Wigan Council has severed its long-standing contract with an animal rescue centre to set up its own in-house stray pet service.
The town hall announced it will cease to send stray dogs to Leigh Cats and Dogs’ Home from June 1 as it embarks upon the launch of an animal welfare programme.
Although the controversial centre has repeatedly come under fire from protestors, officials stress there are “no concerns” about the service it provided and that the decision has been made on financial grounds.
Council environment director Paul Barton said: “We have a statutory duty to provide a stray dogs service and from June 1 the collection
element of this service will be undertaken by our own newly-formed pest control and dog warden service.
“Dedicated pest control and dog officers will be based in local communities, meaning they will quickly be able to pick up any stray dogs and
return them to their registered keepers.
“We also currently work with Social Care Animals Wigan who are in the process of setting up a short term and long term pet fostering and adoption offer for people who can no longer look after their pets due to hospital admission or moving into a care home. This partnership is working well and we are already seeing the benefits of this scheme.
“Recent visits to Leigh Cats and Dogs Home, including unannounced inspections by our officers and independent vets, show that their rescue and kennelling facilities have adequate animal welfare provisions in place.”
The kennelling element of the service will be put out to contract.
In February, the council announced it would be working with Social Care Animals Wigan CIC to combat the number of pets left in kennels and catteries for long periods of time when their owners can no longer keep them.
The group is working with Wigan Council to help find foster homes for the animals whose owners will be in hospital or residential care for longer than six weeks.