Strata laws about dogs: Young woman’s neighbours ‘mean’ over her dog with dementia
Sabrina Damiano, 36, has been ‘put through hell’ by her neighbours over her elderly dog, Rofie, both pictured
A young woman has been left in tears and wanting to move house after cruel neighbours continue to berate her over her elderly dog.
Sabrina Damiano, 36, bought her dream home in October last year, and moved in with her bunny and dog the following December.
Initially she was filled with excitement, after ‘working her a*** off’ to afford the property in one of Sydney’s most sought after beach-side suburbs.
But soon after the public relations executive was on the phone to her dad, sobbing, after receiving a ‘breach’ notice from body cooperate over her anxious, dementia-ridden pooch.
She told FEMAIL she called her dad as soon as she saw the legal note.
‘I was crying hysterically and told him I wanted to sell immediately, that I didn’t want to be near these people,’ she said.
Sabrina explained Rofie sometimes barked during the day, probably over being confused about where he is, because of his dementia.
But she has done everything she can to help minimise his discomfort, and therefore his stress, and is home with him most of the week.
‘I took him on the vet and he was put on proper medication for his anxiety, he takes two tablets a day as well as herbal supplements.
Sabrina bought the home in October, drama started in January and things became even more difficult in March when she was threatened with a breach notice
Sabrina posted this notice in the building after introducing herself to her neighbours
‘I went to PetBarn and spent like $2000 buying anything that claimed to be useful for anxiety, so that I could control his barking,’ she said.
She has also shuffled around her working week so that he isn’t at home alone very often.
‘I send him to doggy day care on Mondays, when I teach at university, and when I am at my PR job on Tuesdays and Wednesdays he is at home.
‘I work from home the rest of the time, take him to events when I can and decline invitations when I can’t,’ she said.
‘I also set up a camera in the house so I can see when he barks, and most of the time when I am out he is sleeping,’ she said.
She explained Rofie has dementia – so probably doesn’t understand where he is when he wakes up in the middle of the day
‘I won’t say he doesn’t bark, he does, but he is also a small dog, at the end of his life, it isn’t a loud bark,’ she added.
Sabrina says she gave her neighbours a heads up when she moved in last year, baking them cookies, taking them chocolate and introducing them to Rofie.
She also posted a sign in the common areas explaining that he would bark a bit when she wasn’t home, but that she was doing everything she could to reduce it.
But by January three of her elderly neighbours began expressing their concerns.
‘One of them called me a young d**khead,’ she said.
‘Another one asked me how much longer he would live, it’s horrific,’ she said.
The breach notice she received on the weekend claimed the barking, which happens on Tuesdays and Wednesdays was a breach of the other residents’ ‘peace and comfort’.
It also said that a further breach could come hand-in-hand with an $1100 fine.
Any after that and the fine could be doubled.
Sabrina said one of her neighbours called her a ‘young d**khead’ during a conversation about the dog
Sabrina, who has been working hard to keep her beloved pooch from barking was floored by the ‘inhumane’ response.
‘I checked with the other apartments and no one else has an issue, just these three,’ she said.
‘The woman who lives next to me even gives him treats,’ she added.
She added that ‘he isn’t barking at 3am’. It is more likely to be around the middle of the day, when he wakes up from his mid-morning nap.
She insists she is a great neighbour otherwise.
‘I am quiet, I don’t have people over, I even watch TV with my Air Pods in,’ she said.
Sabrina said she has even helped one of the ‘nasty’ neighbours.
‘She hurt her back and I opened the door for the ambulance and sat with her until they came. I gave her water and biscuits,’ she said.
The three neighbours who complain about the dog are ‘old’ she said.
‘This isn’t a retirement village, we are in the middle of a busy suburb, this is high-density living.’ she added.
‘There’s noise all around us.’
What’s the law around noise in NSW?
Most neighbourhood noise is regulated by local councils and police. Regulation may occur when the noise is “offensive” or a “nuisance”.
Offensive noise is defined in the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 as noise that by reason of its level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is made, or any other circumstances is:
– harmful to (or is likely to be harmful to) a person who is outside the place where the noise is coming from, or
– interferes unreasonably with (or is likely to interfere unreasonably with) the comfort or rest of a person who is outside the place where the noise is coming from.
For example, a type of noise might be particularly disturbing because it is made during the middle of the night when people are usually sleeping.
Noise from barking or howling dogs is a common problem between neighbours. The Companion Animals Act 1998 regulates pet ownership and sets out when a dog or a cat is a nuisance by making noise. A dog or cat will be a nuisance:
– if it is persistently making noise, and
– the noise unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any other person in another premises.
In addition to offensive noise, there are some sorts of noise that have limits on when they can be heard from inside someone else’s home. The table below lists these types of noise and the times when that noise must not be heard inside a neighbour’s home.
Musical instruments and other amplified noise such as CD players and the television:
Between midnight and 8am (Friday, Saturday and any day before a public holiday).
Between 10pm and 8am every other day.
Power tools and garden equipment such as lawn mowers and pool pumps:
Between 8pm and 8am (Sundays and public holidays).
Between 8pm and 7am every other day.
Between 10pm and 8am (Saturday, Sunday and public holidays).
Between 10pm and 7am every other day.
Cars on residential property (except when they enter or leave the property):
Between 8pm and 8am (Saturday, Sunday and public holidays).
Between 8pm and 7am every other day.
More than 90 seconds (for a car manufactured before 1 September 1997).
More than 45 seconds (for a car manufactured on or after 1 September 1997).
Building intruder alarms:
More than 10 minutes (if the alarm was installed before 1 December 1997).
More than 5 mins (if the alarm was installed on or after 1 December 1997).
Source: NSW Government