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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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12 years of hell from neighbour’s yapping terriers

A couple say they have endured “years of hell” because of the almost constant yapping of 10 terrier dogs owned by their neighbour.

Retired heating engineer Ronald Wilson, 69, and his 57-year-old wife were so fed up with the barking Tibetan terriers owned by Fiona Mooney that they complained to Carlisle City Council.

At the city’s magistrates’ court, Mooney, of Millcrest, Kirklinton, near Carlisle, admitted an offence of failing to comply with a city council noise abatement notice served on her a year ago.

She was fined £100, and told to pay prosecution costs of £85 and a £20 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the case, Mr Wilson said the dogs, kept in a kennel a short distance from his house, could bark from as early as 5am until late at night.

“It’s been hell,” he said. “There’s no other way to describe it. It’s been going on for 12-and-a-half years.”

Even as Mr Wilson showed off his neatly kept garden, the dogs could be heard barking excitedly.

He added: “We are not dog haters. The people who live on the other side of us have two Labradors and they’re no problem at all.

“But when we come out into our garden to relax you hear the dogs [belonging to Fiona Mooney] all the time. It’s not good.

“We tried to complain five or six years ago and it got better for a while. But we complained this time to the city council in May last year, and we’ve had about 15 or 20 visits from council officers to monitor the noise level.

“Goodness knows how much it must have cost them to investigate it.”

In court, magistrates heard how, after getting the complaint in May last year, officials wrote to Mooney to tell her they were investigating. They installed noise monitoring equipment in Mr Wilson’s home.

This evidence, the court heard, showed clearly that the dogs were causing a “statutory nuisance”, and so a noise abatement notice was served on July 9.

There had since been numerous occasions when the dogs continued barking and so the prosecution for breaching the notice was brought.

Mooney, whose dog won a prize at Crufts in 2002, said in a letter to the court that she had lived at her house for 27 years and had no complaints until her neighbour moved in.

She claimed the level of noise was exaggerated.

Another neighbour wrote to the court stating the dog noise from the Mooney property was no worse than from other properties.

Despite carrying out insulation work on his home, Mr Wilson could still hear the barking, at times louder than his TV.

He said he could not enjoy his property – particularly the garden – and could not leave the windows open at night in the summer.

Mooney’s daughter Morgan, 28, said: “We lived in that house for 18 years before Mr Wilson came along and bought it from a man who had dogs.

“It’s true that in the eyes of the law my mother is guilty but we spend a lot of time with our dogs and that’s when they’re noisy, when we are with them.

“They’re fully coated dogs and require a lot of grooming and attention. You can’t show these particular dogs without spending a lot of time with them.But we’re selling the house because of this. What more could we do?”

Deborah Ward, 48, who lives a similar distance from the Mooney’s house to Mr Wilson, and is a dog owner, said: “I’ve lived here 28 years. We’ve heard the dogs, especially at feeding time, but it’s never impeded my life and as far as I know it’s not impeded the lives of my neighbours.”

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