D-Day for care home pensioner told to get rid of his dog or move
by Matthew Cobb
A pensioner is expecting to find out today whether he faces eviction from a care home.
Bob Harvey has been told he can no longer keep his miniature schnauzer - Darkie - at the Ecclefechan care home where the pair currently live. Bosses said that Darkie has "free rein" of Burnfoot Hall and has been seen fouling inside the building.
A petition set up by Tracey Streit, from Carlisle, has now amassed more than 238,000 signatures, while protests were held in both Edinburgh and London over the weekend in a bid to force home operators Mead Medical to change their minds.
Tracey, who attended the Edinburgh demonstration with Bob, told thehe was given a letter a few weeks ago saying he would be served with an eviction notice if Darkie was still there today.
"He's not going anywhere, so we'll see what happens," she said. "Bob can't be without him. He was told if the dog wasn't gone by February 14 then he would be evicted in April."
Tracey added that Bob - a former colleague of her dad's - is currently looking at moving to another home where he will be allowed to keep Darkie. A crowdfunding appeal set up on the website justgiving.com has also raised more than £28,500.
"That money will be used to cover the care costs for the new home," Tracey said. "We want to raise enough to be able to cover the costs for five years.
"He's looked at homes in Lockerbie and also ones in Carlisle. He knows that he'll have to move in order to keep Darkie.
"He also looked at one in Kirkpatrick Fleming. They were really nice but unfortunately he couldn't keep the dog there."
She added that Bob enjoyed being part of the group that gathered in Edinburgh. "I don't think he realised how supportive people have been. He loved it.
"We were outside the Scottish Parliament building and then we moved down to the Royal Mile, we were trying to get as many signatures as possible on the petition.
"The following is huge, there's more than 238,000 signatures on it and the Facebook page has about 4,000 followers.
"There's been people from all over the world leaving messages saying they wished they could've been part of it."
A previous statement issued by Michael Best, managing director of Mead Medical Services, said: "I have witnessed personally this dog coming out of nowhere, barking and becoming aggressive to the point where a mother and grandmother were forced to shield the two young children.
"Fire doors are consistently left open so that the dog has free reign.
"This leaves residents freezing in the winter months as the cold air comes in. Over time this dog has been allowed to run freely. The home is housing mostly vulnerable residents, people that need care.
"These people have limited mobility and sensory abilities, it is not safe.
"If Mr Harvey insists on keeping the dog, he will have to find somewhere else to live."