(CN) – A man with 69 dogs on his property must get rid of some of them to appease neighbors annoyed by the barking, an Illinois appeals court ruled. But the court reversed an order forcing him to give up all but six dogs, saying it wasn’t clear how many he had to remove to “abate the nuisance.”
Donald Wiggins was hit with a nuisance lawsuit by two neighboring couples who were bothered by the noise coming from his bird dog kennel.
The neighbors and the mail carrier complained about the racket, and Wiggins responded that he tried to fix the problem by finding new homes for the chronic barkers that would set off the other dogs.
The trial court agreed with the neighbors and ordered Wiggins to reduce his number of dogs to a maximum of six.
On appeal, the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Mt. Vernon ruled that the neighbors had been able to prove the dogs were a nuisance. But the justices said the trial court went too far in ordering Wiggins’ kennel to house no more than six dogs.
“Based on the evidence presented at the trial, we cannot determine whether Wiggins can abate the nuisance by reducing the number of dogs on his property to some number fewer than 69 but greater than six,” Justice Bruce Stewart wrote.
“Without further evidence, we cannot determine whether the circuit court’s injunction was too broad in scope, creating an unnecessary hardship on Wiggins.”
The appellate court reversed the order allowing Wiggins to keep only six dogs and remanded for further evidence.