Flat used as animal shelter the centre of a bitter dispute

Croydon Guardian: Flat used as animal shelter the centre of a bitter dispute Flat used as animal shelter the centre of a bitter dispute

A bitter row has broken out between animal lovers accused of "hoarding" cats and neighbours who claim the furry creatures are making their lives a misery.

Maureen Atkinson, 72, and her son Robert, 45, share their two-bedroom flat in Kestrel Way, New Addington, with 15 felines as well as a chinchilla, a rabbit and a guinea pig.

The pair have turned their home into an animal shelter, taking in unwanted cats and looking for new owners, and fear complaints from neighbours will force them to stop.

Angry neighbours in the 12-flat block say the building is unsuitable for so many animals and claim the smell is so bad their cannot open their windows.

A group of residents wrote a letter to Croydon Council last month urging them to take action.

One, a woman who did not want to be named, said: "It is not a cat sanctuary, it is meant to be a home. All the neighbours are suffering. We can't open our windows because of the smell of cats' urine.

"We are not saying the cats are not looked after, but it is too small for that many. They are basically hoarding them. I feel sorry for the cats. It is cruel."

Another neighbour said: "They think it doesn't smell because they are immune to it. You have to think of others. It's not on."

Mrs Atkinson said the RSPCA had inspected her flat and raised no concerns. Eight of the cats are pets, with the rest either dumped at the flat or taken on because their previous owners did not want them.

The pair have been rehoming animals, using the name Furry Paws Rescue, for 30 years, and said they were looking to offload some of the cats but struggling to find new owners.

They fear the animals could be put down if they are forced to give them up.

Mrs Atkinson said: "People dump a lot of animals on us. We have had some come from this block. They just dump them on us when they move out. We have been trying to find them new homes but it seems to have dried up. It might be the recession."

Her son added: "They keep complaining that the place is dirty. It's cluttered but we do keep it clean. We love animals. We would not be doing this if we were abusing them. We have been accused of all sorts. They have no respect."

A council spokesman said: "The council is aware of the situation and has met with the tenant. While not wishing to restrict her ability to offer animals a safe existence, we must have mind of our responsibility to the neighbours.

"We're working with her to get to a compromise that means there's no nuisance caused to other residents."

Anyone interested in providing a home for a cat can contact Robert Atkinson on 07902575760.

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:40pm Sat 12 Jul 14

alroutemaster says...

So long as the animals are not suffering what's the problem. It could be a lot worse, imagine living next to a person with loads of kids......
So long as the animals are not suffering what's the problem. It could be a lot worse, imagine living next to a person with loads of kids...... alroutemaster
  • Score: 10

7:55pm Sat 12 Jul 14

motomoto says...

It's bad enough having one cat in a property but 15 is taking the complete
and utter p1ss.
It is very clear that they are thinking of no one other than themselves
so how can her son turn around and say other residents have no respect
when both him and his mum are potentially causing a serious health
hazzard to other residents ?
The complete and utter selfishness and belief of self entitlement of people like this is unbelievable.......t
hey are so wrapped up in their own little worlds that they don't see the bigger picture.......they may as well be
wearing horse blinkers !
And also are they not in breach of their tenancy agreement by having a business name registered at a council property, irrespective of whether
that business is a charity or making a profit ?
It's bad enough having one cat in a property but 15 is taking the complete and utter p1ss. It is very clear that they are thinking of no one other than themselves so how can her son turn around and say other residents have no respect when both him and his mum are potentially causing a serious health hazzard to other residents ? The complete and utter selfishness and belief of self entitlement of people like this is unbelievable.......t hey are so wrapped up in their own little worlds that they don't see the bigger picture.......they may as well be wearing horse blinkers ! And also are they not in breach of their tenancy agreement by having a business name registered at a council property, irrespective of whether that business is a charity or making a profit ? motomoto
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree