Belfast Telegraph

Rowdy roosters fly coop leaving neighbour row court case up in the air

By Nevin Farrell

Rowdy roosters at the centre of a noise row have flown the coop - leaving a court case they were at the centre of in doubt.

A row erupted earlier this year over the cacophony of crowing from three cockerels living in the shadows of Slemish Mountain.

Neighbours near Broughshane in Co Antrim fell out over the disturbance after officials from Ballymena Borough Council were deployed and agreed to prepare a case for court because of non-compliance with a noise abatement notice.

But with court papers yet to be served, doubt has now been cast over the case after the owners of the roosters moved away.

Sandra Dowds' sons Johnny (25) and William (15) look after the roosters, and she told the Belfast Telegraph the family decided to move out of the two houses they rented at Rathkeel Road beside complainant Tracy Gordon (40).

Previously Mrs Dowds (51) had said the birds were a hobby for her sons, who breed them and had even won prizes at shows.

She said if anything was going to happen to the animals, they would rather move home to stay together.

When asked this week if the family had left their rented accommodation so they would not have to be parted from the roosters, Mrs Dowds (51) replied: "We don't want any more hassle, we moved away to get peace."

She declined to say where she was now living, apart from stating it was still in the Ballymena area.

She said the roosters still continue to crow at their new home but there had been "not a bit of complaint, not one person".

Mrs Dowds said that was the way it should be in the countryside, as cockerels crowing was part of life.

She said she hoped the case will now not go to court "as we have done what they wanted" by resolving the neighbourhood dispute.

Ms Gordon lives at Rathkeel Road with her daughters Marion (12), Alexandra (17) and, for part of the week, Samantha (20) when she returns home from university.

Ms Gordon said: "We can now get a good night's sleep. It is hard to explain the relief.

"This year has been horrendous and I was stuck with that noise since January."

She said a new neighbour had moved in to one of the two houses vacated by the Dowds.

She added that she had not heard anything from the council regarding the court case

A Ballymena Borough Council spokeswoman said: "We will endeavour to get in touch with both parties and investigate the situation and take it back for a decision if necessary."

Background

The Dowds family kept the roosters at the back of their previous homes at Rathkeel Road near Broughshane. But neighbour Tracy Gordon said the roosters were too noisy and started crowing as early as 3.30am, leaving her family sleep-deprived. She complained to Ballymena Council and officials investigated before a noise abatement notice was issued. Mrs Dowds said her two sons display the birds at shows and said they would move house before losing them.

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