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Martin Evans living in van after refusing to give up pet dog

By Nicola Jordan

A man is sleeping in a van at Gillingham's Riverside Country Park after turning down accommodation as he is not allowed to take his beloved dog with him.

Martin Evans has been living rough for the past eight months having refused an offer of a shared house in Sittingbourne because pets are banned.

His dog – a ridgeback called Gizmo – has been his constant companion for the past eight years and has been by his side through challenging times.

Martin Evans is living in his van with dog Gizmo
Martin Evans is living in his van with dog Gizmo

He said: “He is my best friend, my pal. To have to have him put down would break my heart – I don’t really have anyone else.”

Domestic problems led the 45-year-old to not having a permanent roof over his head.

He had to buy a Ford Transit van and turn it into a makeshift home.

The qualified chef had to quit his career because of medical reasons and has since relied on agency work to survive.

He lives between Gillingham and near the Ashcroft Coast Holiday Park, Sheppey.

He added: “I am working nights so I can take Gizmo out for walks during the day.

"To have to have him put down would break my heart – I don't really have anyone else" - Martin Evans

"I have been through some low times and Gizmo has been my reason for getting up and getting about.

“I now intend to work as much as I can and get enough money to put down on a property up north where it’s much cheaper.

“I have been told I will be on the waiting list for years. After all, I’m a single male, so I am not priority.”

Swale council spokesman Philip Sutcliffe said: “When people are facing homelessness, our priority is helping them to get a roof over their head.

“Although our temporary accommodation providers are unable to take pets, we will look at all other housing options.

“We would strongly urge Mr Evans to contact us as soon as possible so we can help him find a way forward.”

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