A lonely bachelor's lockdown companionship with two pet geese looks set to come to a sad end after neighbours complained about the noise they were making.
Sven Kirby, 34, who lives in Leeds by himself, had bought the two geese for company but unfortunately their constant honking has brought the ire of the neighbours down upon him - with the prospect of a £5,000 fine if the issue isn't resolved.
Named Beep Beep and Norbert, the geese were bought for £40 each and have been hand-reared by Sven. The pair are now so well house-trained that they freely waddle around his house wearing nappies - while they've even accompanied him to the pub.
Unfortunately one thing Sven hasn't been able to do is get them to keep the noise down, and after receiving an abatement notice, he now needs to 'prevent the recurrence of the nuisance' within 28 days or face a fine of up to £5,000.
The admin assistant said: "I love my geese, they're brilliant characters and great fun to keep as pets.
"The prospect of losing them is heartbreaking.
"It almost feels as if social services are taking my children away. Norbert and Beep Beep do see me as their father or mother."
Unfortunately for Sven, it's a problem that has been slowly escalating.
With the animals originally left outside at night to sleep in a pen in the garden, he had to bring them inside after initially receiving noise complaints from two of his neighbours.
The geese still stay in the pen during daytimes when Sven's at work, though, and are apparently still making a big old racket.
Sven said: "They make a noise when they see someone pass or hear something, it's like a defence mechanism.
"It is a fairly loud honk but it's not something which happens all the time."
He added: "What my neighbours and the council fail to realise are that these birds are my pets, they're not livestock.
"Just because they're geese does not mean they don't have the same standing in my house as a cat or a dog might in others.
"I'm sure that if they have to go then they will suffer separation anxiety."
The notice from the council doesn't explicitly say that he needs to get rid of the geese, merely to stop causing the 'noise nuisance'. However, given that it'd be impossible and unfair on the animals for him to keep them inside at all times, it seems like the writing's on the wall.
A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: "We take any issue regarding noise nuisance in our communities extremely seriously and will always investigate any complaints that are made.
"Complaints can range from various forms of anti-social behaviour to the playing of music or loud noise of animals and birds.
"If following an investigation the level of noise is found to be of a consistent and unacceptable level a warning letter will be sent to the householder.
"This can include in some cases the serving of an abatement notice that requires steps to be taken by the householder in a reasonable timescale to reduce the noise.
"If no steps are taken, further action may be taken by the council. Anyone served with an abatement notice can appeal the decision if they wish to do so."
Sven does have people willing to take them off his hands, but given the cost will be loneliness, it's not a trade he'll be happy to make.
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