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Maidstone Borough Council's homeless pet policy, inspired by the death of John Chadwick, faces criticism

By Luke May

A temporary housing policy for homeless people with pets has come under fire for not recording how many people it has helped.

Following the death of John Chadwick Maidstone Borough Council introduced a new policy in July meaning people could keep their animals in temporary accommodation.

Nine months on, the council has never reviewed the policy or recorded how many people it's helped.

John Chadwick with his beloved dogs Theo and Tinkerbell
John Chadwick with his beloved dogs Theo and Tinkerbell

Campaigner Dee Bonnett said: "I just think it's unbelievable. I feel angry for the first time since John died.

"How do we know if the policy is effective? The figures should be recorded so the council can see if it's working properly."

Kent Messenger sent a Freedom of Information Request to the council to understand how many pet owners had been moved into temporary accommodation and in turn, how many of those people had found permanent accommodation with their pets.

Dee Bonnett with her close friend John Chadwick
Dee Bonnett with her close friend John Chadwick

The council responded: "We do not record information on people with pets in regards to accommodation."

John Chadwick took his life in March 2017. The 52-year-old had been evicted from his home in Boxley Road, Maidstone and was forced to give up his two dogs and a cat in order to find temporary accommodation.

An inquest heard the loss of his animals was a key factor in Mr Chadwick's decision to take his own life.

Close friend Dee Bonnett has campaigned ever since to get more rights for homeless pet owners.

Miss Bonnett said: "People with pets should be able to stay in temporary accommodation until permanent housing can be found.

"That isn't happening, people are being offered houses with no pets. If they want to keep their pets they have to become voluntarily homeless."

An MBC spokeswoman said: "As far as the council is concerned - the new pet policy works – we have not had any reports of failed placements, but have received very positive responses from all those who have approached us in need of housing with regards to having a pet in their home.

"Those people have told us that it has had a very positive impact which would not have been the case prior to the policy being introduced to allow them to have a pet living with them."

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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