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Court orders woman to cut dog numbers at kennels as ‘howling and barking’ is disturbing neighbours

PUBLISHED: 13:02 11 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:01 12 August 2018

The owner of boarding kennels in Norfolk has been told to cut the number of animals kept there. File photo of dogs. Picture Getty Images.

The owner of boarding kennels in Norfolk has been told to cut the number of animals kept there. File photo of dogs. Picture Getty Images.

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The owner of a boarding kennels where the incessant barking and howling of dogs became a serious nuisance will have to cut the number of animals kept there.

Sharon Tidnam had first brought kennels into use on part of their land at Low Farm, Topcroft, in 1988 when there were just five units in operation.

Extensions over the years, including the construction of 12 new dog kennels in 2013 as well as a new block in 2014, meant 40 dogs could be housed.

But Norwich Magistrates Court heard that the “howling and barking” of dogs from within the kennels had resulted in a statutory nuisance.

Last month District Judge Michael Snow ordered that no more than 25 dogs will be able to be kept there at any one time.

He also ruled that the kennels constructed in 2014 shall be prohibited from use from August 1 2018 subject to works being carried out being approved by South Norfolk Council.

These are among measures put in place after Tidnam was found by the court to have caused a statutory nuisance between July 1 2016 and August 23 2017. She was given 21 days to appeal the court’s decision but has not done so.

Matthew McNiff, who lives close to Low Farm, brought a private prosecution against Tidman, formerly a good friend, following an increase in noise from the kennels.

Mr McNiff, a barrister, and his wife initially took no action but attempts to resolve the matter amicably failed resulting in the private prosecution.

The court heard Mr McNiff and his wife kept a diary of the disturbances and made recordings which showed the couple being awoken by the dogs.

He said the noise frequently prevented him from sleeping properly, had affected his work, prevented him from opening windows or having friends round. He now hated the house while his wife gave evidence that the noise had destroyed the house she loved.

Tidnam conceded that a “couple of times” in the summer of 2017 some dogs were “really barking” but said there was nothing she could do.

District Judge Snow said he was satisfied that a combination of the nature of the barking, its frequency, duration unpredictability and timing amounted to a statutory nuisance. Tidman was also ordered to pay court costs to Mr McNiff totalling £38,000.

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