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Dog ban threat is 'barking' says cabbie

PUBLISHED: 14:57 15 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:10 23 August 2010

Gravesend Taxi driver Bruce parmenterwith his dog mazie.
Picture: Jamie Gray
Mobile:07834 965462
Email: jamie@jamiegray.com

Gravesend Taxi driver Bruce parmenterwith his dog mazie. Picture: Jamie Gray Mobile:07834 965462 Email: jamie@jamiegray.com

Jamie Gray

A TAXI driver is concerned that new regulations may prevent him from taking his dog to work with him. For the last 14 months Bruce Parmenter, of Station Road, Northfleet, has been taking fares with his beloved boxer Mazie May sitting in the front passen

A TAXI driver is concerned that new regulations may prevent him from taking his dog to work with him.

For the last 14 months Bruce Parmenter, of Station Road, Northfleet, has been taking fares with his beloved boxer Mazie May sitting in the front passenger seat of his London-style black cab.

But if approved new regulations drafted by Gravesham Borough Council will mean Mazie May will not be allowed to accompany Mr Parmenter in the taxi, even though she is separated from the passengers by a solid glass screen.

He said: "I take her out with me for a couple of reasons: firstly, for company and secondly as a deterrent. A couple of times I have had people arguing in the back and the dog has looked at them through the window and instantly they have calmed down.

"My customers love her. She's friendly, doesn't bark and has never barked or growled at any of my passengers."

The 44-year-old decided to take Mazie May with him after noticing the effect she had on two young men who were behaving aggressively in his cab. By chance the dog was in back section of his estate car when he was called out on a fare and when he pointed her out Mr Parmenter says the men started to behave more civilly.

He said: "It had been on my mind to do it before and that was the final thing that made me do it.

"I actually bought this cab so I could bring her to work with me. If I was in a salon car and she could get through to the passengers then I'd understand it but I'm not, there's space for her up front and she doesn't bother anyone."

The restriction on animals is one of a number of possible changes to the licensing of taxis. New plans also include the installation of CCTV cameras and a stricter testing system for drivers.

A spokesperson for Gravesham council said: "Our view is that it's a safety issue because the dog could distract the driver and we are concerned about that.

"The issue is out for consultation and Mr Parmenter will be able to give his views on it."

The consultation period on the regulations ends on November 28. Updated regulations will go before the Overview Scrutiny Committee and finally the full council which will make a decision in January next year.

jason.goodyer@archant.co.uk

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