Applying to keep a pet. Please note you are responsible for your pets at all times. Our policy for pet-keeping

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1 Westward s policy on pet ownership: The Group recognises the benefits that responsible pet ownership can bring. However, controls must be in place to prevent irresponsible pet ownership which can cause suffering to animals and a nuisance to neighbours. can help you

2 This leaflet is relevant for a new resident, an established resident thinking about getting a pet, or if you have had a pet for some time. It will also be helpful for residents who are having problems with a neighbour s pet. These are the areas covered in this leaflet: 1. Our policy for pet-keeping 2. Applying to keep a pet 3. The law 4. Your tenancy agreement and pets 5. Responsible pet ownership 6. Nuisance behaviour from a pet 7. What to do if you are having problems with a neighbour s pet 8. Action Westward can take concerning nuisance pets 9. Cruelty or neglect 10. Useful contact details Please note you are responsible for your pets at all times Permission may not be granted for: A dog or cat where the household already has more than one pet. A household where there is an ongoing problem with pet ownership or where there has been a problem in the past, either with a previous landlord or us. 2 Applying to keep a pet You need to seek permission for most types of pet including cats, dogs, caged animals such as hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds (both those kept inside and outside your home), reptiles, insects and aquariums. Goldfish are fine, but for other animals, if you are in doubt please just ask. You will need to complete a Pet Agreement Form which asks for details of the pet and for you to agree to be responsible for the pet, to ensure it does not cause a nuisance to neighbours. 1 Our policy for pet-keeping We are happy to give permission in most cases. Certain types of pet are not permitted: Farm animals e.g: sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, horses, chickens, ducks. Animals licensed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 a list is available from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at Dogs specified in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 a list is available from the UK Direct Government website at 2

3 3 3 The law This is a summary of the main laws relating to animal keeping. For more information contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or Legal Advice Centre. Protection of Animals Act 1911 Persons found guilty of cruelty or neglect may be imprisoned and/or fined.they may also be banned from keeping an animal for life. Animal Welfare Act 2006 Owners have a legal duty to meet the welfare needs of pets. Welfare needs include a proper diet (including water), somewhere suitable to live, any need to be housed with - or apart from - other animals, allowing animals to express normal behaviour, and protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease.anyone who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs, may be banned from owning animals, fined up to 20,000 and/or sent to prison. Control of Dogs Order 1992 Every dog, while in a public place, must wear a collar displaying the owner s name and address. If it is not wearing a collar when out in public the dog may be seized by the local authority and treated as a stray. Animals Act 1971 It is the duty of owners to ensure that animals do not cause injury or damage.an owner can be liable for any damage caused e.g: damage to livestock because of a dog attack. Dogs Act 1871 Owners face the possibility of a two month prison sentence or an unlimited fine. If a court has received a complaint it may decide that a dog is dangerous and not kept under proper control and would then the owner to resolve the situation or even to have it destroyed. 4 Your Tenancy Agreement and pets Please read your Tenancy Agreement for the basic rules regarding the keeping of animals. 5 Responsible pet ownership Before deciding to keep a pet, please ask yourself the following questions: Does the pet fit your lifestyle and family circumstances? Are you out a lot of the time? Do you have young children in the household? Is your accommodation suitable? Do you have easy access to open spaces; is a flat suitable for the type of pet you are proposing to keep? How much is it going to cost? What will happen to the pet if you are away e.g. on holiday? Can you afford it? Some items you can budget for: the initial cost of the pet, equipment and ongoing costs such as food and bedding.what about unexpected costs such as vets bills? Are you going to insure and microchip your pet? Both are advisable and have cost implications, but can be done relatively cheaply.

