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Animal nuisance

Contributed by Anahita Surya and current to March 2022

What are my rights and responsibilities?

It is the responsibility of animal owners and carers to exercise care and ensure that their animals do not cause harm or nuisance.

Some common forms of nuisance include (Part 6, s107-114C, Domestic Animals Act 2000 (ACT)). 
  • damage to property owned by a person other than the keeper;
  • excessive disturbance to a person other than the keeper because of noise; or
  • danger to the health of an animal or a person other than the keeper.
Resolving the issue in a friendly manner is best for all parties involved. If you need mediation support, contact the ACT Conflict Resolution Service on 6189 0590 (main office)for confidential and affordable assistance. If unsuccessful, you can make a formal complaint.

To talk to someone about your dispute, contact the Legal Aid ACT Helpline (9am to 4pm on weekdays) on 1300 654 314.

How do I lodge a complaint against my neighbour for animal nuisance?

Send an Animal Nuisance Complaint Form to Domestic Animal Services (DAS). DAS will advise your neighbour of the complaint and give them two weeks to address the issue. If this is unsuccessful, provide DAS with a second complaint letter. DAS will then begin a formal investigation.

DAS may issue a Nuisance Order to your neighbour, requiring them to address their animal’s behaviour. If the issue persists, DAS can issue an infringement notice. Breach of an infringement notice is a serious offence and can lead to proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court.

For more info, seethe Access Canberra animal nuisance page.

What if my neighbour’s animal is on my property?

This may constitute trespass. Refer to Trespass.

Pets and Unit Title

Can I keep a pet in a unit?

You can keep pets with the consent of the owners corporation (s 32, Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011 (ACT)). However, the owners corporation can deny permission as long as it is not unreasonable. You can seek an order from the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) if you disagree with the owners corporation’s decision. Similarly, your owners corporation can apply to ACAT if you continue to keep your pet without permission.

Note that only the pet owner and owners corporation can apply to ACAT for a pet determination.

What can I do about animal nuisance as a neighbour in a unit title property?

Most owners corporations will have rules on noise, nuisance, property damage etc. Depending on these rules, you may be able to make a complaint to your owners’ corporation for breach of owners corporation rules.

The section on unit title in this chapter provides more information on unit title disputes and complaint mechanisms.

You can also make a nuisance complaint to DAS (see How do I lodge a complaint against my neighbour for animal nuisance?)

Useful resources

Animal Nuisance, Access Canberra

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