A Yeovil couple fighting to keep their pet ferrets fear they face eviction if they do not re-home them.
Tanita Harding, 19, and Joshua Brown, 22, of Roping Road flats, received a letter from Yarlington Housing Group – which owns their home – to say they are in breach of their tenancy agreement by keeping pet ferrets.
The letter said the housing provider had received anonymous complaints about the animals, as well as reports of loud noises – such as shouting and doors banging – coming from the flat late at night.
It also said permission is required to keep animals in a Yarlington property. However the couple said they were told they would not be allowed to keep ferrets.
Miss Harding, a health care assistant, said she felt discriminated against. She said: “It’s quite upsetting because we don’t have children so, as a young couple, we look at these animals as our children.
“It feels discriminatory because we have chosen to have unique pets. It seems unfair that other people in our flats have dogs or cats, while others have canaries.”
The ferrets – called Nipper and Noodles – were bought around nine months ago. They are housed in a cage and are often taken out for walks in Ham Hill and other places.
The couple said they did not believe they had to ask permission to keep the pets as they were told they did not need it for a pet hamster they had when they first moved into the flat.
They completed a permission form on Tuesday [Jan 29] but are fearful for the future. More than 160 people have joined a Facebook group calling for the ferrets to be allowed to stay with the couple.
Miss Harding added: “We are not willing to give up to be honest. It’s not really an option. Anyone who has an animal knows you take on that responsibility of caring for that animal no matter what.
“I would like to thank those on Yeovil Real News, and the community, for pulling together to support us. It definitely gives you the incentive to carry on with what we believe to be right.”
A spokeswoman for Yarlington Housing Group said: “We received anonymous complaints about ferrets that were escaping being kept at this address – it is within our policy to act on any complaints we receive.
“As standard practice, all our tenants must fill in a permissions form if they wish to keep pets within their property. Our pet policy is explained to tenants during the sign up – if they change their pet or get another, they must fill in a new permissions form.
“This was not done by the residents at Roping Road. Yarlington brought it to their attention that they were in breach of their contract by issuing them with a letter.
“Following this and after discussions with the tenants, Yarlington have provided them with the relevant permission forms which give them the right to seek permission to keep their ferrets.”