4 Getting third party liability insurance included in your pet insurance will help protect you if your dog attacks another person or animal. Is there a local vet? This is particularly important if you have a more unusual or exotic pet. Are regular vaccinations required? Are you planning to have your pet neutered? Unwanted pets are a huge tragedy and so this is encouraged by animal charities to save their suffering. Hamsters can have babies in a litter, so you can have a population explosion on your hands if, you don t keep males and females apart! Is your choice of pet likely to cause a nuisance to your neighbours? We all want to live harmoniously with our neighbours - is it worth having a chat with them before you make the final decision? Often it is not the type of pet that will cause a nuisance to neighbours, so long as you plan to properly care for and control it. How committed are you? Dogs cannot be allowed to roam freely on communal areas, they must be walked on a lead. Dogs cannot be left barking in the house or garden all day thus causing a noise nuisance. You need to think through these issues before taking on an animal. 6 Nuisance behaviour from a pet Roaming and unattended animals Pets fouling in communal areas and in owners gardens and this not being cleared up immediately Pets fouling in neighbours gardens Excessive noise Over-population of animals within a household Unpleasant odours from pets Aggressive animals Remember you are responsible for your pet and their behaviour at all times. If your pet is causing a problem to a neighbour, the most helpful thing you can do is to try and see things from their point of view. Consider how you would feel if you lived next door to a dog which barks incessantly, or your children come in from playing in the communal area with dog poo on their shoes? If a neighbour approaches you with a problem then try to sort it out amicably. 7 What to do if you experience problems with a neighbour s pet If you feel you can, approach the owner and see if you can sort out the matter informally. Here are some tips: Take early action - don t wait until the situation is unbearable and your patience has been exhausted before approaching the owner. 4

5 Try not to jump to conclusions listen to the other person s response and don t make unfounded allegations Try to remain calm - do not shout or make abusive remarks and do not retaliate. If you feel at risk or threatened then walk away. If you are not confident about approaching the owner then speak to your neighbourhood coordinator or housing officer. In some cases the matter may be referred to our anti-social behaviour unit. 5 8 Action Westward can take concerning nuisance pets We generally try to resolve the issue informally after hearing both sides of the story. If this does not work then there are a number of more formal approaches we can take. These include: Booking a professional mediator. Working with you to set up an Estate Agreement if a number of residents are affected this is a set of rules developed by residents which describes acceptable behaviour for their area. Responsible pet ownership would form part of this agreement. Withdrawing permission for the animal, or restricting the number of animals at a property. Making responsible pet ownership part of an Acceptable Behaviour Contract - this is a formal contract signed by the person causing the problem,westward, and in some cases a third party such as the police. Involving statutory organisations such as the police or the local authority s environmental health department. Involving voluntary organisations such as the RSPCA. Serving an injunction to oblige the owner to start or stop certain actions or to remove the animal. Terminating the tenancy where multiple tenancy conditions are breached. 9 Cruelty or neglect If you suspect that a neighbour is guilty of cruelty or neglect towards an animal then you should report this to the RSPCA. You should telephone the 24 hour National Cruelty and Advice Line on The RSPCA will ask you a series of questions, they promise to keep your details confidential. 10 Useful contacts for advice and assistance RSPCA A charity which investigates complaints of cruelty and neglect.they run animal hospitals and clinics for low income households.they run centres which house dogs looking for new homes.they also provide general animal care and welfare advice, and campaign on animal welfare issues.they may provide financial assistance with neutering animals. Tel: hour National Cruelty and Advice Line: Dogs Trust A dog welfare charity providing advice on all aspects of dog ownership. It runs 15 centres for dogs looking for new homes. It campaigns on animal welfare issues, and runs education programmes. It subsidises neutering and provides free micro-chipping in certain areas. Tel:

6 Cats Protection A charity which provides advice on cat care, it runs a rescue service and a service to find new homes for cats. It may provide financial assistance with neutering cats. Tel: PDSA A charity which runs animal clinics to provide veterinary care for sick animals owned by low income households. Tel: Veterinary Surgeon Information Royal College ofveterinary Surgeons (RCVS) A list of registered veterinary surgeons. Tel: or this website holds details of veterinary practices. The CinnamonTrust An organisation that helps older people keep their pets with them for longer by organising walks for them if you are ill, fostering them if you have to go into hospital or finding a good home for them if you die and there is no one else to care for them. Tel: contact Westcountry Housing customers: Text: with your name, address, phone number and brief outline of query. If you have hearing problems, please use the RNID Typetalk service on (textphone users) or (hearing people). Tarka Housing customers: Text: with your name, address, phone number and brief outline of query Westward Housing Group is a non-asset holding parent with exempt charitable status. BothTarka and Westcountry are also registered social landlords with exempt charitable status. Westward Housing Group Ltd is an exempt charity, registered under Industrial & Provident Soc.Act 1965 No R Tenant Services Authority (TSA), the Regulator of Social Housing No. L4510.A member of the National Housing Federation.

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