‘Happy Pants’ farm ordered to ‘soundproof cows’ or face prosecution over noise

An animal sanctuary has been told its farm animals are too noisy for neighbours.

The Happy Pants Ranch has been given 90 days to soundproof its geese, cockerels and cattle or it will be slapped by the council with a £2,500 fine.

Amey James who founded the rescue centre at Bobbing, near Sittingbourne, Kent says the notice is "upsetting" and admits she has no idea how they are meant to keep the animals quiet.

Swale Council warns that if noise levels are not lowered to a satisfactory level within the set timeframe, the charity can be prosecuted and issued an unlimited fine.

Amey told KentOnline : "It’s just so upsetting. Now it’s basically all of the animals that are an issue, and I don’t know how they expect me to sort this out – how can we soundproof cows?

"We’ll either have to leave the site or re-home the animals; it’s just awful. It all seems so wrong and I cannot believe it’s continuing.

"If you can’t keep animals here, on a 20-acre field, in the countryside, in a non-residential area, then where can you keep them?"

As well as having 90 days to sort the problem of apparently overly-vocal animals, the ranch has just 28 days to deal with the noise of a generator on site.

However anything built to soundproof the machine requires planning permission.

Action already taken by Amey includes blacking out the windows of the cockerels' barns to stop them crowing when the sun comes up, KentOnline reports.

She and her boyfriend Phil Greenhalgh, 32, who both live on the ranch have also tried to shift the noisy geese away from neighbours by tempting it with another pond.

Amey said: "We’ve already appealed the decision; I just think it’s unfair.

"No evidence has been presented to us, showing what the noise nuisance is or at what times it’s happening, so we haven’t been able to assess and act on it properly.

"I never envisaged having trouble like this. It just makes you feel so uncomfortable as soon as one of the animals makes a noise and that’s not right.

"I just feel like there’s very little that I’m able to do."

A spokesman for Swale council said: “We recognise this is a sensitive matter and, as such, we have given an extended timescale for the owners to abate the animal noise nuisance.

"We will, of course, support the owners where we can but once we have determined that the noise levels were in excess of what can be reasonably expected for a given location, then we are required by law to act.

"Throughout the investigation we have offered to work with the site operator to resolve the situation, and this remains the case going forward.

"Failure to comply with the notices can lead to prosecution and magistrates can give an unlimited fine.

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