THEY may be called man’s best friend, but that has not stopped pet-owners in Wigan dumping over 3,000 dogs between 2008 and January this year.
Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request have revealed the full extent of the problems of dogs being abandoned in the borough, with an average of 925 dogs being picked up by council wardens each year. Of the 3,238 dogs picked up, 238 are known to have been put down.
When a dog is found abandoned it is picked up by Wigan Council wardens and are taken to Leigh Dogs Home.
If collected within 24 hours the owner is required to pay £55 after that and up to seven days the charge is £85 (£25 can be added to either fee for recurrences).
If dogs are not claimed after seven days have elapsed they become the property of the local authority which authorises Leigh Dogs Home to find them a new home, or, if they are physically or temperamentally unfit to re-home, their humane destruction.
Steve Gilmore, of Gilmore Veterinary Surgery in Standish, says that the abandoned dogs have been a constant worry for him and his staff.
He said: “There are lots of responsible dog owners but unfortunately the animals which are abandoned happen because people take in dogs without realising the work and the potential cost involved.
“Thankfully there are now calls to make microchipping all dogs compulsory and that can only help.
“The people who abandon dogs rarely microchip them first. It is easier just to let them out of the door.
“We home some dogs and we have always known a steady stream of animals come through our doors.”
The Dogs Trust charity are also encouraging neutering and microchipping schemes in the worst-effected areas.
A Dogs Trust spokesperson said: “Being a responsible dog owner is vital in preventing the stray dog problem and consequently the number of dogs that are sadly put to sleep by Local Authorities each year for want of a home.
“By neutering and microchipping their dogs, owners can ensure that they do not add to a situation where so many dogs are unwanted or left unclaimed when they stray.”