Beds, Herts & Bucks

Letchworth woman wins fight to keep 200 guinea pigs

Guinea pigs
Image caption Jane Evans said she was "ecstatic" that she could keep the animals

A woman says she is "ecstatic" to have won her fight to keep more than 200 guinea pigs which faced being re-homed.

Neighbours claimed rats had been seen near Jane Evans' home in Letchworth, Hertfordshire.

Settle Housing Association investigated and told Mrs Evans they had to be removed by 20 February, which she said would "destroy" her life.

She has made improvements to the garden and an environmental health officer has told Settle to close the case.

"I'm totally ecstatic," said Mrs Evans. "It's still trying to sink in a bit, but we're there, we've done it, and we stood up for our animals.

"We can get back to showing and our kids can get back to their hobby."

Image caption Jane Evans said guinea pigs were her hobby and that removing them would "destroy her life"

Mrs Evans, who travels the country showing "elite" guinea pigs, started looking after unwanted pets five years ago and now has more than 200.

She had said her hobby was "her life" and a petition in support of her keeping the animals reached almost 8,000 signatures.

In January, Mrs Evans had been warned by the housing association that all of the guinea pigs must be removed.

North Hertfordshire District Council, whose environmental health team carried out a follow-up inspection of Mrs Evans' garden, said improvements had been made and there was no evidence of rats.

Anita Khan, executive director of customer services at Settle, said: "Environmental health has advised us that, following the improvements made by Mrs Evans, they are satisfied the current conditions do not present a public health risk. As a result, and subject to conditions about the continued good upkeep of the property, we are very pleased to be able to allow the guinea pigs to remain at Mrs Evans' home."

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