'˜I feel bullied into getting rid of my animals'

A WIDOWER has spoken out over feeling '˜pressured' by a council to get rid of beloved animals.

Friday, 24th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 27th March 2017, 1:18 pm
Reginald Durnell, 71, from Purbrook, feels he is being victimised by Havant Borough Council due to an increase in rodents in the area. Picture: Sarah Standing (170392-4236)

Reginald Durnell, from Waterlooville, said he felt pressured to get rid of some of the animals in his garden after he lost his wife.

The former ex-naval regulator claims the companions were blamed for the accumulation of rodents in the area after a complaint made by a neighbour.

He said members of Havant Borough Council’s Environmental Health Team led him to believe other properties down the road would be checked along with his home.

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The 71-year-old, of Shaftesbury Avenue, said: ‘The council have made my life miserable. I felt pressured to get rid of some of my animals because of the stress the EHT gave me.

‘I got rid of 20 ducks, nine guinea pigs, and eight chickens, and I shed a tear when I let them go because my wife and I looked after them. I’ve got left three dogs, three bantam chickens, four ducks, and three miniature ducks.

‘I bait my own garden because the council started charging for it last year, and take steps to try and ensure rodents are kept out.

‘I have poison blocks, concrete down the side of my fence, and wire in the garden. I don’t have rubbish lying around – only food and animal waste which I put in my bin every day.

‘The man from the council that came to my door told me all gardens were being checked, while neighbours of mine knew nothing about it.

‘Nobody else had letters originally either, but after I rang the council to ask why the people either side of me didn’t, they got sent out – that was convenient.

‘There’s rodents coming from next door and inbetween the houses, but it’s being blamed on me because I have animals.’

Mr Durnell said the council used to provide rodent operatives free of charge.

He added: ‘There’s rubbish lying down the road, rodents come from everywhere.

‘Some people from the EHT have been very rude. I even had an angina attack because I was so stressed. I’ve had enough.’

Natalie Meagher is head of neighbourhood support at the council.

She said: ‘We’ve been treating properties in Shaftesbury Avenue for a number of months following a report of rodents.

‘As part of this programme it’s normal to gain access to adjoining properties. In this case Mr Durnell’s property is in the middle of the other households.

‘At no point have we asked or advised Mr Durnell to remove his animals.

‘The baiting service we provide is chargeable; however concessions are available, which Mr Durnell has been made aware.’