AN ANIMAL lover fears he will be evicted for keeping pets, after housing officers told him his collection of rodents is not permitted in his home, writes Rob Searle.

Denys West says he is “getting fed up” with being threatened with losing his flat because he has around 30 degus there.

Mr West, 76, keeps around 30 of the small animals in his home at Woodlands House, a supported living complex in Blackmore Crescent, Sheerwater.

He moved to the first-floor flat, which is managed by New Vision Homes, in January and says there is nothing in his contract which forbids the keeping of pets.

“I’ve had three or four visits from officers telling me to get rid of my pets or I might be evicted,” said Mr West, who also has two love birds.

“They said they gave me a pack with a piece of paper attached to it that says you’re only allowed so many pets, or something like that. All the paperwork they gave me is in a folder, and there’s nothing about pets in there.”

Mr West keeps the degus in three cages and says they do not smell and are not a nuisance to his neighbours. “One did manage to get outside once, but they are small and won’t harm anyone.”

He said he had kept degus, which are native to Chile, for many years and had always loved the companionship of animals.

Mr West was born in England of an Apache, native American, mother who came to this country with the US Air Force after the Second World War and an English father.

“So I’m half-Apache and was brought up in the United States. I went there with my mother after my father refused to go back home with her and I think more like an Apache.

“I was once a national park ranger, when I looked after all sorts of animals, including injured wolves, cougars, lynxes and even bears.”

A spokesman for New Vision Homes told the News & Mail: “Whilst we are unable to comment on individual cases involving our residents, our team works hard to ensure residents are aware of their surroundings and the impact any pets may have in the wider community.”