Campaigners fight new pet policy

NICKIE Miller has shown her dogs at Crufts for 20 years and adores her six beautiful Cavalier King Charles spaniels.But now Mid Suffolk District Council is consulting tenants on new contracts that limit the number of pets they may have, leaving her worried that she may not be able to keep all her beloved pets - Treacle, eight, Amber, six, Jessica, five, Abigail, four, Billy, two and little Fudge, one.

NICKIE Miller has shown her dogs at Crufts for 20 years and adores her six beautiful Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

But now Mid Suffolk District Council is consulting tenants on new contracts that limit the number of pets they may have, leaving her worried that she may not be able to keep all her beloved pets - Treacle, eight, Amber, six, Jessica, five, Abigail, four, Billy, two and little Fudge, one.

Mid Suffolk District Council has about 3,500 tenants and within a new proposed rental agreement is a clause about family pets.

It would apply to those already in properties or who move in and states that they may not keep more than two dogs and two cats and must get written permission to keep any animal other than a dog, cat, caged bird or fish in an aquarium.

It also has conditions including that they must not breed any animals at the property, or allow their animals to foul roads, footpaths, or local play areas.

The move has incensed Mrs Miller, a 46-year-old accounts worker who moved to her council home seven years ago.

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Mrs Miller, who lives in a council bungalow with a large garden and surrounded by fields at Mendham, near Eye, said: “I show my dogs and have been at Crufts every year for years, although I would not care less if they had three legs and one eye, I love them.

“How dare Mid Suffolk District Council say after eight years that I may have to get rid of them?

“I am organising a campaign against this arbitrary attack on the rights of council tenants, who are causing no harm to the surrounding residents, to live their lives in peace with their pets.

“We had no idea when we signed our original tenancies, years ago, that the goalposts were going to be moved.”

Mrs Miller has started a petition and has already gained almost 1,000 signatures, and is now considering a protest to make her point to the Needham Market-based council.

Louise Platt, a senior housing officer with the council, said: “Although the majority of pet owners are responsible, we do get lots of complaints about nuisance caused by pets.

“As a result we do welcome the views of our tenants and the tenants' forum during the 12-week consultation period.”

A spokeswoman for the council added that a final decision has yet to be taken and while existing tenants will be asked to re-sign the new contracts, the authority is aware of people's anxiety, and may well insert a clause for tenants who have lived in their homes for some time making them exempt from the restriction on pet numbers.

The consultation period on the new contracts closes early in December and anyone interested in supporting Mrs Miller's campaign can e-mail her at nottus@talktalk.net

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