Portsmouth family say they will be split up as they can’t take their dogs to their new council flat

A PORTSMOUTH dad has said his family will be 'torn apart' if the council does not allow dogs in his new home.

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 11:54 am
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 11:56 am
John-Paul Westfield and his dogs, Bruce and Stan Picture: Chris Moorhouse (160319-40)

John-Paul Westfield is worried that he will have to live separately from his long-term partner and daughter as he refuses to 'abandon' his two dogs, Stan and Bruce.

The family are due to move into a two-bed council flat in Tipton House in Somers Town as their tenancy in Fratton is coming to an end. They can no longer afford to rent privately on John-Paul's wages as a gardener and the Universal Credit payments received by his girlfriend Annmarie.

But they were taken aback when they were told by Portsmouth City Council that their beloved jack russell Stan, 11, and chihuahua and jack russell cross Bruce, 12, could not come with them as there are no council homes currently in the city that allow pets.

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John-Paul Westfield, second left, and his family with their dogs, Bruce and Stan Picture: Chris Moorhouse (160319-41)

John-Paul, 44, said: 'Just talking about it gets me quite emotional. The council has offered us a place but it's on the 16th floor of Tipton House and we are not allowed to take the dogs, but they are my family.

'So it's either get rid of the dogs or we all have to go our separate ways. I am not prepared to give up my dogs.'

The family have planned that Annmarie, 45, and daughter Perie, 20, will go to Tipton House. John-Paul and the dogs will have to find somewhere else.

'If it came to it I would sleep in the back of my work van with them,' he said.

Bruce and Stan Picture: Chris Moorhouse (160319-44)

'They've only got a couple of years left of their lives, I don't want to abandon them. But Annmarie and I have lived together for 25 years. This will split the family up.

'There should be more council homes that allow for pets.'

Portsmouth City Council declined to comment specifically about John-Paul's situation.

But a council spokesman said: 'The keeping of one cat or one dog is permitted in 76 per cent of council properties, but restrictions apply in high rise blocks and sheltered accommodation for the elderly.

'In some properties such as houses, bungalows, ground floor flats and maisonettes with their own private garden or yard, two cats or two dogs (or one of each) is permitted.

'On the housing waiting list people can be registered for their preferred property type, including a property where pets are permitted, and any local area where social housing is available, but in circumstances where people are facing homelessness this choice may be restricted because of the limited time available to find a suitable home.'