a barking offence is currently $240 - the same as for a general Noise offence such as the offensive din from electronic equipment at prohibited times. To forensically prove an event in court is often far harder than one would first think. The victim of barking knows all too well that he’s being assaulted by noise and he naturally thinks that any fool and his uncle who hear the din will instantly agree. Alas, it just ain’t so easy. Special detailed attention has to be focussed on the matter during a council’s official investigation, and it has to exercise extreme care in everything it does. It has to look ahead and plan for the offender’s legal challenge just in case there is one. It has to amass proof that can withstand hurricane and earthquake. It’s all the costs associated with this task that send councils into denial mode. For them, this is their escape route – and they won’t close it no matter who suffers, or how many, or how much. Perhaps the greatest deterrent to barking law enforcement is the absence of any quantitative standard of legally acceptable proof. Nebulous subjective terms such as “unreasonable” and “excessive” are never defined, so nobody knows where they stand on the issue.