The humble dog, man’s best friend. A dependable, loveable, constant companion. Always there for you and, in the words of Homer J. Simpson, ‘whatever portion of your meal your grief prevents you from finishing’. <!–more–>

This is certainly the view held by Andrew Dibiden, a man who shares his home in rural Moray with around fifty German shepherds.

However, one man’s furry, happy pal is simply a slobbery, loud nuisance to another. Following a number of complaints about the dogs’ barking from Mr Dibiden’s neighbours, the case ended up in the local sheriff court. This was not the first time that criminal charges have been brought against the man for keeping his pack; he was imprisoned and banned from keeping dogs in England, and in 2006 Highland council issued him with an antisocial behaviour order for the same offence.

Yet, happily for Mr Dibiden this time he avoided an ASBO on the grounds that his numerous dogs are his ‘family’, and therefore they have the right to an undisturbed ‘family life’.

Mr Dibiden’s neighbours were, however, somewhat unhappy with the court’s ruling, claiming that the constant noise from his pack had a negative impact on their everyday lives. The local Councillor Allan Wright also commented, ‘I am disappointed by the Sheriff’s ruling.’, and one resident even went as far as to describe Mr Dibiden as ‘a goon’, stating that ‘We chose to live here because it’s paradise, but he’s ruining it for everyone.’

But the most bizarre detail of this story is the fact that Mr Dibiden lives in a caravan in the Moray countryside. Therefore, who exactly are these ‘neighbours’? Sheep? Perhaps the term is being somewhat loosely used when there are a couple of fields and a hill between the people in question. Mr Didbiden has also argued this, stating ‘How can there be antisocial behaviour when you live in the middle of nowhere? People get lost trying to find me.’

[Ryan Callander]


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