INDIAN MOUNTAIN, Canada — Worst. Neighbors. Ever.
A Canadian judge has ordered a couple to pay damages to their neighbors for a campaign of “harassment” that included building a stinking pile of manure on their property so big that it was visible on Google Earth satellite photos.
The dispute between the Murrays and the Gallants in the small rural town of Indian Mountain in the province of New Brunswick reached its apex in November 2013, when trucks appeared and began dumping hundreds of pounds of manure along the border of the two families’ properties.
“I have little doubt these activities were initiated by the Murrays and designed to inflict fear, nuisance and harassment against the Gallants,” Queen’s Bench Justice George Rideout ruled, according to Canada’s National Post.
In addition to the foul stench that was sent wafting towards the Gallants’ home, the couple accuses their neighbor of using a snowblower to send huge piles of snow and rocks onto their property and purposely letting cattle loose on their land to destroy their lawn.
According to court papers, David and Joan Gallants say that Lee and Shirley Murray dragged a large bale of hay near their back fence, “with the presumably intentional effect that it drew his cattle to eat, urinate and defecate as close to our house as possible.”
It’s not made clear in the filings what triggered the acrimony between the two families who have been neighbors since 2001, but things came to a head in late 2014, when the Gallants filed a complaint with the New Brunswick Farm Practices Review Board regarding the pile of manure.
That led the Murrays to remove the manure pile, but the Gallants say they then started a brush fire that sent smoke across their property and into their garage.
The day after the review board ruled against the Murrays, the Gallants say they found a huge scratch in the paint of their car.
The judge ruled that the pattern of harassment was so “wilful and reprehensible” that he had “no hesitation” in ordering the Murrays to pay the Gallants C$15,000 (US$11,500) in damages.
Lee Murray told the National Post that he and his wife planned to appeal and insisted that they were the victims. He said his neighbors, who he described as onetime friends, had “made a big fuss over nothing” and were in it for the money.
“There’s more to this,” he was quoted as saying. “This thing isn’t over yet.”