Pet owners jubilant after flats victory

Residents at The Barracks, Pontefract, have won a battle with WDH to keep their pets. 'Ann Shaw - Max'Sylvia Pemberton - Rip

Residents at The Barracks, Pontefract, have won a battle with WDH to keep their pets. 'Ann Shaw - Max'Sylvia Pemberton - Rip

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Pet owners at The Barracks in Pontefract are celebrating after a U-turn from housing bosses has allowed them to keep their animals.

Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) caused uproar when they told tenants at the flats they must get rid of their cats and dogs, despite being told when it took over council housing seven years ago that existing pets could remain.

Now WDH has come up with a compromise, allowing tenants to keep their pets for the rest of their lives, on the basis they will not be allowed to replace them when they die.

Resident Ann Shaw, 64, of Queen’s Avenue, said: “It’s a better outcome than I expected. I’m very pleased.”

Miss Shaw, who has a nine-year-old west highland terrier called Max, was among dozens of residents who attended another meeting with WDH last week to hear details of the compromise.

Under the agreement, tenants will sign a declaration if they already have a dog or cat, and give details and a description of the animal.

They will also agree to abide by a set of rules regarding their pets’ behaviour and there will be six-monthly checks by WDH officers to ensure they are sticking to the agreement.

Upset tenants had faced getting rid of their elderly pets following an angry meeting with WDH staff two weeks ago.

While WDH told them they would have to get their pets rehomed, many residents feared their pets would be too hold to be found new homes, and would face having them put to sleep.

Coun Clive Tenant, who along with other ward councillors has been supporting the tenants, said: “I would like to thank WDH for listening to tenants, and common sense has prevailed.”

Joanne Smith, WDH area manager, told residents: “It is a bit of an amnesty. We have to have a sensible approach and compromise.

“It is the right thing to do.”

Resident Paul Davison said: “It’s come back to a sensible and logical conclusion and I think all parties are happy with that, it’s a good outcome.”