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Monday Dec 02, 2013

Kennel noise drives neighbouring property owners to court

The noise from a dog breeding kennel in Kameeldrift north of Pretoria has neighbours so barking mad that they have turned to court to try to stop the breeders operating from the property.

Christoffel van der Merwe, 74, asked the Pretoria High Court to restrain Cornelius Lues and his daughter Chanel from operating their Toy Pom breeding on the premises pending an attack on their right to operate the business from their smallholding.

Van der Merwe said in court papers the business had become a nuisance as the noise levels from the barking dogs was unreasonable and against regulations. He said he had appointed a private investigator - a former policeman - to establish exactly what business his neighbours were running.

The investigator established it was a dog breeding business that is registered with Kusa, the Kennel Union of Southern Africa.

The investigator had called the Lues's pretending to be interested in buying a puppy. That was how he established they bred and sold Toy Poms for between R4 000 and R6 000 each.

Van der Merwe then, at considerable cost, engaged the services of a town planner to ascertain whether the operation was legal.

He established that the property did not have business rights and so submitted that his neighbours may not breed and sell dogs from a private property - without first obtaining permission from the City of Tshwane to run a business.

He also contracted the services of a sound engineer, to measure the noise levels and said in his papers that the expert had found that he was not overly sensitive; a 'normal person' would complain about the barking levels.

Van der Merwe said it was clear that his neighbours were running an unlawful business.

'I am a pensioner and my financial means are limited. I would not have incurred the costs if I believed this matter could be resolved in another way.'
Van der Merwe added that if he failed in this application, he would have to sell his property and move. 'I will not be able to stay as it is unendurable.'
He said the value of his property was decreasing as a result of the nuisance.

He also doubted that he would find a buyer for his property with the 'ongoing nuisance'.

Cornelius Lues denied that the dogs were a nuisance and said Van der Merwe was the only neighbour who complained. He stated he and his daughter lived on the property and they were not bothered by any noise from the kennels.

He said they started the business a year ago and at the time they had established whether they were allowed to do so. As it was agricultural land, he said, they were well within their rights. 'I deny our hobby and activities are unlawful.'

He said he had also obtained the opinion of experts, who told him the business was lawful. 'The land is zoned for agricultural purposes and I need no further authority for my breeding hobby.'

Lues said the State veterinarian visited their property from time to time and had never recorded excessive barking or yelping.

He disputed the findings of Van der Merwe's expert and said in order to record barking, one needed specialised equipment. Lues said his own expert found that the dogs did not constitute a nuisance.

According to him their hobby had built a good reputation over the past eight years and to put a stop to this would cause him and his daughter irreparable harm.

Lues added that none of their friends or family who visited them ever complained of any noise.

He said he wanted to resolve this issue outside court, but it was clear this could not happen. 'It is clear that this vendetta has taken precedence over neighbourly relations.'

The matter will proceed at a date still to be determined, as the judge gave permission for further documents to be filed.

Pretoria News


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