Woman allowed to keep 19 dogs - court

COUNCIL officials voiced their disappointment last night after the High Court ruled a woman was allowed to keep 19 dogs at her home, despite noise complaints.

Will Clarke

COUNCIL officials voiced their disappointment last night after the High Court ruled a woman was allowed to keep 19 dogs at her home, despite noise complaints.

Husky enthusiast Suzanne O'Connor, of Depden, near Bury St Edmunds, said she was thrilled with the verdict but she now fears St Edmundsbury Borough Council - which has been ordered to pay costs of more than £7,000 - might appeal the decision.

The saga stretches back to April last year when the council served an order on Mrs O'Connor and her partner Jonathan Tate limiting them to keeping seven dogs in their semi-detached house at Church End.


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But the 44-year-old appealed the decision to a planning inspector, who said she could keep all 19 animals and this decision has just been upheld in the High Court.

Deputy Judge James Goudie ordered the council to pay £7,104 legal costs.

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Mrs O'Connor said: “I am ecstatic I have won the case and I feel totally vindicated and they (the council) have egg on their face. It was the right thing to do to keep the dogs. I think the local authority made a mistake taking it to court.”

Judge Goudie said that the planning inspector had done enough in restricting the couple to owning 19 dogs at present, barring them from breeding for commercial purposes and limiting them to a maximum of seven dogs in the future as their existing pets pass away.

Terry Clements, St Edmundsbury portfolio holder for transport and planning, said: “We are disappointed with the verdict and we are checking it through to see where we stand.”

Graham Marler, clerk of Depden Parish Council, said: “Ever since the huskies arrived we have been against the dogs being there and we have supported St Edmundsbury's objections. It is a very emotive subject in Depden and we thought the High Court would take a different view.”

Depden resident Derek Harrington, who supported the parish council's stance on the issue, said: “As far as I am concerned it sends out the wrong message to the public - that it's acceptable to have that many dogs.”

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