'Life-saving' cats have cost Sophie her home
A WOMAN suffering with mental health problems that once caused her to set herself on fire is to be evicted from her flat – for keeping "life-saving" kittens.
Sophie Clemence, 22, pays £212 a week for her flat at the Carn Brea Foyer, run by the YMCA on behalf of landlord Devon and Cornwall Housing (DCH).
She said her borderline personality disorder made her have suicidal tendencies, once setting herself alight.
To combat depression, she bought four-month-old kittens Bonnie and Clyde, which helped calm her down.
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A report from her psychiatrist acknowledged the kittens helped "regulate her emotions".
But management at Carn Brea Foyer handed her an eviction notice, saying it had a strict 'no pets' policy.
Sophie said the policy was "confusing" because DCH had said in the tenancy agreement pets were allowed in the premises with prior written permission, which would be given unless the pets were "causing a nuisance".
Sophie said: "My kittens have helped calm me down, as mentioned in a psychiatric report, and could even save my life. "Management have told me I am being evicted because of my kittens. I know it sounds silly, but when you have these kinds of issues, as I do, it's these little things that make you feel better."
Carn Brea Foyer said it would help find Sophie a suitable flat where pets were allowed.
It said tenants were made aware of the policy before moving in.
Sophie now has to be out of her home by May 9.
Sophie's father, Scott, said the suggested alternative accommodation was in a shared house, which the family was advised would be detrimental to her health.
Pat Ashwood, housing manager at Carn Brea Foyer, said: "Sophie took the kittens in and was told she was not allowed them.
"She moved from our accommodation in Penzance so is aware of the policy.
"I have offered to meet with her and her father to discuss the issue but they have declined to do so.
Her family could have housed the kittens in Camborne and she could then still have her flat and see them when she likes.
"There are no pets allowed whatsoever.
"If the animal has an outbreak of fleas, then we would have to deal with that."
The tenancy agreement issued by DCH when Sophie moved into the property states: "You may keep pets at the property but you must first get our written permission for any pet that might cause nuisance, annoyance or danger to people in the neighbourhood.
"We will not withhold our permission without good reason. We may withhold or withdraw permission if the animals could or do cause a nuisance, health hazard or other danger to people in the neighbourhood."