A refuge centre has stopped picking up stray dogs – because it is too full.
The responsibility for collecting stray dogs now lies with Carlisle City Council.
Over the past year, the Animals’ Refuge at Wetheral has taken in 307 stray dogs. Although about half of strays are reclaimed within a few days, they take up much-needed kennel space while they wait for their owners to claim them. In the meantime, people wanting to give their dogs to the refuge cannot do so because there are no empty kennels. Added to this problem is the fact the Animals’ Refuge is becoming increasingly harder to maintain and has been running at a loss since 2008.
David Jordan, the director of the charity, said it had made the difficult decision to concentrate on its core purpose of rehoming dogs rather than keeping strays for a few days.
He explained: “It comes down to the face that our primary purpose is to help with the rehoming of dogs and obviously the number of strays has gone up and quite a lot of those are reclaimed.
“What it does, is it fills up our kennels with dogs that are later reclaimed and it makes it harder for us to take in dogs from members of the public, who are legitimately looking to give up their dogs to try and find new homes for them.
“we’re finding that fairly regularly we’re having to turn them away because we’re full – and we’re often full because we’ve got strays in who are later reclaimed.”
It is normally the dog warden who picks up stray dogs. Most dogs become strays when their owners let them outside rather than taking them for a walk, or when they leave dogs outside when they go away on holiday.
Carlisle City Council, who will now be responsible for the animals, does not have a patrolling dog warden, and so anyone who finds a stray dog needs to call the warden on 01228 817399.
The service will operate every day from 8am to 10pm, except on Christmas Day. Stray dogs will be put in a private kennel and, if they are not claimed within seven days, will go to Animals’ Refuge to be rehomed.
Owners will have to pay a fee, which will incorporate administration and kenneling costs and a fine, to get your dog back.