What Bracknell Thinks: Should public money be spent prosecuting people with noisy animals?By Hugh Fort
March 13, 2012
Henry Purvey of Sandhurst was prosecuted for the incessant crowing of his two pet cockerels last week.
He branded the action by Bracknell Forest Council a “huge waste of money” and asked how it was possible for cockerels to stop crowing.
We asked our panel whether it was right to use public money to prosecute people with noisy animals.
Henry Ellis of Bracknell Aikido Club: “This is one occasion when public money is very well spent. Quality of life is what makes life worth living.
“Unfortunately I am surrounded by five individual dog lovers – they love their dogs so much they all go out to work full time and leave the dogs barking all day.
“It is midday, they are barking now whilst I type this item. As a retired pensioner I would like to take the occasional afternoon nap – the dogs make sure that never happens. This affects my quality of life!”
Peter Smith of The Better Business Alliance: “Quality of life is important for everyone. As with all things in life, noises and their effect on our quality of life are very much down to perception.
“What some people see as a minor irritant others see as a major nuisance.
“Most of the time, however, it is not the noise that is the main issue it is the attitude of the people involved. So often we fail to stand in the shoes of others, to see the issue in the same way as the other person.
“The law is about ‘reasonableness’ and if people are unreasonable then they can expect to lose out in any fair legal system. Better to have a quiet chat with our neighbour at the first opportunity and come to some agreed compromise.”
Hazel Kent, manager of the Market Café at Bracknell Market: “I myself have two chickens (it was three until a fox managed to eat the third).
"I am very conscious of any noise they make and have taken every step I can to ensure they are as quiet as possible. I blacked out their coop window and made sure no light gets in at all.
“This has been the only way to keep them quiet – not that they were ever what one would call a very noisy bunch unless they were under your window! I always thought it was only cockerels which made a noise but alas not.
“However, I have managed to keep my chickens as quiet as possible and my neighbour has always been happy for me to have them as they are not a disturbance – more of a novelty for her kids if anything.
“I do agree with the council stepping in when it does come to pet owners not respecting other people’s lives. People who say it is a waste of tax payers’ money obviously have never had to put up with the noise of other people’s pets.”
Caroline Allain from Bullbrook: “I think the fine was a waste of time and money. However noisy cockerels may be, you cannot stop them from crowing – it’s part of nature.
“The only case I can think of where prosecuting for noisy pets may be valid is for pet dogs.
“People should be able to live peaceful lives so I would expect other people to be respectful and keep music down etc during certain hours, but we must live alongside animals and they cannot always be controlled in the same way as humans.
“Personally I would much rather put up with cockerels crowing than the drunken arguments we get woken up by on a Saturday night.”
What Bracknell Thinks features a panel of local people who take turns to debate current topics. To join the panel or suggest a topic, email firstname.lastname@example.org