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Wednesday Dec 04, 2013

Victory for property owner in dog noise spat

Former National Party government minister Stoffel van der Merwe, who earlier complained about his neighbours' noisy dog breeding activities and turned to the courts, scored a victory when a judge found the kennel was being illegally operated as it contravened the restricted title deed provisions regarding this property.

The retired former politician, now 74, earlier told the Pretoria High Court he wanted to retire in peace and quiet on his smallholding, but that the noise from the barking dogs had become unbearable.

He asked the court to restrain Cornelius Lues and his daughter Chanel, from operating their kennel business from their home. Their land borders Van der Merwe's. He also based his application on the restrictive titled deed conditions pertaining to his neighbours' land.

Both parties obtained the services of an expert to record the noise levels. The findings of Van der Merwe's expert was that the barking was of such intensity that any normal person would complain.

The respondents were due to submit the findings of their expert at a later stage, as another judge gave permission for the filing of further affidavits.

The matter subsequently came before Judge Hans Fabricius, who found that the Lues family were in contravention of the provisions of their property's title deed. The title deed conditions stipulated that only one house could be built on the property and that the land shall be used for residential and agriculture purposes only.

It was specifically noted that no business could be conducted from the land without prior written approval of the local authority.

Judge Fabricius said it couldn't be disputed that the Lues family operated an extensive dog breeding business from this premises and that there were about 60 small dogs on the property. The pups, who were KUSA registered, were sold for between R4 000 and R6 0000 each.

The title deed prohibited any business 'whatsoever' being run from this property. The judge said it thus followed that the activities on the Lues property were prohibited by the relevant title deed. He added that as he had decided on the deed, there was no need to decide on whether the dogs' barking posed a nuisance or not.

But the judge ordered that the respondents had to terminate their dog breeding activities within 30 days. They must also pay all Van der Merwe's legal costs. His lawyer, Charl Groenewald, said Van der Merwe was very happy with the verdict'.

Pretoria News


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