Canadian Couple Successfully Sues Neighbors Over Giant Manure Pile

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A Canadian couple in rural New Brunswick has successfully sued their next-door neighbors for being passive-aggressive with poop, Atlas Obscura reports. The pair won $15,000 after a judge ruled that their neighbors had piled a giant manure heap on the edge of their shared property line to make their lives “miserable.”

According to the Calgary Herald, relations between David and Joan Gallant and their neighbors, Lee and Shirley Murray, soured in November 2013, after the Murrays deposited hundreds of loads of cow dung between their yards. They spent several days building the pile of “fresh, unseasoned, wet, raw manure,” as David Gallant described it, and the Gallants once even woke up at 4 a.m. to the sound of a loader at work. (Lee Murray reportedly hung up when the Gallants called to complain.)

The massive manure mound ended up sitting there for nearly a year, until late 2014. The poop pile was so high, it could be seen with satellite imagery, and its stench grew even worse after it rained, or when the wind blew from the east.

Adding property injury to insult, the Gallants reported that the Murrays blew rocks and snow onto their yard with a snow blower, and that they let 50 of their cows escape onto the lawn, destroying their grass and several trees. (Insurance covered the damages.) The couple also suspected that Lee Murray once purposely put a bale of hay near their back fence, so his cattle would eat—and poop—close to their home.

By September 2014, the Gallants had had enough: They filed an official complaint with the New Brunswick Farm Practices Review Board, and the Murrays removed the manure pile the following month. However, while doing so, they started a brush fire that flooded the Gallants’ garage with smoke, and may have also scratched their car.

By early 2015, the Gallants filed a lawsuit. Along with the $15,000 in damages, the judge also issued an injunction barring the Murrays from entering the Gallants’ property or communicating with the couple in any form other than in writing. It also forbids the Murrays from dispersing manure within 0.18 miles of the Gallants' property or blowing snow, rocks or manure onto the Gallants' land.

As for the neighbors’ bitter feud, nobody seems to know when—or why—it started. The two couples have known each other since 2001, and were reportedly once friends. In the meantime, Lee Murray claims that his former chums are making “a big fuss over nothing,” as the poop was reportedly old and didn’t smell. He and his wife plan to appeal the case, claiming that the Gallants are only out for the cash.

Luckily for the Gallants, the law is on their side—at least for now. “I have little doubt these activities were initiated by the Murrays and designed to inflict fear, nuisance, and harassment against the Gallants,” said Justice George Rideout, who ruled on the case (as quoted by the Herald).

[h/t Atlas Obscura]