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Pensioner told ‘get rid of dog’ or be evicted

A DISABLED pensioner has been told by a Housing Association that he must ‘get rid’ of his dog or face eviction from his sheltered home.

91 year old Albert Hatcher and his HW Animal Rescue dog Rosie, face an uncertain future after Hereford Housing, who control all housing in the county of Hereford on behalf of the local authority displayed an apparently uncompromising stance on the keeping of dogs.

Mr. Hatcher is physically disabled and lives quietly in a sheltered flat in Hereford. The accommodation does not have common walkways, as all the flats are independently accessible. As with many elderly people, Mr Hatcher’s family live far and wide, so he does not get visitors apart from carers who help with day to day meals and cleaning services.

He contacted a local animal rescue organisation, Hereford and Worcester Animal Rescue two months ago with a view to him getting a small dog as a companion to help him feel less lonely. A couple of other people who live in the complex have dogs, so Mr Hatcher had asked an employee of his landlords, Hereford Housing if it was possible for him to have a dog and the employee advised him that it ‘shouldn’t be a problem.’

The rescue matched him up with Rosie an elderly Jack Russell Terrier, a quiet little dog, so it was literally a match made in heaven. Mr Hatcher takes care of the dog’s feeding and general ‘TLC’, whilst his care worker walks Rosie 2 or 3 times a day when she has finished her tasks. The situation suited all concerned, and Mr Hatcher and Rosie were perfectly happy together.

Some six weeks later, Mr Hatcher received a call from an officer at Herefordshire Housing saying that he hadn’t permission to have Rosie and she has to be moved out immediately.

A spokesman for Hereford and Worcester Animal Rescue told OUR DOGS: ‘He is absolutely devastated. Their reasoning is, he didn’t get written permission - fair enough it states in their tenancy agreement that you cannot have a pet without written permission - but let’s face it, he is 91 years old, unable to write due to disability, so he requested permission via a verbal exchange with an Hereford Housing officer who told him he could have a dog. The tenancy agreement does not state ‘no pets allowed’, in fact it gives the impression that providing you have a written agreement then a pet is fine - which as it turns out is obviously not the case.

‘We have a fight on our hands with this one, they will not back down and neither will Albert - does a 91yr old really need this?’

Jennifer Preedy of Hereford Housing responded to OUR DOGS’ query about the situation saying: ‘Recent media interest has highlighted the case of Mr Hatcher, and his request to keep his dog Rosie within Herefordshire Housing Sheltered Accommodation.

‘Herefordshire Housing appears to be portrayed by the media as uncaring and unsympathetic to this request. In reality, we have been talking with Mr Hatcher and are shortly to meet with him and the Re-Homing agency to see what arrangements can be made to reach some form of compromise agreement, which we are hopeful will allow an outcome that will be satisfactory to all sides.

‘Clearly we have no desire to see Mr Hatcher denied permission to keep Rosie, but we have to be mindful of other factors that need to be taken into account.

‘We wish to ensure the welfare of the animal in question, and ensure adequate arrangements can be made for exercise. At the same time, we also need to ensure consideration is given to other residents, to ensure they are not inconvenienced by fouling of ‘common’ areas for relaxation.’

There is no evidence that Rosie has fouled any of the common areas used by other residents and her welfare has not been questioned by Hereford and Worcester Animal Rescue. The Rescue has launched a campaign to allow Rosie to say with Albert Hatcher and have invited dog lovers to write to Hereford Housing to urge them not to seek Rosie’s removal and to allow the pair to stay together.

If you wish to back Albert Hatcher’s fight to keep Rosie, e mail Hereford Housing via their website at: www.hhl.org.uk