Barking Blondes: Smuggling your dog into forbidden places

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

barking 300x225 Barking Blondes: Smuggling your dog into forbidden placesWhether its right or wrong, smuggling your dog into forbidden areas is on the increase. Over the Easter holidays a pair of long ears and snout were spotted peering out of a handbag in London’s Chelsea Old Church and from under a coat in the back pew of St James’s Piccadilly.

A miniature schnauzer quietly enjoyed a late night screening in one of The West End art houses and a we were reliably informed that a Yorkie was privileged enough to be following the recently released Spring Breakers from the warmth of a pocket in a local cinema.

Good luck, we say to anyone who manages to pull this off. We have spent enough time, sharing space with offensive humans, to welcome the smuggling in of a few of our four-legged friends.

What did concern us, however was a call to our radio show from a listener who referred to herself as “a member of an underground society of dog owners”. Apparently, she dog sits other peoples pooches when the site officer visits their block of flats, as dog ownership is forbidden. Many of the elderly residents keep dogs when it’s clearly written into the lease that they are banned.

There is the added problem, she admitted, of avoiding the areas with CCTV as well as certain neighbours. Her call encouraged a number of listeners admitting to keeping a dog where its quite clearly stated, they are illegal. One lady suggested that if you don’t ask and you don’t admit to having a dog when renting or buying a flat, then often you can ‘get away with it’. Is this the correct atmosphere to live with a dog?

The occasional smuggling into a restaurant, church or cinema is one thing… but living with such anxiety has to be questioned. With so many of us believing a house is not a home without a dog, how can we get landlords and letting agents to appreciate the value of the “hound pound” instead of the NO PETS ALLOWED policy?

Molly, our miniature bull terrier was faced with eviction from a leasehold property. Fortunately, with her undeniable charm, she won over the minority and was allowed to stay, providing the flat was immediately put on the market for sale. Nothing can be more heartbreaking for an owner to be forced to rehome a dog in these circumstances. And with the triple dip recession this is becoming more common.

The Dogs Trust  is championing a campaign called Lets with Pets. Their famous slogan ‘A dog is for life and not just for Christmas’ has epitomised this initiative. Galvanising landlords and letting agents to become dog-friendly, Lets with Pets is a lifeline for some dogs and owners meaning the difference between staying together for life or not.

Landlords commonly believe that a dog will automatically destroy their property, bark incessantly causing complaints, dig up a garden and generally be a nuisance. We find this ironic when toddlers and babies are welcomed. A toddler wielding a felt-tip pen might wreck the wallpaper in minutes or destroy a carpet with spilt fizzy pop, but that’s acceptable. Young babies crying all night is not considered noise pollution and is also accepted by landlords. But the fate for a barking dog is a likely noise abatement order imposed by the local council.

The Dogs Trust is proactively winning over the letting profession, but for leasehold property owners the fight is still on for any pets except a goldfish to be allowed. And trying to smuggle a dog into the home in these circumstances could end in tears. Some leaseholders will agree to a doggy resident, it’s up to the owner to convince them with outstanding responsibility and prove their dog’s good behaviour. The motto is spend enough time with your dog to ensure it’s a perfect canine citizen – a credit to you. Less cause for smuggling.

The Barking hour Thursdays 3-4pm BBC London 94.9fm

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  • 5brian5

    Good Sunday Morning Ladies; Years ago, I did independent contracting work in apartment complexes, as it allowed me to be at home when my son was a baby. (flex hours). In some apartment complexes, there are always a few irresponsible types. This one particular apartment I worked on, was infested with fleas to the point of them jumping off the carpet onto me. Thousands, at least. It was a nightmare to exterminate, and the occupants were evicted. On the other hand, my aunt and uncle in London Ontario Canada, were responsible dog owners, and always had a poodle. I don’t remember them having any restrictions imposed by the management, and the apartment complex was very posh. I see both sides of the issue, however, I am pro dog and think it is unfortunate that dog owners have to sneak around the rules and live in fear. I have lived in fear from time to time for a variety of reasons, but never because I feared the authorities would evict my dog or cat and I for ownership. Rules many times are so arbitrary, there’s no doubt in my mind they were meant to break. Hopefully, in the future, dogs will own all flats, and kick the management out to the curb! Great Blog, but sad story! Take care of each other! Brian (Detroit) xxxx

  • marcbletchley

    good morning jo and anna
    interesting reading on sneaking dogs into places i live in a block of flats and dogs are not allowed but people do look after them as its one of those places that if theres no noise yapping or barking then it dont come up on the radar.
    i must admit ive not seen many small dogs in handbags great reading as normal
    woof woof from bletchley towers
    ps my favorite picture is that one above with molly and matilda in the bath tub

  • MrReasons2BCheerful

    I’d sooner allow a pet into a rental property rather than some magic-marker wielding 5 year old thug with an eye on your pristine walls!!! Ridiculous that pet owners are still banned from some rentals. And you can’t trust estate agents, so do your own research to confirm fully.
    Last year, a neighbour of mine renting a flat in the large modern glass and metal horror nearby, purchased a beautiful chocolate Labrador (for her 13 year old daughter). One morning whilst “walking” her dog on the small green in front of the block, she complained that he was chewing the walls – “he needs more exercise,” was my response. Sadly, I heard later that month that the dog had been returned to the breeder and they had been forced to move on.

  • Pat Knott

    im an aunt of paul from westerham he posted your blog i have a maltese terrier and a large hand bag so [joe] has been to many places where dogs are not allowed,enjoyed you post here in australia.

  • Ziggydog

    It’s a shame so much rented housing is no pets allowed – can’t see the logic! So long as you pick up and don’t let your dog bark out of control – what is the problem? The Dogs Trust are great in raising awareness and helping create more dog-friendly lets. Maybe more people would rescue dogs if accommodation wasn’t such a headache.

  • madgooner1

    i sat through a wedding with a kitten sticking it’s head out of a handbag in front of me

  • Gizwiz

    ‘Lets With pets’ is a great scheme, unfortunately not enough property owners/letting agents etc are taking notice. I’m currently looking to move and being the owner of a cat could face such problems. I don’t HAVE to move so would have to stay put if it becomes a real issue, as moving without my ‘baby’ would never be an option. As an excellent potential tenant I’m thinking of placing my ad along the lines of ‘Responsible middle aged female writer with well behaved pedigree house cat seeks well maintained 2 bed property etc etc’ – bit worried it sounds too much like a singles ad though! oh well, 2 birds, 1 stone and all that!!

  • Pacificweather

    My first tenants had two children and two dogs that slept in a cage in the kitchen (not at my insistence I hasten to add). Perhaps the children did not sleep in the cage, I am not sure, but the propery was well treated. The many good tenants with dogs are often penalised for the few, particularly in flats where the time it takes to remedy problems that impinge upon other residents is the main concern of the landlord who may herself be a leaseholder constrained by her lease with the superior landlord.

  • Heathbar

    Certain dogs are more likely to cause damage, usually young dogs that are still teething, or dogs who are left alone a lot of the time. Dogs and their owners can cause far more damage than the landlord can get in a deposit. I would be worried about renting to someone with a new pup, or young dog, from the damages point of view, but if someone had an older dog, well trained, and with references from a previous landlord, then no problem. I think people need to think hard before getting a young dog on a whim and then trying to find somewhere to rent.

    Landlords should also be able to take a larger separate deposit to thoroughly clean a property after renting to someone with a cat or dog.

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