‘Please don’t make us ditch our Layla’

Best friend: Layla (below)Keith Smith with Layla, his pet whippet
Best friend: Layla (below)Keith Smith with Layla, his pet whippet

A wife has made a last-ditch plea to ensure she can keep a dog she says has helped turn her husband’s health around.

Jacqueline Smith says her husband, Keith, 77, was bedridden for more than 20 hours a day, struggling with severe depression before they brought whippet Layla to their home on the advice of healthcare professionals.

Keith Smith and Jacqueline Smith face eviction from their apartment in Lytham after committe members objected to their dog Layla residing inside

Keith Smith and Jacqueline Smith face eviction from their apartment in Lytham after committe members objected to their dog Layla residing inside

Now, directors and owners of flats at New Hampshire Court, Ansdell, want to enforce a previously relaxed covenant agreement to remove the dog.

At a meeting last week, owners and directors met with Mrs Smith to discuss the matter, but no resolution was found.

Mrs Smith said: “Keith is still seriously ill, and receiving letter after letter from Homestead Housing telling us that they will take further action against us is only making my husband’s condition worse.

“The situation is extremely distressing, as there is no problem with Layla.”

After acting upon advice from mental health teams, Mrs Smith says her husband would walk the dog every day.

She added: “Layla works in the same way as a guide dog does, in terms of the aid it supplies its owner.

“She is a silent dog and does not make any noise even when someone knocks on our door.”

But owners in the block are adamant they want the whippet out. Chris Scholefield, site manager of Homestead Housing, said: “It’s not a nice situation, and it never is when a lease needs to be enforced.

“We have received a number of complaints from residents who say they can hear the dog running around.

“They (the Smiths) were offered compromises, asking to carry the dog out of the block and keep it on a leash sometimes while it is inside.”

Mr Scholefield says that, despite agreeing to compromise, Mrs Smith has not stuck to her word.

He added: “I have had various chats with Jacqueline.

“Once compromises have not been made, directors and owners in the block have asked the covenant’s requirement of having no pets is adhered to.”