Fears have been raised today about a trade in stray dogs being sold after it emerged a company charged with the task of reuniting lost dogs with their owners actually sold a much loved family pet forcing a distraught owner to have to fight to gain his own dog back.
Earlier in the year warnings were given that a change in stray dog laws could spell an animal welfare crisis as councils pick up full responsibility for dealing with lost or strayed dogs.
Now it has come to light that a personal disaster has hit home for Adrian McCollin after his Husky, Kiss, ended up being sold by Animal Wardens Ltd, a firm given a local authority contract to deal with strays.
The sorry story gets murkier.
It is reported that Animal Wardens Ltd actually informed desperate Adrian that they had not found his dog at all when it eventually transpired that Kiss had actually been sold onto another family.
K9 Magazine understands that many pet industry professionals had privately expressed great concerns to the local authorities who had contracted out their dog collection responsibilities to Animal Wardens Ltd, to be aware of this type of incident several weeks before Mr McCollin’s upsetting experience.
Mr McCollin is furious and upset and is seeking legal advice after learning that Kiss was sold to a new family after spending 7 days in kennels. The new family is now unwilling to return the dog.
Kiss went missing on April 10th after being taken for a walk on the beach. She ended up in the town centre of Hastings St.Leonard.
Her desperate owner searched high and low for her and reported her missing to the local council immediately. They were directed to speak to Animal Wardens Ltd who had control of the stray dog contract for the local authority.
“We called the service every day and were told ‘nothing of that description has been in whatsoever’, ” said Adrian.
After a week Adrian spent time and money postering in a desperate attempt to be reunited with his much loved companion. Having seen one of the posters, a town hall employee called Adrian to inform him that Kiss was handed in on or around the time that Adrian says she went missing a week earlier. The town hall employee told Adrian that the dog had been passed on to Animal Wardens Ltd.
“Even after calling them and informing them of the date and location of where my dog was picked up, they still denied having any knowledge of a Husky, Adrian explains”
It was after being told of what had happened to Kiss by a town hall official that Adrian confronted Animal Wardens Ltd again, insisting that they DID have his dog as he had been told as much by someone at the town hall. It was at this time that Animal Wardens Ltd admitted that they did indeed have the dog.
A drained and emotional Adrian revealed, “It has been so stressful, I am constantly thinking about it. I haven’t been able to eat or sleep properly.”
Animal Wardens Ltd is run by Paul Dunne. Mr Dunne has admitted his firm made a catalogue of errors, stating that Kiss was unidentified initially and sent to Viking Oaks kennels were strays are routinely taken. He told the Hastings Observer:
“Kiss was rehomed after the statutory seven day period that people have to reclaim dogs had expired. As Kiss is a friendly dog she has settled into her new home with a woman and her two-year-old child very well and, having purchased Kiss she does not want to give her back. We therefore have a stand-off situation that we are trying to resolve. We have offered recompense for the error but neither party wishes to give up rights of ownership to Kiss. As part of that compensation we have offered to purchase a pedigree Husky pup, but unfortunately both owner and keeper are attached to Kiss. This is a one off error that came about through a series of six mistakes, precautions have now been put in place to prevent a reoccurrence.”
A Hastings Council spokesman is quoted: “This is a very unfortunate incident. We know staff at our contractor, Animal Wardens Ltd, are working very hard to resolve this and we hope they will be able to reunite Kiss with her original owners as soon as possible.”