DOGS have been the biggest cause of noise complaints in Wrexham for two years running.
Wrexham Council revealed that of the almost 700 complaints made to the authority about nuisance noise in 2010-2011, 293 or 42 per cent were about dog barking, a slight increase on the figures for 2009-2010.
The next biggest problem was loud music, accounting for 173 or 25 per cent of complaints, and the sound of heavy industry and DIY also got neighbours’ blood boiling.
Robert Johnston, principal manager for environmental protection and environmental enforcement, said: “We get a lot of complaints about TVs, radios and people’s voices but dogs’ barking has been the biggest source of noise for the last few years.
"The noise carries quite far so it makes sense that the majority of complaints tend to come from areas which are densely populated. The problem becomes bigger at night when other noise levels have died down.
“It can be very intrusive and can really cause serious sleep disruption when it’s repetitive.
“It can even be a problem during the day if neighbours happen to work at home or in the garden.”
There was just one complaint about an alarm sounding in the whole of last year compared to 16 in 2009-2010.
The figures come as this year’s Noise Action Week, which runs until Friday, has made dog barking the focus of its efforts.
Organisers hope raising awareness of the issue will lead to a fall in the number of complaints about noisy dogs, to match the significant reduction in those relating to alarms going off.
A special event will be held tomorrow between 1pm and 4pm at the Contact Wrexham office in Lord Street. Council environment department and RSPCA officers will offer advice.
Mr Johnston added: “Many dog owners who are out at work all day might not be aware their pets are causing such a problem and it’s not until they get a letter from us that they appreciate how much they’ve bothered their neighbours.
“There are things owners can do, such as get special collars which spray out a citrus smell dogs don’t like, which deters them, or take them for training.
“But if a dog is barking for a prolonged period of time, it is often because they’re not being walked or exercised enough and that’s something which needs to be addressed for the sake of the animal as well.”