Like many country folk, Ratty the Jack Russell is a creature of habit.

Twice a week he would trot out alone through the farm gates, jump on a number ten bus and head for his local, the Black Bull.

The five-year-old dog would stay all day at the pub in York, where he had his own water dish and was fed his favourite sausages. He would even get a lift home at closing time from a friendly barmaid.

But suddenly his social life was left in ruins after the Black Bull was taken over, the barmaid left - and animals were banned. 'Dogs are not allowed in the pub,' declared duty manager Carl Sage.

Ratty's owners feel it can be only a matter of time, however, before he finds a new watering hole. 'Everyone loves him,' said farmer Gary Kay, 41, from Dunning-ton, a few miles outside York. Mr Kay said he believed Ratty's first visit to the pub was probably an accident.

'The bus stop is just along the road and he must have just happened to come across a bus. He ended up getting on and then getting off when everybody else did - which was when it hit York - and just walked straight into a pub.

'The people there ended up fussing over him so much that he ended up making a habit of it. On the first occasion somebody spotted he was my dog and telephoned me to come and get him. But a girl behind the bar lived in the next village to me so when it continued she would bring him back in her car with her. It was funny because I would get a call every now and again to come and get him - I suppose that must have been when the barmaid wasn't on - and I would just pull up outside the pub and he would run out and jump in. I must have had to go and get him about 20 times.'

Since his ban Ratty has been seen riding the school bus. Mr Kay added: 'I've had kids phoning me to say Ratty was on the bus with them. I've no idea how he gets home - he drives me mad.'

Peter Edwards, commercial director for the bus company First, said: 'I've heard of dogs waiting for people to get off buses but nothing like this. We don't charge for dogs so there's no reason why he can't get on.'


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