“When neighbours fight, nothing good results.”
No, that’s not the opening line of a classic Russian novel. It’s the opening line from a judge’s ruling this week in a case that involves feuding New Brunswick neighbours, mysterious motives, and one giant pile of manure.
The story begins in 2001, when the Gallant family purchased property from Murray family in the rural community of Indian Mountain. The neighbours got along well and lived next door to one another peaceably until 2013, when Lee Murray placed a huge pile of manure right along the border of his neighbours’ property.
David Gallant described the manure as “fresh,” and said it smelled so strongly that he couldn’t use his nearby garage. “The smell of manure was so bad it cut your breath away,” Gallant told the CBC. He noted that he saw no logical reason for the manure being placed there, except to provoke him.
“We’re talking tonnes of manure here,” he told CTV News.
The Gallants asked the Murrays to remove the pile, but it remained where it was for eleven months—and other indiginities began to pile on. The Murrays also blew rocks and snow onto the Gallants’ property, and several times, cows got loose onto their yard. In 2014, the Farm Practices Review Board found that the manure pile and loose cattle were “unacceptable farming practices.”
There isn’t much information about what may have caused the relationship between the neighbours to disintegrate, but David Gallant told CTV News that the Murrays were upset that they got a lot of the Gallants’ junk mail.
The judge in the case ruled with the Gallants, ordering the Murrays to pay $17,000 in damages and prohibiting them from entering the Gallants’ property, communicating with them other than in writing, and (most importantly) spreading manure within 300 metres of their property. “In my opinion, based on the evidence before the court, the manure was placed where it was for only one purpose, to make Mr. and Mrs. Gallant’s lives miserable,” the judge’s ruling read.
For his part, Lee Murray claimed that the manure was over a year old and was placed next to the Gallants’ garage for “safety reasons.” He claimed the ground was wet and slippery, and that it would have been dangerous to move it down a hill into the fields.
He plans to appeal the court’s decision.