Man's website solution after own barking dog problems
A WEBSITE to track complaints about barking dogs in Ipswich was borne from an entrepreneur's own problems with neighbourhood noises.
Aaron Brand's BarkUp! website was selected as the winner of November's Barkathon event.
A partnership between Ipswich City Council and Fire Station 101, Barkathon brought some of the region's best minds together to use ideas and technology to fix the problem of noisy dogs.
Mr Brand's website will provide tips for residents to deal with a neighbour's noisy canine and a questionnaire that will be automatically lodged with the council as a formal complaint.
The engineer, who only a few years ago had no web-development skills, has his own problems with neighbours' nuisance dogs.
"My own dog attends obedience classes and I am very proud of his behaviour - I don't allow him to bark," Mr Brand said.
"It seemed unfair to me that the neighbours could simply ignore their barking dogs.
"I wanted to say something to them but it always feels like the wrong time.
"I never wanted to get on their bad side so I just tolerated the noise."
With barking dog complaints not a problem exclusive to the Ipswich City Council, Mr Brand hopes the business will grow nationally.
"Managing complaints can be costly for councils so a web platform, used by the community to resolve their own complaints, would be beneficial," he said.
"Initial development will be in partnership with ICC but the final product could be adapted to any council in Australia or the world for that matter."
Up to $30,000 will be available for Mr Brand's site development after a rollout schedule is agreed to.
He hopes the web application will be ready to launch mid-2018.
Barking dogs are one of Ipswich City Council's most common service requests.
Health, Security and Community Safety Committee chair and division nine Councillor Sheila Ireland said traditional ways of addressing complaints could be resource-intensive as they are treated on a case-by-case basis.
Cr Ireland was optimistic the website would make the system more efficient while ensuring legal boxes could be ticked.
"If it came to the point we had to seize the dog we need to be able to prove to a court why that occurred," she said.
After an initial complaint about a noisy dog is made the council provides a fact sheet to its owner with tips on changing behaviour.