Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Dogs, bullies and gardens

After a long, and upsetting battle with Leeds City Council, I now have a dog boarding licence for this address.
I haven’t said anything about this until now as I wanted to get it resolved first.
Basically, I have two separate garden areas (thee if you include the driveway, four if you include the front garden!). One is on a busy main road, the other (I have a corner property) is in a very quiet cul de sac.
When they came to inspect the house and garden they objected to the first garden as there were some gaps in the hedge. I explained that dogs would only be allowed into that part under constant supervision (absolutely true by the way) , but this wasn’t good enough, so I said OK, then  I won’t let dogs into it at all, as they could use the other garden. They didn’t want to know. Instead they insisted I close all the gaps in the hedge in case a dog from outside might come crashing through (it would have to be a gymnast, all the gaps are at least three feet up) ) or people might throw rubbish through into my garden which dogs might eat.
I was told I couldn’t have a licence until the work had been done. I felt bullied. I was upset that at no time, did the dogs’ care come into it. I could hurt or shout at them, neglect and ignore them, or not play with them or take them for walks and that’s all fine, so long as they don’t get injured and the council gets sued. That’s what it was all about, the possibility of them getting taken to court. The fact that I’ve cut down and only have three clients, didn’t matter, nor did the fact that I planned to stop at the end of the year.
The old me would have laid down and been walked over. The new me wrote a letter, basically saying that they were bullies, that my second garden was perfect for dogs, that I didn’t like being accused of lying (in that they didn’t believe I would keep dogs out of the other part of the garden) and that I felt they were bullying me. I pointed out that I suffer from depression, and that I felt the story might be of interest to a magazine, or even TV.
Amazingly they had a change of heart. I now have a licence so Louis can come and stay with me, legally. I had Pip to stay while this was going on. To make sure I wasn’t prosecuted (yes, that’s what they threatened if I boarded without a licence) I didn’t cash her owners’ cheque, and gave it back to them.  
I feel very relieved, both because I am now ‘legal’ again, but mostly because I didn’t back down. I’ve had a problem with confrontation all my life so this felt bigger than I can adequately explain.  Sadly,  I’ve had to cancel Raffy’s booking. I did that as soon as this all blew up. He has to ‘go’ on grass, so I wouldn’t have been able to keep him out of the ‘dangerous garden’. Of course, the licence doesn’t say that only one part of the garden is OK so you have to wonder what all the fuss was about.
I hate bullies, don’t you?

1 comment:

  1. Councils are full of people who have to be seen to be doing their jobs - so they make fusses just to prove they are doing something. I'm glad you got it all sorted.