Almshouse resident in fight to keep her pet dog

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A 60-YEAR-OLD woman is facing homelessness if she does not give up her beloved dog.

Jackie Hurley moved into an almshouse, managed by Tring Charities at Ash Road in Tring in March 2007, with her dog Dash.

But after Dash died in June 2009 she took in labrador cross dog Digby from a relative unable to look after him and was told she was breaking the rules.

In a statement to the Tring Charities committee, Mrs Hurley, who works in sales, said: “Many people expressed an interest in re-housing Digby, but at the end of the day nobody did and I had no option but to keep him as the thought of putting him down was not something I could contemplate.

“He has been a model dog and has bonded not only with me, but also with the other residents in our small community.

“On a personal level, Digby has contributed greatly to my well being.

“I cannot understand the ferocity with which the threats of eviction have been expressed.”

The almshouses are on one of three sites provided in Tring for flats lived in by people aged over 55 or facing financial hardship.

She added: “I believe common sense should prevail before this matter becomes a complete farce and discredits the charity and its committee members and makes a 60-year-old lady homeless.”

Friend Henryk Rusin, who has been supporting her through her ordeal, said: “What difference does it make if you have a dog on a Wednesday, it dies on a Monday and you replace it? There is no change in circumstances.”

Tring Charities will meet on March 17 to discuss the issue.

Chairman of the trustees Colin Stevens said: “We have a number of rules, which have been put in place for the benefit of all our residents and for the smooth operation of the charity.

“Unfortunately one of our residents has, by her own admission, consistently broken one of those rules and continues to refuse to rectify the situation.”

Mr Stevens said the organisation may review the rules.

He said: “Sometimes we are confronted with the situation where somebody really is in difficult circumstances and they have a dog. At that point, we have to discuss whether we offer them the application but say they could bring the dog with them.

“We make a special condition that they can bring the dog, notwithstanding the fact that as a regular rule, residents are not allowed to have a dog.

“We are responsible for the general fabric of the property and do not know if the dog will cause any damage to that.

“We have communal gardens so we cannot have the situation where the dog is fouling the area.

“We made it clear at the first meeting that this was our policy and that was accepted.”