A dog is facing eviction from its £1million flat after being served an eviction notice because it breached the landlord’s ‘no pets’ policy.
Gabrielle Kuehn, 45, and husband Florian, 42, are facing a £50,000 bill to keep terrier Vinnie at their flat in Limehouse, East London.
Mrs Kuehn says the dog has a ‘therapeutic effect’ on her and that she bought it during a stressful period of her life.
The couple claim they were given permission to bring Vinnie by the property’s freeholders, shortly before their move in November 2015.
But now they are facing a legal battle, as Victory Place, the management company, claims the lease has a ‘no-pets policy’.
They have been fighting the case in court with the support of human and dog supporters.
In court Mrs Kuehn, a recruitment consultant, told the court how she first viewed the property in June 2014 when Vinnie was two-years-old.
She said: ‘When we were looking for a property all the agencies that we were registered with were aware that we had a dog and we were only interested in looking for properties with leases that permitted this.’
She told the court that nobody at Victory Place had made her aware of their ‘no-pets’ policy until after she bought the penthouse flat.
Mrs Kuehn told the court she her made enquiries with estate agent to check it would be ok to bring Vinnie and was told it would not be a problem.
The freeholder granted consent and they were provided with a licence.
Mrs Kuehn told the court how the concierge had approached her and told her of the no-dog rule when he saw her with Vinnie.
When the management firm Victory Place told her she would have to remove the dog, the couple refused.
Mrs Kuehn told the court how the dog had a ‘therapeutic effect’ on her.
She told the court: ‘The reason why I got the dog in the first place, it was a particularly stressful time in my life and there is absolutely no question that my dog has a therapeutic effect.
‘I was suffering from anxiety and stress and my dog has a therapeutic effect. I would have considered that to be a special circumstance.’
However when Ewa Jones, 57, chairwoman of Victory Place, asked for medical evidence Mrs Kuehn refused to provide it.
She told the court: ‘I don’t believe it was necessary at that time to provide medical information.’
Mr Tim Hammond, representing Victory Place, told the court how an AGM was held in February 2016 to vote on whether the no-pets policy should be changed.
Mrs Kuehn posted on a public board to encourage people to turn up and vote.
But unfortunately while the meeting saw a large attendance the vote went against her, with 75 votes to retain and enforce the existing policy and just one vote to change it, her own.
Mr Hammond read emails passed onto property manager Felix Densu relating to complaints about Vinnie.
Mr Hammond read how one neighbour complained about ‘constant barking’ until 10.30pm on one occasion.
Another couple, who lived below the Kuehns complained of a series of incidents over a four month period of ‘whining, loud noise, growling and barking’ from Vinnie.
The freeholders then revoked the couple’s licence in June 2016.
But Mrs Kuehn defended Vinnie by saying she would never leave him barking in distress and that she monitored his movements with a camera at home.
She said: ‘The first I knew of my dog being an alleged nuisance was when I received a letter from the freeholders.
‘All but one of the alleged incidents took place when were were away from the property and I never leave my dog in distress.
‘I have a camera to monitor him. There is absolutely no way I would leave my dog in distress. I am here because I love my dog.
‘If my dog is at home alone, if he moves I get a notification on my phone.’
When asked about her neighbour’s complaints, she suggested the could have mistaken dogs barking from a park below the flat as coming from Vinnie.
But she admitted the dog did sometimes bark, telling the court: ‘When I come home from work the dog barks.
‘He does bark occasionally but he stops when he is told to stop. I would not leave my dog constantly barking.’
The court also heard evidence from retired concierge Aubrey Gittens who claimed Mrs Kuehn had asked him if dogs were allowed in the properties when she was looking around in 2014.
But Mrs Kuehn denied this and said the conversation took place after she bought the flat.
The hearing is expected to conclude today.