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Ruff justice Judge orders owner to hand over 'barking dog' due to noise impact on neighbour

In evidence, Mr Shannon said that the “large dog has been barking for as long as I have been there and that’s 11 years”

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A judge has ordered the surrender of a barking dog to the local dog warden due to the continual noise disturbance on a neighbour in Ennis, Co Clare.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Mary Larkin has directed that Ennis woman, Geraldine O’Loughlin deliver her ‘German Shepherd like’ dog to the Dog Warden.

Judge Larkin made the order in response to an application by Ms O’Loughlin’s neighbour, Shane Shannon of Gort Rd, Ennis under legislation concerning the control of dogs.

Judge Larkin concluded that the barking dog “is interfering substantially with Mr Shannon’s life."

Judge Larkin made the order under a little known provision of the Control of Dogs Act 1986 where a judge can make an order requiring the elimination of a nuisance caused by the “excessive barking” of an ‘unwanted dog’.

In evidence, Mr Shannon said that the “large dog has been barking for as long as I have been there and that’s 11 years."

Mr Shannon said that the dog’s barking would go on all day “for two and a half hour periods at a time."

He said: “The dog has been barking a hundred times a day.”

Mr Shannon said that he spoke to Ms O’Loughlin about the dog but the barking continued.

In response to his ‘barking concerns’ Mr Shannon said that Ms O’Loughlin told him "That is what dogs do. Sure what harm is it?”

He told the court: “She laughed into my face.”

Mr Shannon said that he works in horticulture and has a potting shed at the end of his garden but was forced to abandon working there due to the dog constantly barking from the garden next door.

Mr Shannon said that the dog meet the definition of an ‘unwanted dog’ under the Act stating that the dog “hasn’t got much affection and I would say he is lonely and not cared for”.

He said: “To be honest it is immensely upsetting to listen to an animal like that. He is fed twice a day when food is thrown out the back door to him. I never hear anyone playing with the dog or saying hello to the dog.”

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Mr Shannon said that the dog was never brought outside the garden over the past 11 years and never brought into the home.

Asked by Judge Larkin what is the dog’s name, Mr Shannon said: “I never heard the dog being called by its name or heard anyone being nice to the dog.”

At the outset of the case, Judge Larkin said that the court registrar received an email from Ms O’Loughlin stating that she wouldn’t be coming to court as the dog has been put down.

However, Mr Shannon said that he would prefer to press ahead with the case stating “I don’t trust anything she says."

After hearing Mr Shannon’s evidence, Judge Larkin ordered that the dog delivered to the dog warden to be dealt with by him in accordance with Control of Dogs Act as it is an unwanted dog.

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