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Court ruling leaves dog handler out on the street

A devoted gundog handler who gives displays and demonstrations at game fairs up and down the country has been forced to tear down his kennels and live at the side of the road with his 14 dogs as a result of what he describes as ‘over zealous’ planning laws, leaving his 86-year-old mother living on her own.

After a dispute with Salisbury District Council, Cliff Waite was ordered to demolish his kennels and warned that if he wishes to keep more than four dogs he must apply for a material change of use for his property.

Mr. Waite has subsequently submitted three planning applications to replace the kennels, however they were rejected on the grounds of noise, the number of dogs and the design of the building. Mr. Waite and his mother have lived at the house since 1959, keeping dogs in varying numbers.

Mr. Waite commented: “The European Bill of Human Rights says that we have a right to a quiet life, so surely I must have a right to my life the way it’s always been?

“Steve Davis can have a snooker room in his back garden and he doesn’t have to apply for a material change of use of his property, even though he is a professional player and uses that room to practice in. But I’m not allowed to build something of a similar size to keep my dogs in.

“I’ve been lobbying with the Countryside Alliance, BASC, NGO and the CLA, but I am not doing this for myself, I’m doing it for everybody else. No one in Wiltshire in the last 25 years has applied for a material change of use of their property to keep more than four dogs. No-one even knows about this law.”

Mr. Waite was due to meet with planning officials in August in an attempt to resolve the conflict.