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Noise nuisance from barking dogs leads to prosecution and hefty fine.

25 August 2023

South Ribble Borough Council have successfully prosecuted a Walton-le-Dale resident, after breaches of an abatement notice, relating to dog barking noise nuisance.

At Lancaster Magistrates' Court on 21 August 2023, Ms Rachael Whitaker, 47, pleaded guilty to all ten charges relating to breach of the abatement notice in February and March 2023.

An abatement notice, fines and warnings seemed to have no effect on Ms Whitaker in trying to improve the dog barking noise that was coming from her property, affecting the well-being of neighbours, with one describing the situation as "unbearable".

Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, South Ribble Borough Council Cabinet Member (Finance and Public Protection) said: "Residents should be able to live without being severely impacted by ongoing unrelenting noise nuisance.

"In this case we continued to pursue action against the person responsible, as previous attempts to resolve the issues did not result in improvement.

"This successful prosecution serves as a reminder of the need to show consideration to neighbours and that we will not hesitate to take action against those who negatively impact the lives of others."

Ms Whitaker of Higher Walton Road, Walton-le-Dale, had lived at the property for over two years during which time South Ribble Borough Council received numerous complaints about the noise barking dogs at the property.
She was initially visited by Council officers in January 2022 and as a result of their findings from noise monitoring, was served with an abatement notice in February 2022.

This was not enough to resolve the issue and further complaints were received with further monitoring being carried out, and an abatement notice being served, which required Ms Whitaker to control the dog barking to a level not to cause nuisance to occupiers of the adjacent properties.

The Council's experienced dog warden also visited Ms Whitaker to offer advice and suggestions of how to reduce the dog barking.

The issues and breaches of the abatement notice continued to cause negative impact on the lives of neighbours who at times also kept diaries of the noise nuisance to evidence the issues.

In August 2022 a prosecution was brought for 16 breaches of the abatement notice, and again in February 2023 when Ms Whitaker was fined £660 plus ordered to pay costs and victim surcharge.

This clearly had no effect as the situation continued with further breaches of the abatement notice occurring on dates during February and March 2023.

On 21 August 2023, at Lancaster Magistrates' Court Ms Whitaker pleaded guilty to all ten charges relating to breach of the abatement notice in February and March 2023.

The court took into account the sixteen convictions in earlier 2023 for breach of the same abatement notice.

She was fined £2,000, ordered to pay costs of £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £800.

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