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Home   Folkestone   News   Article

Cheriton couple appeal £6k fine over barking dogs after Shepway District Council prosecution

24 January 2014
by Sam Lennon

Samantha Kane, 33, is accused of breaking a noise abatement notice 25 times after neighbour complaints.

But she believes much of the barking was by other dogs in the neighbourhood and the authorities cannot prove otherwise. 

Samantha Kane's dogs Effie, left, and Chilli

Samantha Kane's dogs Effie, left, and Chilli

Mrs Kane, of Firs Lane, Cheriton, said: "I am going to have to appeal. My husband and myself are ordinary working people and we haven't got that sort of money to pay.

"We have not been given the evidence that it has been our dogs barking all the time. There are two or three other dogs nearby and we have recordings of them barking."

The 33-year-old care worker and her 38-year-old husband Steve, a site manager, have two Weimeraner hunting dogs, three-year-old sisters called Chilli and Effie.

First neighbour complaints came to Shepway District Council's environmental protection department in March 2012 and with barking continuing the council imposed a noise abatement notice on September 6, 2012.

"We have not been given the evidence that it has been our dogs barking all the time. There are two or three other dogs nearby and we have recordings of them barking..." - Samantha Kane

Neighbour complaints continued and Mrs Kane pleaded guilty to breaking the notice 11 times at Dover Magistrates' Court.

She was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay a total of £515, made up of £350 compensation to a neighbour, £150 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

There had been a third adult Weimeraner - a male called Zane - who had a loud, deep bark, but he was moved on last February.

Mrs Kane said: "It was for that reason that I put my hand up. But I don't accept that since then all the barking has been down to our dogs.

"I just know of just of two occasions. Once was when a council officer was at the gate so of course it would happen."

Mrs Kane was accused of breaking the notice a further 14 times between last April and September.

Shepway council, which described Mrs Kane as a dog breeder, said the noise was at its worst each time a litter of puppies was born.

Mrs Kane said just two litters were born, one of nine puppies to Effie last April, and another to Chilli in the winter of 2011/12.

All were sold on, Effie's within their first couple of months.

Mrs Kane said: "They have made it sound like we're puppy farmers. We're just an ordinary couple and our dogs are our babies."

Shepway councillor Rory Love

Shepway councillor Rory Love

A hearing for the further allegations was set for Canterbury Magistrates' Court last December 3. Mrs Kane failed to attend and she was found guilty in her absence.

Mrs Kane said she did not attend because she did not receive the summons. A follow-up hearing was set for December 17, but Mrs Kane was unable to attend because of an emergency at work. She informed the court.

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The court that day imposed a total fine of £5,000 for all 25 breaches, plus another £700 in neighbour compensation, £150 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

This was a total £5,870 to be paid in 28 days, but Mrs Kane lodged an appeal to the court on January 7, which delays the payment. A date for that hearing is due to be set.

Shepway council believes it took the right action against Mrs Kane, saying it had first tried to resolve the problem informally.

But it says the noise occurred day and night and it had a duty to protect neighbours from nuisance.

Cllr Rory Love, cabinet member for the environment, said: "Shepway tried to resolve this matter informally, but in the end had no choice but to take this to court.

"Everyone is entitled to enjoy their home life in peace and this council will always act to help our residents who suffer disturbance from irresponsible neighbours."

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