A vegan has been fined by a court for failing to deal with a rat infestation in her home because of her moral beliefs.
Margaret Manzoni, 73, or St Osyth, Essex“thinks rats are her pets” and “says they won’t go to her neighbors because she takes care of them”.
Tendring District Council has prosecuted the pensioner for a second time after she failed to comply with an earlier order in April.
At a hearing at Colchester Magistrates Court this month, Manzoni was told that while the court “respects her beliefs as an ethical vegetarian, others view rats as pests”, the committee said.
According to the authorities, the court said “the effect of the intrusion on the neighbours means that inaction is inappropriate”.
Manzoni pleaded guilty to charges of failing to comply with notices under the Environmental Protection Act and the Prevention of Pest Damage Act at an Oct. 6 hearing.
She was fined £1,500, the court awarded council costs £2,395 and imposed a victim surcharge of £150.
The court heard that due to the condition of Manzoni’s central terrace house, nearby residents were occupied by rats, causing property damage, and the council’s sanitation team was called.
Authorities said council staff made several visits and offered assistance before issuing a notice “ordering Manzoni to stop feeding birds, clean up overgrown gardens, and call for pest control”.
A spokesman for Tendring District Council said: “While the council has undertaken some building works, Manzoni continues to provide food and shelter for the rats – resulting in a strong odour and forcing neighbours to move out.”
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“Tendring District Council offered Manzoni alternative accommodation, but she believes the rats are her pets, says they won’t go to her neighbour’s house because she looks after them, and refuses to act, saying it goes against her ‘moral beliefs’ .
“This led to the first prosecution, and while the environmental health team continued to visit regularly, nothing changed; the committee had no choice but to prosecute again.”