Stowmarket woman fined after barking dogs breach noise notice

General view of Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court

General view of Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court - Credit: PA

A Suffolk woman who left her dogs to bark so excessively that her neighbours felt like moving out of their home has been ordered to pay more than £2,000 by magistrates.

Fifty-year-old Melinda Griggs, of Poplar Hill, Stowmarket, was fined a total of £1,500 ordered to pay legal costs of £770 and a victim surcharge of £50 after pleading guilty to three offences of breaching a noise abatement notice at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on April 23.

Magistrates heard Mrs Griggs had left her German Shepherd and Labrador to bark in her rear garden for hours at a time during the day.

On one occasion the dogs barked around 625 times in seven minutes, and the sound of barking echoed around the street and could be heard clearly, even when indoors with doors and windows firmly shut.

Following complaints by Mrs Griggs’ neighbours, an investigation by Mid Suffolk District Council’s environmental protection team led to her being served with a noise abatement notice in November 2012.

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The notice required her to take steps to stop the dogs’ barking being a noise nuisance to local residents.

In September of last year, Mrs Griggs was found to have failed to comply with the notice on three occasions.

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Following the guilty plea, Mrs Griggs stated she was sorry, and that she would be taking steps to control her dogs.

James Buckingham, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ corporate manager for environmental protection, said:

“Most dog owners are responsible and realise they have to take steps if their dogs are barking excessively.

“In this case, Mrs Griggs did not think the barking was a nuisance, and neighbours complained the abatement notice had not stopped the problem.

“We carried out noise monitoring and witnessed breaches of the abatement notice several times.

“Mrs Griggs left her dogs outside and they were heard barking almost continuously for an hour at a time.

“Our officers described the barking as non-stop and manic and of such intensity inside the complainants’ property that it would interfere with having an ordinary conversation.

“The council never wants an investigation to end in prosecution and it is not something we take lightly.

“We always try to work hard with dog owners to resolve problems, as we did in this case, but when a nuisance continues we have no alternative but to prosecute.”

Residents in Mid Suffolk and Babergh districts can report noise nuisance problems by calling 01473 826622.

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