One Adelaide local council has been known in a recent case to advise people that action could only be taken within the extent of its powers.
The woman concerned said the council asked her to write a "barking diary", explaining about the neighbours two noisy dogs but did not accept subsequent invitations to come and listen to the barking themselves on three different occasions on three different weekdays.
She said the situation had left her so distressed at times that she sometimes felt suicidal and was an "anxious wreck" much of the time, which left her seeking a mental health plan.
Council said the evidence provided and information obtained by officers through their investigations and discussions with neighbours was insufficient enough to enable further action to be taken.
It also said neighbours had taken certain undertakings to manage the dog by keeping it inside when they were not at home.
Law applies to 'average' people.
Dog and Cat Management Board SA secretary Andrew Lamb said there were laws dealing with a dog persistently barking when it was considered unreasonable in terms of the peace and comfort of individual people.
The law is formulated for a reasonable person and it's not aimed at people with particular sensitivity," he said.
He said the South Australian laws changed about a year ago to prevent people needing to go to court, with each council having their own prosecutorial discretion about the circumstances.
This will usually require the complainant to fill out a diary, and based on that the council could issue a "barking dog control order", or might send officers out there "to have a listen themselves that corroborates the dairy".
"The council can impose a barking dog control order, and if that's breached then the council can expedite and there's no need to go to court," Mr Lamb said.
"The council is applying the law and the law applies to the average person, not somebody with a particular sensitivity."
From ABC Adelaide July 2018
By Malcolm Sutton Follow Malcolm on Twitter @malcolmsutton