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The Happy Pants Animal Ranch near Sittingbourne fears noisy cockerels will have to go

The founder of a charity animal sanctuary says she would be devastated to have to get rid of its cockerels after being told they are still a “nuisance”.

Last month Amey James, of The Happy Pants Animal Ranch, in Iwade Road, Bobbing, near Sittingbourne, feared she could end up being fined £2,500 after complaints were made about its noisy geese and cockerels. About 20 geese and 50 cockerels live on the site.

Founder Amey James, with cockerels, at The Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary in Iwade Lane, Bobbing
Founder Amey James, with cockerels, at The Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary in Iwade Lane, Bobbing

The ranch had been asked to stop “allowing animals on the land to make an unreasonable level of noise” by Swale council. Noise was also said to be coming from a generator at the site.

The 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.

Amey said she had put things in place to help reduce any noise, including blacking out the windows of the cockerel barns to keep them from crowing at sunrise and trying to encourage the geese to use a pond further away from neighbours. The generator was also put in a shed and soundproofed.

But, after more noise monitoring by Swale council, the 37-year-old now fears the cockerels will need to be removed from the sanctuary entirely.

In an email to the ranch, the authority said the noise was “again, a nuisance”, “mainly due to the cockerels this time”.

It also said that cockerels were “extremely intrusive birds and this is why they so often end up in rescues, but having so many together in an area really isn’t acceptable unless we can reduce the noise drastically or remove them from the land”.

Terry, a cockerel at The Happy Pants Ranch
Terry, a cockerel at The Happy Pants Ranch

It added that it would like to get the matter resolved with the ranch “without the need to take legal action”.

Amey said: “It would be nothing short of devastating for the sanctuary to have to stop taking cockerels in and, even worse, to have to remove the ones living here because we are one of the very few charities able to take them in due to space and funding. Closing our doors would be simply signing these animals a death warrant.”

She added: “The sanctuary has been providing a service to many councils for the 10 years since it was established, by offering a home to the public where cockerels are living in residential and urban areas and causing a real noise disturbance to people.

"It’s very sad the charity is now under fire for something it has always done.”

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