In the Media

In the doghouse, the pensioner told to remove 'offensive' sign

PUBLISHED July 28, 2006

FOR 32 years it prompted little more than a wry smile. But now a pensioner who has a sign on her garden gate warning Jehovah?s Witnesses that their presence could result in them being eaten by dogs has been ordered to take it down.

Hampshire police received a complaint that the notice outside Jean Grove?s cottage, which reads ?Our dogs are fed on Jehovah?s Witnesses?, was ?distressing, offensive and inappropriate?. When officers arrived at the house in Bursledon, near Southampton, Mrs Grove was bewildered. She has only a Jack Russell puppy. She told police that the sign had been put up by her late husband Gordon after he became exasperated with visits from the church. The final straw came when they called on Christmas Day in 1974.

Insisting that the sign was simply a lark, Mrs Grove said yesterday that she had never received any complaints about it. But police ordered her to take it down and her details were taken. Once the officers left she hung the sign back up.

She said: ?It?s been there for more than 30 years and all the people who live nearby are used to it. I couldn?t believe it. I?ve never had any complaints. I have absolutely no problem with any religion. The sign is just a lark that?s been there for a long time.

?It?s a memorial to the life of my husband. We moved in here in 1958. We were married for 52 years before he passed away two years ago. Of course, if someone does come and tell me it offends them, then I?ll remove it. But no one has said anything. Why should it be a problem?? Police said that they had received a complaint about the sign.