A Portadown man, who has been “tormented” by his neighbour’s barking dogs for over a year, says the situation is having a detrimental affect on his health, personal life and his career.
Timothy Kelly who lives at Drumard Avenue, off the Brownstown Road, has been trying to tackle the problem with help from the council’s environmental health department.
But he said “grey areas” in the legislation don’t give the council enough powers to deal with the nuisance.
The problems began over a year ago when his neighbours bought a large dog, followed by a second one.
At first the dogs were outside but were moved into the utility room, making it worse for Timothy as he can hear their barking through the party wall.
Said Timothy, “ I wrote to the council for the first time last Christmas. I never dreamt I would still be trying to get something done one year on.
“I’ve been woken up 14 times in November and 12 times so far in December ... but the council seems powerless to do anything about it.”
He has also had to visit his doctor three times due to annoyance, lack of sleep and stress from the noise.
The 32-year-old, who cared for his mother for seven years after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, said even that could not have prepared him for the stress and anxiety caused by the dogs.
He has kept log sheets of the incidents, as directed by the council, as well as videos on which the dogs can clearly be heard barking.
But he says that the council’s method of measuring the noise is “totally flawed”.
He explained, “I recorded the dogs barking at 6.39am, 5.58am, 1.15am and 4.53am on separate dates.
“After this, the council concluded that I had not captured enough barking and that I still had not proved it was a nuisance.”
He added, “They need to hear quite constant barking over each 10-minute recording before they can do anything about it.
“The dogs howl and bark for a few seconds and maybe not again for another hour or two - and by the time I get up to record it, it has stopped.”
He has also spoken and written to his neighbours on a number of occasions but says that any improvement only lasts for a short time.
The civil engineer, who has also enlisted the help of the DUP, added, “I had wanted my partner to move in with me but she is a nurse and works 13-hour shifts, and I do not want to subject her to the constant sleep deprivation.
“I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I leave for work at 8am and try not to return until 10pm. I will be trying mediation but will take it to court if I have to.”