A Waterford man who says his pet German Shepherd previously saved his life, is in a battle to keep her after Waterford County Council demanded that he get rid of the dog.
John Kelly, who says he has a letter from his GP stating that Micah is his “companion animal” and vital to his mental health, was recently awarded a council property but says he was unaware that restricted breeds were not permitted in council owned residential buildings.
Speaking to Gript, Kelly explained that four year old Micah is very well trained and that he always keeps her muzzled and on a lead while in public.
Kelly, who says he previously suffered catastrophic injuries in a car crash in 1997, says he recently suffered a heart attack and that he believes the dog tried to warn him that it was coming.
He says he began to feel discomfort in his shoulder and chest but didn’t pay much attention due to a pre-existing issue with his shoulder bone.
Around the same time he says Micah began to ‘paw and nudge’ him in the chest. He says that this behaviour continued and escalated until one evening he put her in the hall and went to sleep on the sofa.
He says that about an hour later he “woke up drowned in sweat” after the dog nudged him with her paw and licked his face.
“She started whining and pushing me in the chest”, he said, adding that this time “the pain felt different”.
“I knew there was something wrong so I rang the ambulance”, he said.
Kelly said he had a “widowmaker heart attack” and had to have an ICD defibrillator fitted.
He says he believes if it wasn’t for Micah’s warnings he may not have survived. “My heart is only functioning at 15%”, he said.
He says that sometime after his heart attack he was awarded a council property, “I was over the moon”, he said adding ‘I didn’t realise until I went to the first meeting that you weren’t allowed a restricted breed German Shepherd”.
Kelly says he runs an animal welfare page on social media and that he is “a responsible dog owner”.
He said that he had no option but to give up his pets in order to secure the house he had been waiting for. “It broke my heart but to get the house I had to get rid of Micah and my other 10 month old German Shepherd”.
Although the 10 month old German Shepherd was successfully re-homed, which Kelly attributes to the dog’s youth, he says Micah had become extremely “stuck on” him after his heart attack and began to deteriorate physically after they parted.
He says she wouldn’t eat the food her new owner gave her and that out of fear for her health he took her back.
Kelly claims that due to what he says are vexatious complaints from “three or four neighbours”the council wrote to him and demanded that the dog be got rid of.
He says the complaints came about after he installed a door bell camera due to what he described as ‘drinking, loud parties, and drug related activity’ in the area.
He says he is fearful that Micah will be taken away from him and that she would be put down.
He described the dog as a “sweet baby” saying she is “so gentle, loves everyone, and just wants cuddles”.
A petition has been started online to raise awareness of his situation.