Victory: Raymond and Christine Madeiros, pictured with their pet Sam, won their court bid to make their neighbour keep her noisy dog quiet. * Photo by Simon Jones
Victory: Raymond and Christine Madeiros, pictured with their pet Sam, won their court bid to make their neighbour keep her noisy dog quiet. * Photo by Simon Jones
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For months Raymond Madeiros and his wife were driven to despair by their neighbour's barking dog.

The incessant yapping of Sabrina Kirby's fox terrier-cross became the soundtrack to their lives. Biscuit's barking began first thing in the morning and continued for long spells well into the evening.

Ultimately, the hound's howling landed the neighbours in court - embroiled in a bitter battle as Mr. Madeiros desperately fought for a bit of peace and quiet.

The 77-year-old told the Bermuda Sun: "The dog barked all day and all night. It was a huge annoyance.

"You could not eat a meal in peace and some nights we were not even able to get to sleep. It made our lives a misery.

"It got so frustrating and made my blood pressure rise because there was nothing I could do about it. We did everything we could to try to reason with her but nothing worked."

The row began when Biscuit arrived at the Kirby family home in Southampton in 2006.

At first, words were exchanged and reasonable requests to quiet the animal were made.

But the deterioration in the relationship between the neighbours prompted Mr. Madeiros - who has a dog of his own, a black labrador called Sam - to look elsewhere for help.

He and his wife Christine repeatedly called dog wardens to ask for their help solving their barking nightmare. On one occasion he even phoned the police - such was his desperation to get a good night's sleep.

The matter came to a head at the end of last year when dog wardens advised Mr. Madeiros to catalogue the disruption in a month-long logbook.

Each bout of barking was recorded and every sleepless night detailed.

The diary was used as evidence when the case came to trial at Magistrates' Court this week.

Throughout proceedings, Mrs. Kirby claimed she had done nothing wrong.

She told the court: "My dog is just barking like any other dog does. I am glad he barks."

Mrs. Kirby refused to admit her pet barked constantly and made her neighbours' lives hell. She maintained she was the victim of an ill-founded vendetta.

The trial took an afternoon to complete.

Dog warden Mark Richardson told Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo that when he visited Mrs. Kirby's home her dog barked for virtually the whole time.

Mrs. Kirby, who represented herself, took the stand to give evidence and used the opportunity to level a string of accusations at Mr. Madeiros that were largely irrelevant to the case.

At the end of the trial she was found guilty of being the owner of a dog that caused a nuisance to one or more persons.

Orders

Mr. Tokunbo imposed three orders on Mrs. Kirby in relation to her dog, adding: "It is ridiculous that it came to this."

The orders mean Biscuit has to be kept on the opposite side of Mrs. Kirby's home away from Mr. Madeiros.

The dog must be kept inside between 10:15pm and 8:15am and Mrs. Kirby has to work with Mr. Madeiros to avoid further annoyance.

After the case, Mr. Madeiros told the Bermuda Sun: "I am relieved the verdict came back in our favour. I'm pleased with that but the whole experience has not been very nice.

"I am retired now and I just want some peace and quiet in my life. It's not much to ask to just enjoy living in your own home.

"I hope this may be possible now but I am not sure this will happen - we will have to wait and see.

"Maybe this case will help someone else who has been affected by a barking dog like us."