An animal shelter has hit back after being accused of trying to sell on dogs instead of reuniting them with their owners.
Leigh Cats and Dogs Home denied claims of having secret kennels where expensive and rare breeds were kept. The issue arose after clashes with a resident whose dog was rehomed.
Liam Connell was left in turmoil upon discovering his beloved pet had been given to new owners.
Mr Connell was working away in London when his four-year-old French Bulldog Macey escaped off her lead while being looked after by a friend.
The 37-year-old said: “At first I didn’t know my dog had gone missing because the person looking after her was scared to tell me.
“When I rang the home, they said she had been rehomed. But then she appeared on the website as a seven-year-old Frenchie, but I knew she was mine right away. I think they were trying to sell my dog off because French Bulldogs are a rare breed. They go for lots of money.”
But the animal home insisted there was “no foundation” to Mr Connell’s complaints. A spokesman said: “We gave the dog an estimated age and a new name because there were no details on the dog’s chip.
“We weren’t contacted until 10 days after the dog was picked up. We had rehomed it by then, which we were allowed to do because we had no response. We made an immense effort to get the dog back, and we went above and beyond what we are required to do to get the dog back to him.”
A council inspector was sent to the shelter after Mr Connell made a complaint, but the report found that the complaints to be “unfounded” and that “everything was in order with no issues whatsoever”.
But a local community group, Justice for Leigh Animals, alleged that the council’s spot-check only covered the private boarding area, and not stray kennels. Activists at the group claimed it was working to “expose decades of animal welfare abuse at the hands of Leigh Cats and Dogs Home.”
The home denied claims of hidden kennels, stating: “There is no such thing. We are one the most open of all cats and dogs homes. If there were any hidden kennels, they would not stay hidden for long.”