Published: 06:00, 20 August 2021
A charity sanctuary has been left without electricity after its power generator caught fire – in a bid to appease the council.
The Happy Pants Ranch in Sittingbourne put its generator in an insulated shed after it was issued with official noise abatement notices by Swale council in July.
The notices required the charity to remedy the noise from the generator within 28 days, and the daily noise from animals including cockerels, geese, sheep, cattle and dogs within 90 days or face prosecution.
Since then, founder Amey James said the charity had moved its generator from one shed to another, which was insulated, in the hope it would be more soundproofed.
However, on Monday, it caught on fire.
Amey said: "We built a new shed for the generator to try and satisfy the council and make it more soundproofed before the deadline, but it set on fire.
"It was in a shed before so we didn't think it would be an issue, but maybe having the double insulation held the heat in as well as the noise – it was definitely quieter."
She added: "Luckily it didn't explode or anything. We noticed the smell from the caravan and was able to put the fire out with the hose before it got out of control but it was pretty scary.
"Soon after that, the generator decided it'd had enough and packed up for good – so we’re now without electricity at the sanctuary. There's no electricity in any of the sheds or crew room. There's no power at all here now."
The charity is now in need of a new primary power generator that has a minimum of 20 kilowatts.
"It's annoying because before we moved it there was nothing wrong with the generator," Amey said. "In having had to move it for the council it has backfired on us. It's now costing us another £7,000 or so to replace.
"It does really feel, at the moment, that we're having a massive run of bad luck – we need some positive news for a change."
The charity was first given a written warning back in April ordering it to stop “allowing animals on the land to make an unreasonable level of noise”.
It specifically referred to the ranch’s 20 geese and 50 cockerels, and a generator on the site. The charity was then told, at the time, it faced being slapped with a fine of up to £2,500.
However, in July the ranch was given a timescale to stop the noise, which also included sheep, cattle and dogs, or it could be prosecuted and handed an unlimited fine.
The noise complaints came after the rescue centre – a sanctuary for 350 unwanted or abandoned animals from cows, dogs, ducks and sheep to goats, parrots, pigs and more – moved from its previous base at Yelsted to the new site earlier this year.
Anyone who might be able to help the ranch should email email@example.com or message The Happy Pants Ranch Facebook page.