A couple in England lost custody of their two children, ages 7 and 2, when authorities discovered 19 dogs in their house, a home described by officials as “incredibly filthy and utterly squalid”. The children were placed into foster care.
At the time of the seizure of the children, their mother had been prosecuted by the SPCA and banned from owning any dogs for a period of 4 years.
After three years of foster care, the children’s parents, both in their fifties, brought an application to the court to have their children returned to them. Mother advised the court that once the ban expired she planned to have only 1 or 2 dogs.
Judge Peter Nathan denied their application despite evidence that the home was now neat, clean, and nicely decorated. He believed the improved conditions would gradually deteriorate, and he did not accept that the home would only house 1 or 2 dogs.
Other factors that caused Judge Nathan to refuse to return the children included:
- He found that the children’s mother resented the intrusion of social services, police and other persons in authority;
- He found that the mother’s expressed desire to involve the media, write a book, and participate in a film about the case was not in the children’s best interests;
- He found that the children’s father was paranoid and had complained about social workers, the SPCA, the police, and the children’s teachers, and believed these authority figures were envious of his lifestyle.
An odd conclusion to an interesting case…the judge specifically found that the children’s parents loved the children and had changed the conditions in the home. If these parents were unfit, the court needed to say so. There must be lots of parents who disdain state intervention in their home life. While I understand the initial removal, I can’t understand why there was no “second chance”. Surely these parents or other family members would be preferable to state foster care. There must be something more to this case and if I find out, I will update this story.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang