A woman broke down in tears as she described her poor housing conditions - including putting up with false widow spiders.

Lory Brunton, 67, lives with her husband Anthony, 80 – at Coates Dell, Watford, where they were housed after applying to the council for housing.

But an emotional Mrs Brunton said living in the flat has taken its toll on the couple. Both Mr Brunton and the couple’s dog have been bitten by false widow spiders and the cramped flat is too warm - even with all the windows open.

After Mr Brunton was bitten last year by one of the spiders, he had to undergo treatment in order to prevent his leg being amputated.

He said: “I needed tablets to save my leg if not my life.

“You don’t see them, they just bite you. It can kill you.”

Mrs Brunton, who suffers from several health problems, including type 2 diabetes and arthritis, felt living in the flat was also having an impact on her health.

She has suffered severe itching from the warm conditions, resulting in poor skin condition. Mrs Brunton also uses an Epipen due to suffering from severe allergic reactions – and said the current housing conditions have made her increase its use.

Mrs Brunton said: “My health is more important than anything.

“I’m dying because they (the council) have put me in a place where I can’t breathe.”

Responding to the complaints of the couple, Ben Johnson, director of operations for Watford Community Housing, said: “In order to respect our residents’ privacy, we do not comment on the details of individual cases.

“However, we can confirm that we are working closely with Mr Brunton to address his concerns and to help him understand the housing options available to him.”

Despite the couple urging the council to re-house them, they do have the option to move to another flat.

However, the couple claim they were told by the council that for this this happen, they first had to give up their dog.

Mr Brunton said when the couple were living privately, someone from the council had interviewed them about housing, but “was apparently frightened of dogs”.

He continued: “On the report, she put that we had a boisterous dog.

“But she is 11 years old and they don’t want to look at the dog again.

"We've taken our dog to old people's homes and she doesn't jump all over people and she is not vicious. She is a wonderful dog.

“People are allowed dogs in this new place that we have been offered, but we can’t go because of the dog that we have. The council won’t change their mind.”

However, Mr Johnson said: “In regards to pet ownership, we have a discretionary pet policy where owners need to ask permission to keep an animal.

“We understand how important people’s pets are to them and we consider requests based on how suitable the accommodation is and the impact a pet may have, taking into account the needs of all nearby residents.”