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A couple were surprised when the council threatened them with legal action who had mistaken their pet rabbit for a loud and aggressive dog in an almighty mix-up.

Martin and Yvonne Vickers from the village of Friskney, Lincolnshire were in shock when they received the letter from East Lindsey District Council which noted the complaints they had received about the rowdy pet.

The animal's unruliness was so disruptive that officers even said horse riders' lives were being put at risk as a result of "excessive barking" coming from their countryside bungalow and warned if the pet's misbehaviour continued then he would be slapped with an anti-social behaviour order.

Environmental Protection Officer Sue Pailing wrote: “I am writing to advise you that I have received a complaint regarding the behaviour of your dog.

“I understand your dog barks quite excessively whilst in the garden, especially when horse riders go by your fence.

“This is obviously a concern as this could cause a horse to bolt and possibly throw its rider.”

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However, everything wasn't quite as it seemed because the couple didn't have a dog, but rather a seven-year-old white rabbit called Joey who the couple had taken in when a previous neighbour could no longer look after him.

Given the fact the white mini lop hardly goes outside in case another animal eats him, he's hardly the noisy culprit the council wrote about.

Shop worker Martin, 57, said: “I’m not sure how they have mistaken Joey for a dog.

“The only noise Joey makes is scratching when he wants to come out of his enclosure to have a run around indoors.

“He doesn’t go outside as he could be got by a fox.”

Joey the rabbit doesn't look like a loud troublemaker to usSWNS

Though the good news is the couple acted swiftly when they received the letter and managed to get the mix-up with the council resolved - they even had a chuckle about the confusion.

Yvonne, 50, said: “I said we have only got a white rabbit - and he’s not aggressive at all.

“Martin then spoke to Sue Paling at the council and she was very nice about it - in fact we had a good laugh.”

Mrs Paling said: “Mr Vickers and I did have quite a chuckle about the mix up and he was very understanding about it.

“I didn’t want to rabbit on about the complaint and no further barks have come from the rabbit in question since.”

“Mr Vickers and I did have quite a chuckle about the mix up and he was very understanding about it," Pailing sad.

“I didn’t want to rabbit on about the complaint and no further barks have come from the rabbit in question since.”

Afterwards, Martin shared the muddle to the Facebook group ‘Friskney Community’ along with a photo of Joey - where members were able to have a laugh as one joking questioned ‘who framed Joey rabbit?’

One commented: “Nasty-looking dog you got there’ - while another joked: “You’ve clearly got a barking rabbit that’s causing a nuisance.”t

While Joey is in the clear, who exactly was responsible for the loud noises?

Martin explained: “Most of our neighbours around here seem to have dogs, so I think it is a case of mistaken identity.”

Glad to see some justice for Joey.

SWNS reporting by Nathan Pynn

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