Man reunited with dog after police accidentally rehomed him in Leigh when he went into hospital

Alfie is reunited with his owner Rich
Alfie is reunited with his owner Rich

A man has been reunited with his beloved support dog three months after he was taken away by police and accidentally rehomed in Leigh.

Officers for Greater Manchester Police came under fire after taking a man’s dog from him and having him rehomed while he was hospitalised with mental health issues.

The incident occurred in April when Alfie, a six-year-old Border Collie, was taken from his owner Rich Howard and given to Leigh Cats’ and Dogs’ Home, who had him adopted within just two days.

There was a huge public outcry after police took Alfie to the vet instead of taking him home to Rich’s partner Kate and the couple’s children

The following day, when Rich was discharge and Alfie was not there, the family began to call 101 for information.

They were informed that Alfie had been transported to a veterinary surgery in Worsley, where he was scanned for a chip.

Despite Rich having guardianship of Alfie, the registered details were of a former girlfriend of his, who reportedly told police that the dog should be adopted - which he was at Leigh Cats’ and Dogs’ Home.

Following this, hundreds of people rallied around the family on Facebook, publicly calling for police to find Alfie and return him home.

The campaign even gained the support of celebrities such as Maxine Peake.

But despite the outcry, the force said that its hands were legally tied and that there was no further action that could be taken to get him back from his new owners.

Rich and Kate’s supporters however refused to give up and the couple found a solicitor to work on the case.

After weeks of uncertainty, the case was heard at Manchester County Court at the end of last week.

An injunction was imposed and Alfie’s temporary family were ordered to return him home by Friday, August 2.

But Rich and Kate, who has recently announced her pregnancy, were overjoyed when the family returned him almost a week early.

The couple took to Facebook to celebrate the news saying: “So today this happened. Alfie has been returned home and we’ve found out we’re having a boy. Happy Mondays.”