Pet owners’ row over seized dogs

Jonathan Holt, left, with Rolo, and Craig Cohen with Frankie

Jonathan Holt, left, with Rolo, and Craig Cohen with Frankie

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TWO pet owners whose dogs were seized while being taken for a walk are demanding their charges are scrapped.

Craig Cohen, of Blandford Close, Tyldesley, had been walking his pet Labrador Frankie and Border Collie cross Rolo off their leads when the dogs were picked up and taken to Leigh Cats and Dogs Home.

Neighbour Jonathan Holt, who owns 11-year-old Rolo, is now calling for reimbursement after he was forced to pay more than DOUBLE the amount stated on the council’s website for stray dog charges at the time they were picked up.

Mr Holt said: “Both dogs were having a run off their leads and everything was fine. But on reaching the track junction they were nowhere to be seen. The only thing in sight was a white van disappearing round the next bend.

“After calling on neighbours and family to help search the surrounding area, it was discovered they had been picked up and taken to kennels before they were dropped off at Leigh Cats and Dogs Home.

“As the dogs were not strays, we feel very strongly that they should not have been picked up and held. Craig was no more than 100 yards away and the dogs were being walked in a non-built up area.

“It later transpired that the dogs’ biometric identity tags had not been read correctly. This means that if we had not located the dogs as fast as we did we may never of found them.”

The council’s animal wardens have a legal duty to pick up stray dogs. Since April 1, dogs can be collected at a charge of £55 within one day or £85 when held up to seven days. Before April 1 these charges were £25 for dogs claimed within 24 hours and £46 thereafter.

Wigan Council has now updated their website with the correct charges.

In an emailed response to Mr Holt, Cuthbert Jackson, Wigan Council’s Environmental Crime and Dog Control Team Principal Officer, said: “At the time the dogs were seized they were not under control or supervision and were wandering unattended in order to be picked up. A person encountering them could, reasonably, have assumed that they were not under control and for their own protection and that of the public picked them up.

“All strays under Wigan Council jurisdiction are kept at Leigh Dogs and Cats Home for the statutory period of seven days during which they may be claimed by their owner on payment of the charges incurred.

“Until April 1 these charges were £25 for dogs claimed within 24 hours and £46 thereafter. On April 1, these charges were increased to £55 for dogs claimed within 24 hours and £85 thereafter. The charges levelled were therefore correct. Unfortunately our website has not yet been updated with this information, for which I do apologise. This will be rectified as soon as possible.”