Call for inquiry into care home dog row pensioner case

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Bob Harvey and dog Darkie who have been helped to find a new home together in Longtown
Bob Harvey and dog Darkie who have been helped to find a new home together in Longtown

Friends of an 87-year-old man who was given no choice but to leave his former care home are calling for an inquiry into the way he was treated.

Bob Harvey and his beloved miniature schnauzer Darkie moved into their new home in Sycamore Drive, Longtown, on Saturday, after he was served with an eviction notice to leave Burnfoot Hall, in Ecclefechan.

While he is pleased with his new set up Mr Harvey feels he was let down by the care home which he understood would look after him for the rest of his life.

Following a change of management at the home Mr Harvey was told Darkie was no longer welcome because of the health and safety risk posed to other residents.

But it was difficult for him to leave the home, where he moved with his late wife Margaret and Darkie four years ago.

Mead Medical Services Limited which runs the Scottish care home said Darkie was a "trip hazard" and that the dog had been a "subject of concern for some time."

Bosses said Mr Harvey's pet was left unsupervised for long periods of time and that in this instant they "must place the safety and wellbeing of others first."

Those around him were "disgusted" at how he was treated and petition in support of Bob has gained more than 264,000 signatures. A Crowd Funding page has raised nearly £40,000 to for the pensioner and his dog to see out the rest of their days together.

Family friend Tracey Streit, who set out to raise awareness of Bob's plight, said: "We intend to keep Bob's campaign going to aim for an immediate inquiry into how Mead Medica operate in respect of evictions of vulnerable tenants and residents over the last five years."

Mrs Streit, 45, of Brampton Road, Carlisle, initially thought they would back down and let Mr Harvey stay.

"I'm really annoyed and disgusted with the way they've behaved," she said.

"For an 87-year-old man to have to move from his home where he had been happy for four years is just awful.

"I would like to thank everybody for the support. It's been amazing. Everybody has been so good."

Mr Harvey told the News & Star: "It was terrible. I was just speechless."

But, commenting on the level of support he's received, he said: "It's fantastic. I never ever thought it would ever amount to this. I'm very appreciative of everybody.

"The help I've had, it speaks for itself. I've been so lucky to have friends who've done this for me."

He said he can't thank Tracey and her husband Rob enough for all that they had done for him.

Lesley Winton, a board member of the Society for Companion Animal Studies, is supporting Mr Harvey.

"I think it's absolutely horrific what he's been put through," she said.

"There were many alternative solutions put to the management and they just weren't interested.

"To expect him to give up his dog at his age is horrific. He only lost his wife a few years ago. He's still grieving and having this move forced upon him is just horrendous.

"We really need to change the laws to make sure this can never happen again.

"I don't know how the people behind this decision can live with themselves."

Meanwhile Mr Harvey, who has been on dialysis for 17 years and goes for the treatment at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary three times a week, is looking for someone to care for him privately. He's due to receive home help two days a week but would be more comfortable with some extra care.

"This is magnificent," he added. "It's a great set up in here. I just hope I settle in with the little dog and that I get visitors, that's my concern."

Mr Harvey has also been helped by the Penrith-based Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

The organisation, which is currently at risk of closure, has since expanded and hands out donated furniture to a wide range of people in need but is currently at risk of closure.

Anyone interested in being a carer for Mr Harvey is asked to contact Tracey by email on robstreit@live.co.uk.

To sign the petition can do so by visiting www.change.org or visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/savebobsdog1 to make a donation.

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