When Anne and Trevor Stuart decided to move into sheltered accommodation they carefully chose their new home on the basis that it was pet-friendly – allowing them to live their lives in the same way they always had, with their beloved dog Sweep.
He was a welcome addition to the Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (BDHT) scheme, bringing joy not only to his owners but also to other residents.
That joy soon turned to distress, however, when shortly after moving in Sweep was taken ill and passed away. This was particularly difficult for the Stuarts – as well as losing a true friend they were also still adjusting to new surroundings. Both Anne and Trevor are lifelong dog lovers and to help them through this sad time, they felt that rehoming another dog would be comforting. It was also something they felt passionate about doing.
It was at this point it became clear that rehoming another dog might not be straightforward, as the BDHT housing office informed the couple of the Trust’s policy that once a pet dies, it cannot be “replaced” Trevor recalls: “One of the most confusing things for us was that at no point had we been made aware of this policy, so how on earth could it be upheld? We are sure that had we been informed, we would not have moved to the accommodation – being able to care for a dog is such an important part of our lives.”
The Stuarts took a decision to stand up for their right to choose whether or not to keep a pet and for their right to be fully informed about such an important policy. It was at this point they contacted SCAS and together we embarked on a campaign to ensure that BDHT took notice. Due to the fact the Stuarts were not informed of this policy when signing their contract and no formal written documents outlined the Trust’s decision not to allow pets to be replaced, they were entitled to contest the Trust’s decision.
A number of official complaints were lodged by both SCAS and the Stuarts, with SCAS also writing to the Trust informing them of the Pets for Life campaign and our support for Anne and Trevor. And it is thanks to the tenacity of our combined efforts that the Trust reviewed the status of their policy and decided to implement one which allows pets. They listened to their residents and even thanked them for raising the issue. If Anne and Trevor had not had the courage to speak out, it may never have been addressed.
Bromsgrove District Housing Trust has since invited SCAS to share with it our knowledge of this issue and we look forward to working with them as they develop and finalise a responsible and positive pet policy.
Meanwhile, Anne and Trevor have gone on to rehome Suzy, a greyhound from the Hall Green Greyhound Rescue Trust. We’ve been reliably informed that Suzy has a very laid-back nature, never pulls on the lead or barks, and is a very friendly and contented dog. We are delighted to be imparting such good news and wish all three of them the very best for the future.
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Are you or a member of your family concerned about the future of your pet as you consider a move into alternative accommodation? Have you had to give up a beloved pet in order to move? Whatever your situation, we’d like to hear from you. Contact us