This is the first case I have read about in which a cat breeder has been banned by court order from breeding cats. It was not the act of breeding cats which resulted in the ban, it was the noise they created in the place where the breeder lived. The place is significant because if she had lived in a detached house 400 yards from the nearest neighbour she would not have ended up in court.
The neighbours in effect sued in the tort of nuisance and the nuisance was excessive noise (plus the smell of urine). The legal action was commenced under the council’s animal management bylaw.
The place is Auckland, NZ. The breeder is Tatjana Young and she has been breeding Bengal cats since 2012. The neighbours complained to the Auckland Council (the local authority).
Neighbours claimed that the noise was ‘extremely piercing’ and sounded ‘ like a child being hurt’. In addition there was a smell of urine.
The judge, Anna Johns, said that Young was a decent breeder, passionate about her work but that she had created a nuisance which had been going on for a considerable time.
The noise had disrupted sleep. Some neighbours had moved out because of the noise.
“The noise is extremely loud and piercing and it was occurring during night hours way above any permissible level.” (Judge Johns)
The RSPCA agreed that the cats were well care for. There was no issue on that count; it was all to do with noise during mating.
The judge banned Young from breeding cats on her property and fined her $2,000. She was ordered to pay court costs of $1,000.
All the male cats and the kittens were ordered to be removed from her property.
Comment: this is an interesting case because it implies, and may set a precentent in New Zealand, that noise from breeding cats can amount to a nuisance if the breeding facility is near enough to neighbouring residents. It is the first case of this kind that I have encountered. There is a reverse case: a gun range causing such noise that it was a nuisance to a cat rescue organisation.
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