Summerhill couple fined £6,000 plus costs over barking dogs nuisance

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A COUPLE have been fined a total of £6,000 because of their barking dogs.

Stephen Edwards and Sharon Bagnell, who live on Bottom Road in Summerhill, were found guilty at Wrexham Magistrates’ Court for allowing their dogs to bark excessively causing a noise nuisance.

The couple were convicted in their absence after failing to turn up at court.

Magistrates fined each of them £3,000.

The court heard the dogs barked at various times of the day and night which resulted in complaints to Wrexham Council's public protection department.

Environmental health officers were sent to investigate and found there was a noise nuisance caused by the excessive barking of the couple’s two German Shepherds.

They were issued with a noise abatement notice which was breached on several occasions between November 2012 and March 2013, resulting in their prosecution.

Mr Edwards, 32, told the Leader he was “shocked” by the amount of the fine.

He said: “It’s a bit steep considering we have already got rid of the dogs.

“We were devastated to have to get rid of them, to be honest, and the little ones have been crying over it.

“And because they had gone I didn’t think there was a case to answer.

“But £6,000 is excessive for a dog barking, especially when there are other dog owners in the area that have their dogs barking.

“I realise dogs barking is annoying, it annoys me, but our dogs were wound up and as soon as I clicked my fingers they would stop.

“I think these dogs have a stigma about them because of their breed but they are not a bad dog and are a pleasure to own.

“I am annoyed and disheartened because two of our dogs have had to go.”

Mr Edwards says he has been working hard to find a good home for the two dogs and one has been sent to work with the prison service.

But one nearby resident said the dogs were a constant noise in the area.

He said: “I started to get annoyed because you couldn’t open the windows or anything.

“It would start about 5am when the postman came and it could go on until 11pm or so.

“But it would start barking if anyone walked past, They were guard dogs,0 not a house pets.

“It was just constant barking so we reported it to the council, along with several others.”

John Davies, whose house backs on to where the dog was kept, said he had no problem with the barking.

He said: “There are dogs barking all around here, some out the back and some out the front.

“But it wasn’t bad, it didn’t keep me up at night or anything.

The couple were fined for a total of six offences and must pay £3,000 each as well as £90 court costs and a £50 victim surcharge.

Cllr David Griffiths, Wrexham Council’s lead member for health and adult social care, said: “This is a good result which reflects the severity of the nuisance caused to neighbours who had to endure constant barking for prolonged periods of time.”

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