THIS adorable pup is a sole survivor after all its siblings tragically perished.
Rebecca Derricott was distraught when eight of her nine puppies died in the space of a month as they were unable to take food properly.
The 28-year-old was still reeling from the loss of four of the pups shortly after their birth when their mother Ella, a Staffordshire-cross, escaped from the garden of her home in Broom Road, Worsley Hall.
As she had no collar, Ella was taken to Leigh Dogs and Cats Home by Wigan Council dog wardens as a potential stray.
As a result, Rebecca claims the other four more pups died as they were still being weaned off their mother’s milk and would not drink anything else, leaving only Buster.
When she went to the Home to collect Ella - and her other dog Bucket, a mongrel which had also run off - she was told she had to pay an £85 release fee for each animal.
As the single mum-of-two could not afford it, she had to leave them there, but not before pleading for them to agree to taking the £30 which she had in her purse so she could bring Ella home to feed her remaining pups.
She suggested leaving the litter in the home’s care, which staff said they could not do. Rebecca said: “I had been up most nights trying to feed them, but they would not take to it. I was in the process of weaning them off as the plan was to sell them when they were 10 weeks old, but they still needed their mother’s milk. They were getting weak and eventually, one by one, they died,
“My eight-year-old son Connor is absolutely heartbroken. He has grown up with both dogs and was very attached to Ella. I don’t understand why they were not returned to me straight away. They were microchipped and although they had my previous address on as I moved six weeks ago, it was still the same telephone number. They had no collars on as I had just bathed them.”
The dogs escaped in the early hours of June 23 after Rebecca let them out for their toilet habits, but did not realise the gate was left open, which she claims was done by an intruder. The dogs were found in Larch Avenue at 11am that day and taken to the Dogs and Cats Home.
A spokesman for Wigan Council said wardens had tried to call the number on the microchip, but it did not work. Terry Dunn, director of environment at Wigan Council, said: “This unfortunate situation could easily have been avoided if these dogs had been fitted with a collar and tag.
“In fact, it is an offence for dogs not to have these. Also, had the information on the microchips been up-to-date, the situation would have been resolved much sooner.
The release fee charge is £55 for 24 hours and £85 for up to seven days. The resident has claimed she called the council within 24 hours of her dogs disappearing. We offered to reduce the fee if she could provide some details of this contact but she has failed to do so and we have no record of her contacting us.
“She also claimed the dogs escaped because an intruder had left her garden gate open. We are awaiting further information about this.
“We try to be sympathetic but there are strict guidelines and they must be applied fairly and consistently to everyone.”