You can lose your home if your dogs bark too much

NEWS AND COMMENT: A Yorkshire woman, Samantha Flower, 44, living in the city of York, has lost her council home because she allowed her Jack Russell terriers to bark relentlessly for four years despite numerous complaints and orders to try and force her to control her dogs.

The street where Ms Flower lived
The street where Ms Flower lived. This is Lincoln Street, off Leeman Road, York. Photo: Google Street View.

The timeline is interesting and it clearly shows that Ms Flower took a very careless attitude towards the authority’s attempts to get her to control her dogs.

  1. In May 2017 neighbours started to complain to City of York Council about the noise.
  2. In August 2017 she was issued with a noise abatement notice from the local authority after failing to comply with requests to keep her dogs quiet from council enforcement officers.
  3. In January 2018 she was cautioned for allowing her dogs to cause a noise nuisance.
  4. And in May 2019 she was convicted in the magistrates court for allowing a dog to cause a nuisance through barking.
  5. In August 2021 she was convicted by York magistrates of four offences of breaching the noise abatement notice.
  6. And on 20 October 2021 she was evicted from her council home.

It always surprises me that people who allow their dogs to bark like this are so insensitive to the feelings of others and their loss of amenity and enjoyment of the place where they live. And this is particularly so during the pandemic when people were confined to their homes and their lives severely disrupted. This meant that they were far more likely be near the home of Ms Flower and therefore forced to suffer constant barking.

Ms Flower had broken her tenancy agreement and she also breached a suspended possession order of her home granted in May 2019. It is this which resulted in her being evicted.

When council officers started to visit Ms Flower following complaints they advised her to get her dogs trained. We are told that she ignored the advice which led to a subsequent noise abatement notice. She ignored this as well.

Ms Flower was particularly vulnerable to eviction because she was living in a council property. She had to comply with the tenancy agreement which she breached and the local authority is more connected to council properties because they run and manage them. They are the landlord, freeholder and they have a duty to ensure that there tenants comply with the rental agreement.

Ms Flower said that she attempted to soundproof her home. She also said that she had rehomed one of her dogs but two dogs remained and they were far too noisy. She apparently did far too little too late.

I don’t think she realised how important her council home was to her. I would be surprised if she had any possibility of renting on the open market and certainly the purchase of a home would be impossible for her. I don’t know what will happen to her next. Perhaps she will reapply for a council home and in the meantime she might be technically homeless and therefore rehomed by the council in a hotel.

Source: Examiner Live and York Mix.

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