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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 21:17 GMT
Dog sends neighbours barking mad
Sir Galahad with John Hillman and his wife Brigitte Tee-Hillman
Sir Galahad stands 7ft 6ins on his hind legs
A gagging order has been placed on a Great Dane after he made neighbours' lives "hell" with his loud barking.

Noisy Sir Galahad, who stands a massive 43 inches to the shoulder and weighs 15 and a half stone, has been served with a noise abatement notice.

The giant dog angered neighbours in Lymington, Hampshire by "barking for hours at a time", a court heard.

Now John Hillman, who owns the enormous guard dog, fears he has no option but to keep the seven-year-old inside his home.

Three dogs gagged

He and his wife Brigitte Tee-Hillman had appealed against the order imposed by New Forest District Council last summer.

But a judge upheld the order which also gags fellow Great Danes Mordrey and Queen Guinevere.

Lyndhurst Magistrates Court heard Sir Galahad and the other dogs were kept in a compound outside a guest house run by retired lawyer Mr Hillman.

Keith Gibbs
Keith Gibbs said the barking made his life "complete hell"
Next door neighbour Keith Gibbs, who also owns a bed and breakfast with his wife Vanessa, told the court the barking went on for hours.

"It's made my life complete hell."

Another neighbour, schoolteacher Cynthia Evans, told the hearing she was unable to sit outside in the summer because the noise was "intolerable".

Sir Galahad, who stands 7ft 6ins tall on his hind legs and was described as resembling "half a horse", just "barked and barked and barked",she said.

Mr Hillman, 72, who keeps horses on his 12 acres of land, told the court Sir Galahad was a superb guard dog and had driven away armed robbers.

"They take care of us. They have driven off horse thieves and various other burglars on at least six other occasions."

Following a two-day hearing District Judge Gareth Cowling upheld the original notice and ordered Sir Galahad's owners to pay 2,324 including costs.

'Gentle giant'

"On the evidence before me I'm entirely satisfied that the noise from these dogs is a nuisance.

"It seems to stand out a mile."

Following the ruling, the couple are set to take their case to Crown Court.

"Sir Galahad is a gentle giant but he can wake up everyone within three miles by barking if he is disturbed at night.

"The problem with the judge's ruling is he didn't say when I can reasonably let the dogs out.

"Unfortunately Mr Gibbs, who lives next door, has two little Bichons which are like small poodles and they yap like crazy.

"That provokes Sir Galahad because it's just like lunch barking at a Great Dane."

Mrs Tee-Hillman, 59, also runs a business called Mrs Tee's Wild Mushrooms and is one of Britain's leading experts on edible funghi.


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See also:

13 Nov 01 | Scotland
Reprieve for death row dog Sam
08 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
Gadget with more byte than bark
17 Jan 99 | Health
'Prozac' for pooches
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