House dog ban is “ludicrous” says tenant

A FATHER has called plans to remove three dogs from his home as “ludicrous” in a move that would leave his autistic and deaf son without his “best friend”.

Gary Taylor, of Wolverley House in Gardiners Lane, Ashwell, has been told by social housing company North Hertfordshire Homes (NHH) that his son's eight-year-old dog Stanley, a mongrel cross, must be re-homed after biting two people.

His other two dogs, a Miniature Dachshund and a Border Terrier, have been granted an extended period to see if there is evidence they will not be a further nuisance.

Mr Taylor claims if NHH had put up a sign saying that an access point through their back garden was for emergencies only when he first asked there would have been no problems as the dogs would not have been able to get out.

The 51-year-old added that the second biting incident was a result of a NHH contractor visiting the property when both he and his wife Johann were out with only his deaf son Jason at home, despite assurances that appointments with a two-week notice period would be given prior to visits.

"He acts as a hearing dog for Jason and he's his best friend," said Mr Taylor.

"Stanley's always in Jason's room and keeps him company, how do we explain to him that he can't keep him anymore?

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"We're doing a little bit of training with the dogs but there's not a serious problem with these dogs. There's no reason for them to be removed or destroyed.

"If it was a dangerous dog it wouldn’t even be in the house. It is absolutely ludicrous - it's beyond health and safety."

Animal behavioural consultant Debbie Connolly visited the Taylors to inspect the dogs.

In a letter to the family, she said: "There was nothing I saw with your dogs that suggested the behaviour issues could not be solved. They reacted willingly, not once was there any sort of aggressive response to anything I did. I cannot accept at this stage that Stanley or any of your dogs should be condemned as dangerous and need removing."

A NHH spokesman said: "The dog has bitten two people and we have asked for it to be re-homed. We are meeting the family to discuss this at their request.

"Regarding giving two weeks notice of any visit, we agreed that maintenance type work would be made by appointment wherever possible to minimise disruption to the tenants. On the day the February biting incident occurred, the contractor was calling to arrange an appointment, not undertake work. We cannot guarantee that other organisations or visitors would only call at the property with a prior appointment.

"We maintain that the third dog responsible for these incidents must be re-homed, however we have extended the initial 28 day period to allow us to meet with the owners again and review their concerns as part of our formal complaints procedure.

"We recognise that this action may be distressing for the family, however we remain concerned that the dog will bite again."