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Row over noisy roosters won't go to court as owners fly coop

By Nevin Farrell

Published 11/08/2015

Johnny Dowds with one of his cockerels
Johnny Dowds with one of his cockerels
Neighbours Tracy Gordon and daughter Marion

A dispute over rowdy roosters in the shadow of Slemish Mountain has been resolved and will not go before the courts.

A potential legal fight was on the horizon after the rumpus erupted over the cockerels in Broughshane and the noise police were called in.

Rathkeel Road resident Tracy Gordon (41) complained about persistent crowing from roosters in a coop just 20ft from her home, claiming they often woke her family as early as 3.30am.

The owners of the animals - next-door neighbours the Dowds family - were told by noise abatement officials at the then Ballymena Borough Council to make sure the birds kept quiet.

But after several orders were breached the council instigated legal action and was preparing to take the family to court.

However, rather than potentially being separated from their prize-winning roosters, which they regularly enter in competitions, the Dowds family left their rented property and took the birds with them.

Despite that, they still faced legal action until a spokesman for the new Mid and East Antrim Borough Council confirmed that the matter had been resolved and that court would not be needed.

The spokesman said: "After taking legal advice in the matter of the alleged noise nuisance at Rathkeel Road, a formal caution was offered and accepted by the owner of the roosters."

There have been similar high-profile cases in villages across England in recent years, but this is believed to have been the first one here.

A relieved Ms Gordon, who had previously vowed to leave her home if the birds remained, said she was glad the case had ended and even happier that she could get a night of undisturbed sleep. She added: "As far as I was concerned the minute they (the Dowds) moved out, that was it finished with.

"It is a relief that it is over. I had a lot of support from a lot of people who said they would not have been able to have put up with the noise and were glad I made a stand.

"I'm also glad the Dowds moved somewhere where the roosters aren't causing a nuisance to anybody, so it is a win-win situation."

Ms Gordon now has two new neighbours, neither of whom own roosters. She said she had not been trying to victimise the Dowds and pointed out that there were other roosters nearby who did not wake her family. "It was because the Dowds' roosters were 20ft from my door and they started at half-three in the morning," Ms Gordon explained.

"It was unbelievable and it is fantastic that it has been resolved. I have got myself back to work full-time now and I wouldn't have been able to do that with the lack of sleep I was getting and getting awakened at half-three in the morning. It would have been physically impossible - I would have been mentally and physically exhausted."

Despite several calls yesterday, Sandra Dowds did not respond with a comment. She previously said the family had decided to move out of the two houses they rented rather than lose the birds.

Row over noisy roosters won't go to court as owners fly coop

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