Stray dog service is ’unhelpful’

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A TOP Wigan politician is calling for changes to the dog warden service.

Chairman of Wigan Conservative Federation Michael Winstanley found a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy wandering the streets of Ashton.

But he claims that when he tried to hand it over to the dog warden service, it was unhelpful.

Buster the dog was eventually returned to its owners after rescue staff scanned it and were able to identify the owners from the tiny microchip in its skin.

But the ex-mayor said because he found the dog in Orchard Street at 7.30am on his way to work, he found the phoneline ringing out for some minutes before cutting him off without being answered or offering the chance to leave a message.

When he eventually got through he was then told that the dog was now his responsibility.

Mr Winst-anley, pictured, said: “It made no difference trying to explain the circumstances or that I had to get to work. Eventually I was told that I could take Buster to Leigh Cats and Dogs’ Home and that I would have to phone them myself.

“The whole process on the telephone took nearly half an hour and in my opinion the system does not encourage people to do the right thing and help with stray dogs.”

Mr Winstanley says, though, that he found the staff at Leigh Cats and Dogs Home “fantastic” and they helped to find Buster’s owners.

He is urging all dog owners to make sure they have their pets microchipped, so, if they are unfortunate to lose their dog, they have a good chance of being reunited.

He also wants a review of the dog warden service to make it more user-friendly.

Sally Wolstencroft, head of cleaner safer greener at the council, denied that the Dog Warden Service faced operational problems.

She said: “We know that people are busy and can’t always wait for our dog warden to attend, which is why we offer the drop-off service as an option.

“It’s useful to have this opportunity to remind everyone of the process for reporting lost and found dogs, and of the benefits of micro-chipping.

“Dogs should have a collar or tag with contact details on it.”

She said that strays can be taken to Leigh Dogs and Cats Home between 9am-9pm weekdays or 9am-8pm on weekends and Bank Holidays.

Alternatively, call the Dog Warden Service on Wigan 404364 to arrange collection of dogs that are contained and they say they will pick up the stray within two hours.