Cape Town - A four-year feud has been raging between next-door neighbours in Melkbosstrand and the police have had to step in and ask the family who live on one side of the fence, Philip and Angelique Victor, to keep a diary of when their pet dogs made any noise.
On the other side of the fence are Arno and Ronel Vorster. Arno works as a strategic adviser for the City of Cape Town.
Angelique Victor says when a Melkbosstrand police officer was asked why the police were following up ridiculous claims, he told her that his job was on the line because Vorster worked for the city council.
Vorster denied this.
He admitted that complaints were laid against the Victors but said they were predominantly made by his wife.
“As a ratepayer my wife and I have the right to complain and lay a charge against any person who does not obey the law and causes a nuisance.
“This matter has absolutely nothing to do with my work and the city, as this is my democratic right as a ratepayer and registered property owner to live in peace and harmony,” said Vorster.
“I’ll get my day in court,”
he said. “The matter must follow a due legal process…”
The Victors claim the Vorsters have been “harassing” them since they started building their home in 2008 and that Melkbosstrand police have paid numerous visits to them – more frequently over the past two months – to investigate a range of complaints by the Vorsters.
These included any noise emanating from the Victors’ property, including dogs barking, music, children splashing in the pool and one complaint that “screams of domestic violence” were heard while the Victors were having a dinner party with two other couples.
“I (once) caught (Ronel Vorster) from next door with her garage door open, leaning out to hear the music from our house,” said Angelique Victor.
“She didn’t acknowledge me. I’ve only ever seen her in the shadows. I wouldn’t even know her in the street.
“It’s revolting and it’s so unnecessary.
“The cops are here so often that our neighbours must think we’re running a brothel,” she said.
She added that the main complaint from the Vorsters was the number of times thefamily’s dogs – a bulldog, Luca, aged 4, and Jack Russell, Jake, aged 13 – barked.
Jake had been described as the offending barker.
“Our dogs have only been unsupervised once since we’ve lived here.
“There is always someone here,” she said, adding that the dogs rarely made any noise.
Matters came to a head last month when the police asked the family to keep a “doggie diary” to record the number of times the dogs barked or made any noise, but the diary was empty because, said Angelique Victor, the dogs didn’t bark at all. But by mid-January, the police removed the dogs, impounded them and kept the empty diary.
“How does that justify them being impounded?” said Angelique Victor.
“Neighbours behind us have dogs that bark all the time. It doesn’t bother us.”
On the advice of their vet, they moved the dogs to Angelique Victor’s mother’s home. Luca returned to the family last week but the family decided to leave Jake with her mother until the police gave them permission to have him back.
“We’re living in silence at the moment. My kids can’t play. My son is scared to use his scooter because it might make a noise,” she said.
The Victors said they had tried to organise a meeting to resolve their differences, but the Vorsters “were not interested in talking to us and asked us not to correspond with them”.
Kylie Hatton, media spokeswoman for the city, said law enforcement staff treated all complaints from residents equally, and that allegations of unfair treatment were taken seriously.
She said the city was aware of complaints related to barking laid by Ronel Vorster and that the city was investigating.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut confirmed that a disturbance-of-the-peace case was being investigated.
At the time of going to print, peace had yet to be declared.