Mother appeals £30,000 bill for her daughter's barking dog

Held liable - even though she lives elsewhere

Updated: 
Ms Eacott's cottage in Hereford.

A woman has been landed with a £30,000 legal bill after a four-year battle over a barking dog - that didn't even belong to her.

Angela Waring, of Crickhowell, Powys, had paid for her daughter Kim Eacott's Victorian cottage in Hereford. But while she lived 30 miles away, and the pair weren't on speaking terms, she's been held partly liable for the bill - as the house was in her name.

The trouble started in 2011, when Ms Eacott's neighbours complained about the barking from terrier Scally whenever Ms Eacott went out. Bryn and Diane Cocking filed a claim against both mother and daughter alleging the noise was 'unreasonable in its frequency and duration'.

In 2013, Judge Daniel Pearce-Higgins ruled in favour of the Cockings in Worcester County Court. Miss Eacott was ordered to pay £3,500 in damages and her mother £1,000 - and they were jointly landed with a £31,000 legal costs bill.

However, Mrs Waring has now appealed, claiming her daughter's behaviour in failing to control the dog wasn't her responsibility. Indeed, she'd actually been advised by police not to talk to her daughter following a harassment complaint.

And she'd done her best to deal with the situation in any case, she claimed, by offering to take the pet to a 'dog whisperer' nearby to help cure him of his separation anxiety.

"A residential landlord is not generally liable for acts of nuisance committed by a tenant. The judge was wrong in that he found Mrs Waring jointly liable for the acts of nuisance committed by her daughter and ordered them both to pay Mr and Mrs Cocking's costs in full," her lawyer, Hamish MacBean, told the Court of Appeal.

"The judge was wrong to find that Mrs Waring bore any liability to Mr and Mrs Cocking as a matter of law."

However, Lady Justice Arden has commented that the relationship between the mother and daughter wasn't the same as a commercial deal between landlord and tenant. She added that Mrs Waring had 'turned a blind eye' to the problem.

The Appeal Court judges have reserved their decision on Mrs Waring's appeal and will give their ruling at a later date.

But things have already turned out for the worst for Scally, who has now been put down.

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