A couple have been ordered to pay a fine of 1,000 EUR and move the 10 chickens they keep at home to a new area after their neighbours complained about the smell and the noise.
The Portuguese Supreme Court of Justice has determined that the unnamed couple have to pay a 1,000-EUR (866-GBP) fine. They also have to move the 10 hens and roosters they have on their property in the area of Lomar e Arcos, located four kilometres from the city of Braga in northern Portugal, to a place where they will not annoy the neighbours.
Local media reported the couple first built a chicken coop measuring 25 square metres in 2012, and the coop was reportedly far from the owner’s house, but just 4.3 metres from the kitchen window of their neighbours.
The court found that at least 10 chickens made “noise that woke up the neighbouring couple between 3 and 5 am” and the noise “interrupted their rest and they could no longer sleep in a regenerative, adequate and reasonable way”.
The complaining couple also said they avoided inviting friends and family around because of the “hardly bearable” smell from the chickens.
The owners of the chicken house claimed that they raised chickens and rabbits “in very small quantities for domestic consumption only” and followed the recommendations of the authorities, avoiding the alleged smell and noise.
The Supreme Court said that while in rural areas “the noise caused by legitimately reared domestic animals”, such as chickens and roosters and “some annoyances and inconveniences can be tolerated”, this should only be to an extent considered “adequate and proportionate” to the “satisfaction of the dominant interests protected by law, so that everyone can continue to live in society in the rural environment they have chosen”.
The court found that the complainants had their “right to sleep and rest” affected daily “between 3 and 5 am” by the noises from the animals and that this right takes precedence over the defendants’ property rights and their “interest in raising hens and roosters”.
The Supreme Court upheld the Guimaraes Appeal Court’s decision in March 2019 which ordered the couple to remove the bird from their current place to an area where they would not disturb the neighbours’ sleep and pay the couple 500 EUR (433 GBP) each in compensation.
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