Cumbrian boy, 12, starts petition to save family dog after neighbour complaints

A 12-year-old boy has collected more than 100 names on a petition as his family fears they might have to give their dog up following complaints from neighbours.

Muller family photo
From left, Abigail Muller, Ricky, mum Tracy and dad Jason, with dog Fluke

Ricky Lee Muller, of Ellenfoot Drive, Maryport, started the petition on Friday after his parents, Jason and Tracy, were told by Derwent & Solway Housing Association that their dog was causing nuisance to neighbours with its barking.

Mr Muller claimed that a sound monitor box placed in the neighbours’ home, showed how the Staffordshire bull terrier-cross, called Fluke, had barked 16 times in one week.

Although a spokeswoman from Derwent & Solway said that the Muller’s have never been threatened with eviction, Mr Muller is worried that this may happen as the family refuse to get rid of their pet.

Fluke has lived with the family in the house for the past three years. Mr Muller, 39, said: “Everything was fine until New Year’s Eve.

“My wife went to see the housing officer for Derwent & Solway last Friday and walked out in tears because she was told that the dog would have to be taken off us. But I will board the house up if I have to. Fluke is part of the family.

“We can’t stop him from barking – every dog barks. Fluke only barks when nobody is in the house, but me and my wife only work a couple of nights a week and it is very rare that the dog is left alone and will bark.”

Mr and Mrs Muller’s three other children 21-year-old Kelly Marie, Naomi, 17, and seven-year-old Abigail Louise, are all devastated at the thought of losing Fluke.

When Ricky came home from Netherhall School last Friday, he started the petition straight away.

The petition said: My dog Fluke has barked 16 times in one week, which is twice a day. I have to give him up or lose our house. Please help me keep him. It was left at the estate’s shop, Hillside Stores, and picked it up on Sunday with 110 signatures which will be presented to Derwent & Solway.

Mr Muller said: “We have a lot of people behind us. I didn’t think we would get this much support, we are really chuffed.”

Mrs Muller, 37, added: “It is very upsetting and quite stressful. I would rather be kicked out of the house than give the dog up.”

A spokeswoman for Derwent & Solway said that the association’s policy is that everyone should be able to live in their own home free from nuisance.

“Residents’ safety and piece of mind remains a priority. We will continue to work with them and on their behalf to achieve this.

“Our investigations have revealed there to have been inappropriate levels of noise. We will endeavour to resolve the matter in an appropriate manner.”

She said that the association has again written to the family requesting a meeting.

“On no occasion has the tenant been threatened with eviction,” she added.