A FAMILY are ‘heartbroken’ after being told they will need to re-home at least one of their three dogs.

Neighbours have said that Lucy the Labrador, Benson the Shar Pei and Daisy the Cocker Spaniel as ‘as soft as they come’ and that the council ‘should come and visit’.

But Oxford City Council said it has ordered the re-homing on good merit.

They say it comes after a neighbour said that her cat had been killed by a dog.

Natasha Butterfield, who lives in her Marston home with her three dogs, four children – aged 14, nine, six and two – and her two cats, explained that the kitten died about five weeks ago after falling off the fence and being chased by the ‘playful’ dogs’.

She said: “The dogs like to chase things, but not savagely. The dogs haven’t got an aggressive bone in their body.”

She explained that she got a call from the council, who said she needs to re-home all three of the dogs, and if she doesn’t then she will be given an ‘injunction’.

The mum said: “I don't want to get rid of my dogs. I'm heartbroken. They’re family.”

A neighbour, who’s elderly cat died from a similar incident with the same dogs in January, said the dogs are ‘big softies’.

She said: “It was only a puppy, and he chased by cat. The dog was just playing.

“My cat was 13 years old, it was very old. It died of shock.

“Those dogs are as soft as they come. They try sitting on your lap when they see you in the street.

“I have two cats that bring home birds all the time – it’s just an animal’s nature.”

“I really do think the council should actually visit the house and see the dogs.”

Megan Curtis, who lives behind the house, said she saw the whole thing through her window.

She said: “There was a tiny kitten, I remember, ontop of the fence. It was raining so hard that it must have slipped and fell.

“You could see the dogs bolt through the garden, but then somebody popped it back over the fence.

“Those dogs are so soft, they’re really playful – our puppy is just the same.”

A spokesperson at the council said it only asked her to get rid of one dog.

Bill Graves said: “We responded to complaints by a tenant who reported that her cat had been killed by a neighbour’s dog and was also worried about the safety of her children.

"It’s always difficult when pets from different households come into conflict with each other and we have to balance the rights of residents to keep dogs responsibly with the safety of other pets and children in the area.

"After investigating the case and speaking to all the residents affected, we feel that in this instance the best course of action is to ask her to re-house her dog.

“This is a family neighbourhood with young children and we have a responsibility for the safety of our residents.”

The Oxford Mail reached out to the owner of the kitten who made the complaint.