A DOG rescue centre is under threat after being slapped with a fine of almost £19,000 following noise complaints from neighbours.
Coral Browne, who has run the ARAS site in Kempston Hardwick for nearly ten years, said it is now at risk of closure after being told to find the five-figure sum by Luton Magistrates’ Court.
The facility, which has been running for almost 40 years, takes in neglected, abused or abandoned dogs, nurturing them back to health and finding them new homes.
But it was hit with the huge fine after Bedford Borough Council received ‘repeated’ complaints about the noise levels of dogs barking from neighbours.
Ms Browne, a former Bedford Borough Council Dog Warden, said the fine was unfair.
“Most of the complaints are made by newer neighbours as the area gets more and more built up, but we have always been here and made no secret of that,” she added.
“We are a licensed centre with full planning permission for what we do here and we work with the RSPCA to ensure our dogs are outside when necessary and in their bedrooms for the rest of the time.”
Sheila O’Brien, a volunteer at the centre, said: “Yes the dogs bark, mostly in the mornings as that is when they have to be walked and fed according to the RSPCA, but they are inside overnight and noise is kept to a minimum.”
Ms Browne also feels there is a lack of support for the centre from the authority.
She added: “I can’t see what else we can do, but the council seem adamant on just slapping us with fines instead of helping us and I don’t know if we can sustain the business like this as we just don’t have the money.”
A spokesman for the council said: “Following repeated complaints from residents, officers gave advice to the dog centre owner on reducing the level of noise from dog barking. However after further complaints the council submitted evidence to the court and the magistrates made their decision based on the evidence.”
Read more at http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/kempston-hardwick-8203-dog-rescue-site-could-close-after-19k-fine/story-29849124-detail/story.html#bKtuJg21VjbS1tSL.99