A bizarre feud over Lee Murray’s massive pile of manure has left the New Brunswick farmer steaming mad.
The ugly quarrel with Murray’s next-door neighbours, the Gallants, made international headlines this week when a judge ordered he pay them $17,000 in costs and damages, saying he had used his tractor to build a fetid wall of feces along the Gallants’ property line to make them miserable.
Murray, who has lived all his life on Indian Mountain near Moncton, N.B., said Thursday he is planning to file an appeal.
“There was a lot of questions my lawyer didn’t ask in court,” he said in an interview from his home. “I’ve been self-employed all my life and this is the worst mess I’ve ever been into. This is nuts.”
Murray, a cattle farmer, said his family got along just fine with Joan and David Gallant until about six years ago, when Joan Gallant complained about getting too much of the Murrays’ junk mail.
“It was downhill after that,” Murray said.
I can understand where some readers may be tempted to compare steps leading to this manure wall tantrum with Trump’s wall tantrum with Mexico and Canada.
The pile eventually grew to be about 18 metres long, 13 metres wide and as high as his nearby three-car garage, David Gallant said.
He said the smell was so bad, he couldn’t stay in the building.
“I almost couldn’t make it out the door,” he said. “It was just suffocating in there. You couldn’t catch you breath … We’re talking tonnes of manure here.”
He said he asked Murray to move the pile, but he refused.
It sat there for the next 11 months.
Justice George Rideout of the Court of Queen’s Bench concluded that Murray dumped the dung to antagonize the Gallants, saying his actions were “wilful and reprehensible.”
“In my opinion … the manure was placed where it was for only one purpose: to make Mr. and Mrs. Gallant’s lives miserable,” the judge wrote.
“The manure was piled high and a photo taken by Google from a satellite shows it. There were other places where the manure could have been placed which would not have caused the odour problem.”
The judge imposed an injunction on the Murray family, saying they can’t pile or spread manure within 300 metres of the Gallant home, or within 60 metres of any part of their property.
The judge also said the Murrays can’t communicate with the Gallants except in writing.
There’s a lesson here for everyone. If you start throwing shit around it will eventually just land all over yourself.