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Willesborough dog owner Russ Lawrence fined £2,500 by Ashford Council over his barking dogs

By Robert Barman

A dog owner has been fined £2,500 after his pets’ constant barking made his neighbours’ lives a misery.

Russ Lawrence, of Gladstone Road, South Willesborough, was prosecuted by Ashford Borough Council after his dogs, believed to include a large alsatian and several mastiffs, kept making noise at all hours of the day and night.

It followed 10 complaints from residents dating back to 2006 about the dogs barking at his property, and several visits by the council’s environmental health officers in an attempt to address the problem.

A noise abatement notice was served and after the barking continued Mr Lawrence, who is in his 40s, was taken to court for breaching it.

He failed to attend two court appearances, the latest of which was before Canterbury magistrates on January 17, and was issued with a £2,500 fine.

Mr Lawrence has also been ordered to pay £2,000 in court costs.

Ward member Cllr David Smith (Ind), who was handed a petition of 50 signatures about the noise, said: “It had been going on for a period of time.

They were letting the dogs out and then going to work and they would go on barking throughout the day.

“They were just going on barking, barking and barking incessantly.”

“The residents said they’re sad it went the way it did but they had three to four years of this constant barking and they hoped that by involving the council they could intervene.”

An anonymous neighbour said: “Sometimes they just bark all day. I get so angry.

“To have it constantly all day in the summer is a nightmare.”

A woman at the property said Mr Lawrence was not there but they did not want to comment.

She said: “The council officer sat outside in her car with her window down so obviously the dogs were going to bark.”

For full story see today's Kentish Express.

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