The cowbells in holzkirchen are allowed to continue ringing. The higher regional court (OLG) in munich on wednesday rejected the complaint of a local resident.
For years, a couple in the upper bavarian town has felt disturbed by the bells of a farmer’s cow in the neighboring pasture and wants to take legal action to put an end to the ringing.
The husband and later also his wife had failed in separate lawsuits in the first instance before the regional court munich II. The man now appealed to the higher regional court in the second instance – and lost again.
Aigner: "this is about the interaction between old residents and newcomers."
The legal dispute also attracts political attention. "This dispute was fundamentally about more than alleged "noise", said state parliament president ilse aigner (CSU), whose constituency includes holzkirchen. "This is about the relationship between old residents and newcomers. If you want to live privileged in the uplands, you should also accept the way of life of the people here."
Complaints about church alarms, cowbells or the crowing of roosters drove a wedge between the old-established and the new-burgers. "Our country way of life includes the cow on the pasture – including the cow bell."
Court wanted "sleep test
The court also had a judicial "sleep test" in the trial in february brought into play: if the husband and wife and the farmer could not come to an agreement, the matter would have to be examined by "eyes and ears" the presiding judge johannes nagorsen said at the time. Since it was a matter of night’s rest, it would come down to "that we spend a night there with or without experts". The couple had also made an overnight stay possible. But the court came on it now no longer back.
Both spouses had failed in their separate proceedings at first instance, mainly because of a settlement reached by the husband with the farmer in 2015. According to the lawsuit, cows with bells were only allowed to graze in the more distant part of the meadow, a good 20 meters away. Farmer regina killer holds on to it. But it was still too loud for the couple.
The couple’s lawyer, peter hartherz, had argued before the higher regional court in february that measurements taken at the couple’s bedroom window had revealed a noise level of more than 70 decibels. As evidence, he played recordings of the ringing in court. The court nevertheless came to the conclusion that the alarm statements were in part too sweeping. After verdict on wednesday, hartherz said his client had relied on an evidentiary hearing. "He hoped that the court would see for itself the untenable conditions of the case."
Besides larm also other problems
According to the couple, this includes not only the cow with its bells, but also flies that buzz around the cow and from there onto their property, as well as the spreading of gulle. Lawyer hartherz had made a number of requests in this regard, including that the manure and the grazing should be refrained from. And if the cows had to go to pasture, then at least without cowbells.
Farmer regina killer is calm about the further legal dispute. "Naturally I am relieved. If he (the husband) has already been rejected – why shouldn’t she (the wife) be rejected??" Because the trial for the wife in the second instance is still pending, hartherz has appealed against the verdict of the regional court here. The lawyer is not giving up: "now we will do everything we can to ensure that at least the wife of the plaintiff gets her rights."
Legal dispute likely to continue
The legal dispute has therefore not come to an end even with this ruling. Even with the husband could continue. The higher regional court did not allow an appeal – but hartherz probably wants to file a non-admission appeal with the federal court of justice: "we assume that we will do that."
At least the couple had a few months of peace and quiet. "They always relax in the winter or during the cowbell-free period", said hartherz. The couple can still sleep peacefully for a few weeks: the cows, says farmer killer, will not come to the meadow until june. At the moment it is still too cold at night.