Family ‘held to ransom’ after council finds lost dog




When the Tonge family’s pet Yorkshire Terrier puppy, called Mimi, escaped through a garden gate they were devastated – until a dog warden appeared with her a few hours later.
But their delight soon turned to disbelief when told they would have to pay £60 as the council’s free dog warden service ends at 5pm. After this time a private out-of-hours contractor takes over.

When the family said did not have the money Mimi was placed into kennels, increasing the cost to £85, and they were warned she could be given to another family if they do not pay up.
Married mum-of-two Melanie Tonge, 39, a married mother-of-two from Westnoughton, near Bolton, Greater Manchester, said: “It feels like my dog is being held to ransom.
“I just couldn’t get the money together. Now Mimi has been taken to the kennels.
“The shelter has told us unless we can pay the costs she will be re-homed. I just don’t understand it. I am so upset.”
The family claim they are facing financial hardship.
Mrs Tonge said: “We cannot find that sort of money – we either pay our council tax or pay to get her back.
“I am so upset. The dog escaped because a friend left the gate open.
“As soon as she escaped we were frantic and l went looking for her.
“She is microchipped and we look after her and she does not roam the streets.”
She has told her children, Caroline, aged five, and John, aged three, that Mimi is being looked after by somebody else.
A Bolton Council spokeswoman said the authority operates an ‘in house’ dog warden service for the collection of stray dogs during daylight hours.
If a stray dog is collected, the dog is returned free of charge if it is the first “offence”.
But during weekends and evenings, all Greater Manchester authorities use a company called Animal Wardens, who return the animal to the owner after a fee of £60 has been paid.
A Bolton Council spokesman said: “This fee is paid direct to the company and the council is not involved in payment of this fee.
“If the owner’s details are not known, or they refuse to pay, then the stray dog is kennelled at Leigh Dog’s Home.
“The owner must then pay an £85 fee, which remains at this price for seven days, after which the dog becomes the property of the home.
“In this case, Mrs Tonge’s dog was picked up at about 5pm by Animal Wardens, who asked her to pay the £60 fee and she refused, so the dog was transferred to the Leigh Dog~s Home.
“She can still retrieve her dog by paying the £85 fee within the next seven days.
“The dog’s home offered to only charge her £25 as a goodwill gesture if she picked the dog up that evening, which she also refused.” Mrs Tonge denies having been made this offer.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Ammara said,

    :O
    THAT IS SO MEAN.
    zomg
    people suck -__-


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