Failing to stop your dogs barking could land you an unlimited fine

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Bad news for dog owners, but if your pup is particularly noisy you could face a hefty fine, no matter how cute they are.

If your dog has a habit of barking incessantly, this could cause you more than just a physical headache and annoyance for yourself and those around you, you also potentially could be landed with an unlimited fine.

Whilst of course all dogs bark, it is the owners responsibility to manage their pet and ensure they are kept under control.

Failure to stop your dog excessively barking could actually land you in trouble with the law, Plymouth Live have reported.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, any noise heard from you premises that is likely to cause injury to a person’s health or interfere with their enjoyment of their property can be considered a ‘statutory nuisance’.

This therefore includes any animal kept in such a place or manner as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance ’ – or, as is further explained under the government guidance, ‘barking dogs’.

Meaning that local authorities, such as the police, have a duty to investigate any noise complaints issued by people living in the area.

Where necessary, they can take formal action, with dog owners potentially facing an unlimited fine if they end up in a magistrates’ court.

So if your neighbours' pup is keeping you up at night, you are within your rights to alert the authorities and let them handle it.

One poor dog owner, from Southam in Warwickshire, was fined a total of £9,304 in January 2020.

The Environmental Protection Act explains the owners are 'liable on summary conviction for a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale ’, as well as ‘a further fine… for each day on which the offence continues'.

Level 5 offence fines were previously capped at a maximum of £5,000, but this rule has since been scrapped and they are now subject to an unlimited fine.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) explained to TeamDogs: “For crimes committed after 13 March 2015, level 5 has been done away with and all criminal penalties expressed as being punishable on summary conviction by a maximum fine of £5,000 or more, or expressed as being a level 5 fine, are now punishable by a fine of any amount.

"That’s as a result of section 85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.”

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