Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Chicken couple in eviction threat


The couple at home with their chickens

A Gateshead couple are facing eviction from their home unless they remove two chickens they keep in their garden.

Elizabeth and Ronald Lewis, of Birtley, are tenants of Gateshead Housing Company, and their tenancy agreement forbids the keeping of livestock.

But Mr Lewis said the birds were not doing any harm, and there "was no way" they were giving them up.

A housing company spokesman said the agreement clearly states that chickens cannot be kept at the property.

Mr Lewis said: "We'll continue keeping the chickens. We're not giving the chickens up. There's no way.

"This is a garden that can easily cope with two chickens. There's no health hazard, nothing except they [the council] have to have their rules."

A spokesperson from The Gateshead Housing Company said: "Gateshead Council's tenancy agreement clearly states that tenants must not keep livestock, such as horses, donkeys, goats, pigs, cattle, ducks, geese and chickens at the property."

He added: "Animals must not cause a nuisance, annoyance or concern to anyone in the local area including any employee or agent of the council or The Gateshead Housing Company".

When asked about the possibility of being evicted, Mr Lewis said: "We'll see to that when the time comes."

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