Dog ‘Asbo’ for couple whose whippets barked 923 times in an hour
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
A couple whose dogs barked hundreds of times an hour will only be allowed to keep four of their whippets at a time - and must not breed puppies at home.
Michael and Irene Gant, 77 and 74, of Weston Road, Norwich, were on Monday given a three-year criminal behaviour order in Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court following a trial on October 5.
Chair of the bench Anita Hennington said an order limiting the number of dogs to four was the only way to provide some relief for the Gants’ neighbours.
Victoria Jempson, prosecuting, revealed 788 recordings of barking had been submitted to Norwich City Council between June and September.
On one occasion, a dog barked 322 times in 10 minutes, and on another, 923 barks were heard in an hour.
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Mr Gant protested, saying the recordings were “manufactured” and that his neighbours were “fanatical” about filming them.
Mr Gant said: “We feel constantly watched and filmed, and unwelcome in our own home. There is so much interference from the council and the RSPCA in our lives that my wife has had a stroke which paralysed the left hand side of her body.”
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He added: “I think of myself as a canine specialist, and I would say it’s not possible to bark that many times in 10 minutes.
“My dogs are clearly being incited to bark by other dogs, and often the seagulls and birds that fly overhead. We’ve seen our neighbours deliberately shaking at our fence to incite the noise themselves so they can film us.”
Richard Divey, a council public protection officer, said he had counted the number of barks on each occasion.
Mr Gant’s next-door neighbour dismissed accusations of “inciting” the dogs, but said that since the court case on October 5, the noise had subsided as the Gants had got rid of some of their dogs.
Mr Gant said all but four of their dogs had been rehomed since the trial, which was like “cutting off my own arm”.
He said: “We breed our own whippets - they’re all kennel club registered and tip-top. I’ve even got a picture of me at an international dog show in Sweden, which shows I can control my dogs.”
Ms Hennington said it was a “neighbourly dispute which has escalated because of inactivity”.
The couple were fined £200 each, a victim surcharge of £32 each and ordered to pay £2,500 in prosecution costs.
Ms Jempson revealed that court costs had hit £14,000.