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Weimaraner owners fined £1,000

THE OWNERS of two Weimaraner have been ordered to pay up more than £2,500 after failing to keep their pets quiet.

Robert James Leigh and wife Susan were this week found guilty of 10 counts of not complying with an abatement notice to keep their two pets from causing a noise disturbance.

The pair owners, both retired, had been raising their Weimaraners Bonnie and Becky since 2006, but neighbours complained to the authorities they could no longer enjoy peace and quiet after the dogs constantly barked. The couple appeared at Chester, Ellesmere Port and Neston Magistrates Court to face 11 counts of failing to comply with an abatement notice under section 80 of the Environment Protection Act, prohibiting a recurrence of a statutory noise nuisance arising from dog barking.

Prosecuting, Sion ap Mihangel said an abatement notice had been issued in November 2006 after several complaints had been made against the Leighs.

He said: "They include loud barking for extended periods, prolonged barking so as to cause a neighbour to live without respite, barking so loud that it would be difficult to hold conversations in the garden. The neighbours were woken in the early hours of the morning and also could not enjoy their own garden."

He added: "It's not a two stage test, you apply facts to the law. If the nuisance continues you take steps to ensure it does not continue."

Senior health officer at Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC), Tim Braithwaite, said the first complaint was made in August 2006 for excessive noise disturbances from barking and whining of dogs. There were three following complaints.

Robert said he and Susan had moved to their home in Cross o' th' Hill Road, Nomansheath, Malpas, in 2002 with two other dogs. After their two previous dogs had died, they purchased Bonnie and Becky and used to keep them in a shed when they went out. However, after receiving the abatement notice the couple had decided they needed to change their lifestyle.

Robert said: "We brought the dogs indoors. They stay indoors and one of us always stays with the dogs."If a person is with them they are happy and settled. Generally, I would say they do not bark.

Presiding magistrate Jane Krause said the Leighs had made no appeal against the abatement notice and found them guilty of failing to comply with the abatement notice for 10 of the 11 counts. She ordered each of them to pay a £500 fine, a victim surcharge of £15, and costs of £765.83. She said: "That's a total of £1,280.83 each. We make no separate penalties."

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