A Clacton dog-lover has defended the dog rescue service she operates from her Clacton town centre terrace.

Neighbours complain of barking dogs in her backyard and noting their breeds, fear they present a danger to children.

However, Nicola Brooks-Belcher said her home in St Andrews Road only keeps one dog at a time from the rescue service, and the five other dogs present are her own.

Instead, she said dogs related to Last Hope Animal Rescue are kept in kennels at Manningree, Stoke-on-Trent, Scunthorpe, with a couple in a sanctuary in Dorset.

People can either adopt or foster the animals but Nicola retails ownership of them.

However, the centre has stopped taking dogs until the New Year as it may not be able to cope with the seasonal “dumping” of animals.

Nicola said: “We take pressure off the local councils. We take dogs from the pound, saving councils money and the dog’s life.”

At present, 16 are in emergency boarding, 8 in foster homes and 2 in the sanctuary.

The dogs are mostly “bull breeds” such as Staffordshires.

“Dogs are my passion. I just don’t think the neighbours like dogs. Their complaints upset me when you are trying to do a good thing,” she said.

“I have seven children. Not one has been nipped by a dog,” Nicola continued.

Three months ago, Tendring Council and the RSPCA inspected her premises and everything was fine.

“The police are also happy the dogs are under controlled and trained,” she added.

Instead, Nicola accuses neighbours of having parties and making a noise, which “distresses the dogs” and makes them bark.

However, Scott Bruce said he has seen 15-20 dogs in the garden and dogs are “constantly making a noise.”

“I don’t believe you should be allowed to have a dog rescue in a terraced residential area. She has had more than ten dogs at a time,” he said.

One dog was big and weighed 12 stone.

“I’m worried. I have kids in my house and grandchildren. They are risking people’s lives unnecessarily,” he said.

Peter Bruff ward councillor Andy Pemberton, who was approached about the rescue service, said: “It’s not just one complaint. There’s been quite a few.”

Tendring council communications manager Nigel Brown said: “The Council has investigated a complaint regarding this address in the past but it was unfounded. However, having received a further complaint officers will be reinvestigating.”