A Craigieburn couple are pleading for Hume council to “have a heart” after being told they must rehome two pet dogs.
Atelia and Bruce Watkins own six samoyeds, the majority of which have lived with them for at least 10 years.
The couple had a council permit for four dogs but a couple of years ago, their fluffy family grew to six after they took in Mr Watkins’ father’s dog, Rusty, and another samoyed with arthritis, Leon.
Rusty is the sibling of two of the Watkins’ other dogs.
Hume council received a complaint about the dogs in late March and ordered the couple to rehome Rusty and Leon after an investigation found that they were unregistered.
Ms Watkins described the dogs as her children.
“Rusty has been rehomed twice and it didn’t work out either time and caused him a lot of stress and anxiety,” she said. “We took Leon in to rehome him, but when we found out about the amount of disfigurement in his legs, we thought no one would take him on.
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An online petition asking the council to allow the dogs to remain together was signed by more than 1700 people in five days.
Ms Watkins said the couple had made an “honest mistake” in not notifying the council that Leon and Rusty were living with them.
Council corporate services director Daryl Whitfort said the council was required to enforce the conditions of the Watkins’ permit.
“We understand animals, especially cats and dogs, are beloved companions for many people and we make every effort to encourage responsible pet ownership while balancing the need to protect the amenity of a residential area,” he said.
“This means the dogs exceeding the permit allocation for a property are required to be removed.”