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Dog owner faces eviction

A DOG owner has told of his devastation at being told by council officials to get rid of two of his beloved pets, as he has too many dogs in his council property.

Paul Kelley, 36, has four pet dogs but has been told that is too many for his small council flat in Norwich. Now he says he is faced with the agonising decision of which pets to re-home or he could lose his one-bedroom flat.

However, Norfolk City Council bosses defended their stance and insisted they had to consider the welfare of the dogs and the condition of the property.

Mr Kelley lives with Jack Russell Kelly, crossbreed Lakeland Terrier Barney and their one-year-old puppies Bertha and Oates, who Mr Kelley only kept because they were ill with parvovirus when they were younger and could not be given a new home. He said: ‘There've been no problems in the 11 months I've had four dogs, up until about three weeks ago after a neighbour complained.

‘They said I'd be allowed to keep two Great Danes here - one of which would be about the size of my four put together, so how do they work that out?

‘I'm devastated because they are like members of the family. It'd be like making someone give up two of their kids, how would I choose? It's not fair on the dogs or me to try to force me to get rid of two. - I feel they have had no common sense or compassion and are just taking into account the number of dogs rather than their size.

Norwich City Council said that where dogs are permitted in council homes the tenancy agreement does not specify how many are allowed.

A spokeswoman said: ‘This is because we appreciate that an individual's circumstances are unique and so we have to treat each case on its own merit. The council must act on reports of problems and in some cases, it may be, that when the housing officer and dog warden have visited a premises, they find evidence that the individual's situation doesn't allow them to give proper care for the animals whilst respecting the property they are in and the environment for others.

‘In these instances we would require that the tenant have some, or all, of the dogs re-homed and this is something we help with and give advice on. This kind of decision would never be taken lightly and would only be made when the well-being of those concerned, including the animals, is at risk.’