COUNCILS throughout the state have been allocated the task of enforcing the Dog Control Act 2000. They don’t want the job but until it’s allocated to another institution, for example the security companies, then they are lumbered with it whether they like it or not. Because of the costs and the time involved, and a council’s general responsibility to keep ratepayers’ financial burdens as low as practicable, councils have found various ways to wriggle free from the loose grasp of duty. One of the most popular ways is to simply deny that an obvious problem actually exists. Another is to pretend to investigate a complaint and then declare that the investigation found that the complaint had no real substance. The most common Noise complaint that councils receive is that of barking. This is because so many owners are ignorant morons quite unsuited to dog ownership and because of society’s general belief that keeping an animal that’s been congenitally programmed to free range is a service to the dog. In truth it’s an unnatural cruelty inflicted on a naively trusting creature with the mental faculties of a two year old child. This selfishness compares with keeping a two year old child confined to a kennel. Tasmania’s Dog Control Acts have never delineated measurable standards by which a dog’s barking may be quantified. This leaves a council’s Animal Management staff unable to determine whether or not a particular barking prosecution will succeed in court. They have therefore decided not to bring prosecutions except in the most extreme cases. What councils need, and what they have every right to have, is clear guidelines on the barking circumstances delineating the transition zone between what is legally acceptable barking - and that determined by health professionals which is not. It’s not only councils which have this right; the owner and the courts needs this knowledge, too. In their frustration, councils have sought ways to reduce this dilemma. One  method, still used in some places, is the allocation of authorised time slots for barking, for example six minutes of daytime barking per hour in the daytime, and thee minutes per hour at night. This has not generally proved successful. Who has time to continuously stand by with a stopwatch? In recent years another idea has been trialled with some success. Animal Behaviour Systems is a Melbourne company which supplies an Australian-designed dog collar fitted with electronic sensors that log its wearer’s barks over a period, for example ten days. This collar’s performance has been evaluated by South Australia’s Onkaparings council using co-operative dog owners, and now Victoria’s Knox City Council is seeking to have the collar mandatority fitted whether the owner of a allegedly barking dog likes it or not. Click the tab below for the story. Australia’s anti-Noise, anti-barking activists are against the use of this collar except where an owner, needing proof that his dog is a chronic barker while he’s at work or otherwise absent from home, may be relied upon to be absolutely genuine in his desire to be convinced. In every other circumstance the use of this collar is fraught with the potential for mischief. The most predictable scenario is that the owner will modify the dog’s normal behaviour by altering its usual living circumstances - for example by relocating the dog to a rural area for the duration of the monitoring period. In this case the downloaded record could indicate that the dog may really be a very quiet dog, but this erronious evaluation carries the insidious implication that the complainant’s allegation was unjust, or even worse, that he is a liar. Pending further reports, Quiet Tasmania does not endorse the use of the Electronic Bark- counting Collar in any circumstance where the owner’s integrity is not absolutely reliable.