Belfast Telegraph

You’re barred: Off-licence’s beloved cat gets marching orders after complaints

Susan in the grounds of JD Tipler in Portadown
Susan in the grounds of JD Tipler in Portadown
Susan with the bar’s manager Dane Busby
Susan in the grounds of JD Tipler in Portadown
Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

Devastated customers of a Co Armagh bar and restaurant have been flocking to the premises to bid farewell to a famous feline who has been barred from the adjoining off-licence.

The shock eviction from JD Tipler in Portadown follows a complaint to Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council's Environmental Health department.

"Someone complained last year and an inspector came out to investigate," manager Dane Busby explained.

"They didn't see any problems but now someone has threatened to complain again.

"The majority of customers adore Susan but some obviously don't - it's just easier if she moves on."

A council spokesperson confirmed that it received a complaint in February 2018 "in relation to a cat in JD Tipler's".

"Following an investigation, no further action was taken," they added.

The affectionate stray has become a regular at the family-run business since she "just turned up out of the blue" two years ago.

"She sleeps in the beer garden where people love petting her, but she's never in the bar or restaurant," Mr Busby explained.

However, Susan, whose name was picked out of a hat shortly after her impromptu arrival, quickly won over the hearts of staff in the off-licence.

"She's quite famous down this way as a result - people love coming in to see her," Mr Busby said.

"She wanders within about a mile of the bar and has followed many punters home on a Saturday night."

Luckily a chef who works in the restaurant has agreed to take the curious cat home after she landed herself in hot water by prowling too close to the wrong customer.

Many people have been left upset after being given just 48 hours to say goodbye to their placid pal.

"I was in Tipler's today and got a lovely wee hug from Susan," one emotional visitor said.

The perplexed animal lover questioned why anyone would hold a grudge against the "most loveable wee cat who sits minding her own business" all day.

"Maybe they need a hug," they suggested.

"Who on earth complained about her?" another customer asked.

"She was doing no harm."

Susan will begin making her way to her new home over 20 miles away late this afternoon.

"It only hit me how sad this all is when I saw the huge reaction and how many people really want to say goodbye," Mr Busby said.

"She will be well and truly spoiled and probably become fatter than she already is, but a lot of people are going to miss her."

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