Chilwell couple forced to choose between their home and pet XL Bully

XL Bully dog Tank lying on bed in wooden cabin looking at camera and cuddling with owner Tyler who is below
-Credit: (Image: Natalie Robinson)

A couple say they are being forced to choose between their home and their dog after Broxtowe Borough Council told them they would not be allowed to remain in social housing if they keep their pet. Factory workers Natalie Robinson and Tyler Langham's XL bully Tank is neutered, muzzled and even has an exemption certificate from the government.

But after losing their privately-rented home in Storm Babet, they were left with no option but to move into a council property in Chilwell. And Broxtowe's policy is that banned breeds are not allowed - meaning the pair are now facing eviction if they don't get rid of their dog.

Natalie said: "I've got depression and anxiety and Tank helps me get up and get to work. It's making me feel so depressed what they're putting us through. I won't give him up. It'd kill me."

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Natalie, 37, and Tyler, 29, previously lived in Stapleford in a property rented from a private landlord who was fine with them having the dog. But the house was flooded during Storm Babet and left under seven feet of water.

It would've taken a year and a half to repair the home to a habitable condition, the couple were told. Unable to wait so long, they looked around for somewhere else.

But the search was unsuccessful, as no other private landlords would take them. And because they had 18-month-old Tank, they weren't even allowed in any temporary accommodation.

Instead, while they waited, they had to pay to live in a pod on Meadow View Glamping site in Stapleford. They were finally offered their Chilwell home by the council - who knew about Tank, but also referred the couple to their policy and warned them of the potential consequences - earlier this year, and moved in on May 24.

Days later, a neighbour reported them for having a banned dog on the premises. And on June 14, the council served them a letter, telling them they were in breach of their tenancy agreement and that legal advice would be sought if they didn't get rid of him.

The pair are now working with DogWatch UK, who believe Tank may not be an XL Bully but simply a large Bully and may therefore not be banned under the law. Testing will now take place to confirm whether or not Tank is an XL Bully - and the couple are pinning their hopes on that last resort.

They say they've done everything they can to comply with regulations, and to appease Broxtowe Borough Council, including providing a letter from Natalie's doctor which explains how important the dog is to her mental wellbeing, and a letter from a vet confirming the dog is well behaved. But the council has not changed its position.

A spokesperson for Broxtowe Borough Council said: "The council has an approved Pets Policy, and we give permission for tenants to have pets wherever possible. However, we must have regard for the safety of our tenants and therefore we will not give permission for tenants to have a dog which is a banned breed.

"If there is a question whether a dog is a banned breed, we give tenants the opportunity to provide evidence of this to inform our decision."