herald

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Dog that never stopped barking taken off owner

THE OWNER of an "incessantly barking" German shepherd dog is to have his pet taken away by court order after calming technology failed to curb the noise.

Trevor Ward was told he would have to hand his dog over to a warden after his neighbour made complaints that it was barking continuously for up to nine hours.

Elizabeth Lawless took Mr Ward to Dublin District Court over the noise nuisance, saying she could not open her window without feeling like the dog was in her house.

Judge David McHugh found in her favour after hearing the noise had continued despite a previous court order.



Unwanted

The judge ordered Mr Ward to give the German shepherd to the warden, who would deal with it "as if it was an unwanted dog".

Ms Lawless, who lives two doors away on Ballyfermot Road, said the noise would start around 9am when Mr Ward left for work and continue until 6pm or later.

"It's a ferocious, continuous, high-pitched noise, it's been going on for nearly three years," she said. "I don't dispute that there are plenty of dogs in the area, but he has a very prominent bark and I have seen him. It's very disturbing. I am a dog lover; I had a dog for 12 years. This dog is just on his own most of the time and is obviously in distress."

A neighbour, Robert Keogh, said he lived three doors from Mr Ward.

"It's incredible, the dog just barks and barks and doesn't seem to draw breath," Mr Keogh said. "I have seen one neighbour up on the railing screaming at the dog and throwing potatoes at it." Mr Ward denied that his dog was barking as much as Ms Lawless said it was. He said he had built walls around his back garden in an effort to improve the situation.

"I have bought a sonic dog silencer pro from the US," he continued.

"It emits a high-pitched sound which subdues the dog and is used by the US army and US police forces. It is the most effective technology of its kind in the world. I have seen it work; I have seen the reaction of the dog to the machine."

He said his next-door neighbour, Heidi Sommers, was there when Ms Lawless phoned about the noise and the dog was actually asleep in the kitchen.

Ms Sommers, an Aer Lingus air hostess, told the court the dog never bothered her, even when she was over-tired from long, cross-Atlantic shifts.

Judge McHugh said he accepted the complainant's evidence.

"I direct that the dog be delivered to the dog warden to be dealt with as if it were an unwanted dog," he said. The order was effective within 21 days.

aphelan@herald.ie

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