Swampy’s saga over

MOYNE Shire has abandoned legal action against controversialpoultry farmer Swampy Marsh.
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MOVED ON: Moyne Shire is no longer taking legal action against Swampy Marsh’s Mortlake operation after he moved out in July. Picture: Rob Gunstone

The council lodged anapplication to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) seeking an orderto prevent Mr Marsh using theMortlake property for animal husbandry and asa warehouse.

But the long running saga between Mr Marsh and the council appears to have ended with Mr Marsh declaring the council had “finally bloody listened to reason”.

A council spokesman said the VCAT order was to prevent theoccupierusing theTownsend Streetproperty for animal husbandry and asa warehouse without a permit.

“As the premises have now been vacated, council has ceased proceedings at VCAT,” he said.

Mr Marsh said he had left the Mortlake site by the end of July and he had only two batches of chickensthere during two emergencies.

He said he submitted his defence to VCAT that the property had been used twice for a period of between eight to nine weeks.

“It was only ever an emergency situation and sadly the Moyne ratepayers have had to pay for their stupidity again,” he said.

He said the chickens had been housed there while he developed new methods for brooding and two hiccups hadforced him to find a home quickly for the birds.

“I was told to apply for a permit and that would take one month,” he said.

“Well in one month they would have been dead. I wanted to get a retrospective permit.”

Mr Marsh said shire officers then told him to remove the chickens but he believed if he did they would die and then he would face animal cruelty charges.

“I don’t want the $25,000 fine or the extra publicity so I just told them to bugger off,” he said.

The decision to withdraw the VCAT proceedings brings to a heada long-running battle between the shire and Mr Marsh, which dates back to 2013 when he blamed council inspectors for leaving a hole in a fence thathe saidallowed dogs to enterand maul chickens.

The shed, on commercial-zoned land behind one of the town’s supermarkets and across from residential land, was home to about 3000 chickens.

Mr Marsh said he still heldthe council responsible for the death of the chickens but said he couldn’tafford to take it any further.

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