The wheels on the K9 bus go round and round, straight to the London County Court!
Early this Monday morning, Lucy and I decided to get up an hour earlier than usual (much to Lucy's dismay) and head to Canary Wharf to proudly take our spot on the K9 Justice Bus!
We wanted to show our support for poor Vinnie, a 5 year old Yorkshire terrier cross, and his owners who have battled for 15 months with their building management to keep him in his home. After buying their £1 million apartment in Limehouse with initial permission to bring their fur-baby along with them, the building management later turned on them and denied his access with an unwritten 'no pets clause'. Deciding to not take this form of bullying lying down, Gabby and Florian Kuehn decided to fight Vinnie's case. They wanted to do it not only for him, but for every dog owner that could be facing a similar situation, including often the vulnerable and elderly who may not have the means or assets to fight for themselves. Frequently owners that are forced to give up their pets must leave them in shelters, where a great many dogs are euthanized due to lack of available adoptive homes. For this reason, I feel Vinnie's case is a worthy cause to stand behind, so I decided to both sign their petition (see link below) and join them on Vinnie's Justice Bus.
Ready and willing at Canary Wharf, Lucy and I jumped onto the bus where we were greeted by some lovely supporters and their canine companions. We met a super cute puppy called Buzz (see here for his Instagram page @buzzthewonderpup), who has only ever been on a bus once before, and is still absorbing all the new wonders of city life! We met Gucci a gorgeous little rescue dog, with a very sad history of physical abuse. It was was lovely to see her now living the life that every dog deserves with her kind rescuer. Then the last dog already aboard the Justice Bus was 'Champagne' Charlie, who came along with her owner, and organizer, Lesley. It was clear to see that a lot of hard work and dedication had gone on behind the scenes in order to make this bus and all the subsequent press communication possible.
Once we pulled away from Canary Wharf, we had three more stops to make to pick up the rest of the doggie support crew, before heading onto the Mayor's and City of London County Court. We picked up Barry, a rather good looking English Springer spaniel, Rose and Alice some very sweet Cavaliers, China, an adorable teacup Chihuahua, and super cute Georgie the Yorkie, and lastly, but most importantly, little Vinnie so he could have his day in court!
On our way into central London the organisers kindly bought tea, coffee, hot chocolate and pastries for all the supporters. We chatted over breakfast, while the dogs enjoyed their trip through the city surrounded by lots of other dogs. Lucy enjoyed her favourite pastime of watching the world go by with her nose pressed firmly against the window. As we travelled through some very small, hard to maneuver roads, the banner across the side of our vintage bus, and possibly the collection of doggie faces in the windows, attracted a lot of interest. I think as well as spreading the word, the bus certainly brought a few smiles to people probably less than impressed by their Monday morning commute. This I suppose, the wonderfully relaxing effect of dogs!
Once we arrived at the courts we had a few press photos taken, and then as a doggie collective we stood together with Gabby, Florian and Vinnie before they headed into court for the first day of hearings.
I came today because I feel this case is important. It's important that it's successful, and it's important that it sets a president for future cases of a similar nature. It is about time that we as a country start treating our pet dogs as sentient beings, and not just possessions. Dogs are capable of a complex set of emotions and decision making skills, and for many they are integral members of our families, and usually our closest friends. To ask people to part with their family members is fundamentally wrong and cruel. We should really work to evolve our view on this topic to be more understanding of the reality of our human and canine relationships. We call ourselves a nation of dog lovers, but with so many of our dogs being forced out of their homes and into shelters, it's a little hard to believe it. I am fortunate that my building management have allowed Lucy to live with me, but for those less able to stand up for their beloved pet's rights, we today have stood up for them. Let's just hope that the justice system is on our side.
Tomorrow brings the verdict - watch this space!
Update (21/02/17) = Decision delayed until Monday 27th. It has been considered a landmark case so the judge needs more time to reflect on the legal argument
Update (28/02/17) = Poor Vinnie lost his case - see article (http://metro.co.uk/2017/02/27/couple-lose-battle-to-keep-dog-in-no-pets-block-of-flats-6476371/