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Lost dog was being ‘held to ransom’ by council staff
Buy this photo » Jessica, two, and Charlotte, four, with their chocolate labrador Barney
IT IS always worrying when a family pet goes missing.
So imagine Wantage couple Steve and Ann Marie Young’s relief when their beloved labrador Barney was found by a dog warden half an hour after disappearing.
Then imagine their bafflement when they were told they could not pick him up that day, but instead he had to be kept in a kennel overnight and they would be charged £165 for the privilege.
Mrs Young, who works in the control room at Abingdon Police Station, is no stranger to stray dogs.
She contested the fee with the Vale of White Horse District Council and asked why his microchip containing the family’s address had not been scanned on scene.
She was told it was not financially viable for dog wardens to carry scanners. Mrs Young, 39, said: “That is the exact reason I got him tagged.
“I said I was quite happy to go and pick him up, but I was told, ‘no, we can’t tell you where he’s going’. It is ridiculous – they were holding my dog to ransom.”
Mrs Young wrote to the Vale council: “He was chipped and i would have expected his chip to be read when he was located by the warden and it would have clearly been obvious that the dog was less than a mile from his home address.”
The council’s dog wardens come from Noah’s Ark Environmental Service, which charges £85 for collecting a stray dog outside office hours.
The wardens take dogs to kennels, which is an immediate £13 charge per day. On top of that is a statutory fee of £25, set by central government, and finally a £26.32 hourly administration fee – charged for any work up to an hour. This all happened on a Sunday morning in June.
Mrs Young’s husband, Flight Sergeant Steve Young, was in Europe on an RAF training exercise and Mrs Young was looking after daughters Charlotte, four, and Jessica, two, along with five-year-old Barney.
Flt Sgt Young said: “When I serve away my family has enough to worry about without the dog. The council are there to help and be sympathetic.”
Vale spokesman Gavin Walton said: “Our dog collection contractors carry out a service which involves significant hours and administration requirements. As well as collecting and attempting to determine who the owner is, stray dogs are also fed, watered and given a health check.
“If, as legally required, a dog has a collar and visible tag, then the dog finder will contact the owner immediately and avoid involving the councils stray dog service. However if the dog has only been tagged electronically then it will need to be taking back to the kennels before the owner can be traced.”
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