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Dog breeders say council are barking up the wrong tree
A COUPLE who breed dogs say they are being bullied by Winchester City Council after a warden visited their home.
Pauline and Alan Halewood, from Fisher’s Pond, breed Boxers from a small plot of land which they have owned for the past eight years.
Last Wednesday (March 6), they were visited by a dog warden, police and RSPCA following a complaint about barking dogs.
Mr Halewood, 69, said: “It’s downright bullying and sheer madness. They’re telling me now they had complaints of dogs barking but the nearest house is half a mile away.”
In 2011 an application for a mobile home at the site, off Portsmouth Road, was rejected and the couple have been living – illegally - in a small room adjoining the kennels.
They were first visited by Winchester City Council dog warden, Emily Bowen, on March 4, but since the visit was unscheduled she was asked to leave.
Ms Bowen returned on March 6 with a warrant, an RSPCA officer, a police officer and two vets commissioned by the council.
Mrs Halewood, 57, said the recent death of her mother, the stress of the visits and rejected planning applications have taken a toll on her health and she fears the dogs may be put down.
“I said to the dog warden that if it comes to this, put the dogs all to sleep, because they just won’t leave us alone.
“When they came it was like a ram-raid. They were here, there and everywhere,” she said.
A spokesman for the city council said in a statement: “Winchester City Council’s animal welfare officer visited an address at Fisher’s Pond following reports from the public about dog-barking.
“The officer initially found eight dogs on the site in kennels full of faeces. Four of the dogs had no water. The city council sought and was given a warrant by magistrates to investigate further. On a second visit with the warrant the officer found 39 dogs on the site.
“Vets have recommended a number of actions including ear-mite treatment for the dogs. Animal welfare officers will work to ensure that the owners take these measures and look after their dogs appropriately.”
The Halewoods say they have now treated the dogs for mites. They also the vet who attended their kennels informed them mites are not uncommon and that he did not consider it a sign of mistreatment.
“She said that one of dogs had not been watered for three days and I told her to get off my land. I was very upset at that suggestion,” Mrs Halewood said.
Mr Halewood added: “Yes there was excrement there when they showed up but we clean it up regularly and you can’t time it, it just happens.”
The couple say that if they do not live onsite, they cannot ensure that noise from the kennels is kept to a minimum. They are also concerned by recent dog thefts in the area.
The spokesman for the council said the case is on-going.