Belfast Telegraph

Council apologises after they mistakenly say dog put down

By Donna Deeney

A Newtownabbey woman who was told by the Council’s Dog Warden the stray dog in poor condition she rescued had been put down was stunned to hear he is very much alive.

Catherine Ward (22)  was devastated to hear the lurcher dog she found in the car park at Valley Park in a very sorry state  had been put to sleep despite her request that it was sent to the Dogs Trust which has a no kill policy.

Kind hearted Catherine who volunteers with the Dogs Trust gathered the animal up and put him into her car after she contacted her vet who told her to bring him to the surgery.

Catherine offered to cover the costs and asked the vet - James Bryson from Voy Vets in Doagh to contact her the next morning because she hoped to get the dog placed with the Dogs Trust until a forever home could be found.

The Council’s Dog Warden collected the animal from the vets the following day prompting Catherine to call the council, offer to pay the cost of treating the dog and offering to take him.

Catherine was contacted last Thursday evening by the Dog Warden who told her the dog had been put to sleep, howver in a statement to this newspaper a spokeswoman for Antrim and Newtownabbey Council said this was a “miscommunication” and the dog was alive and expected to make a full recovery.

The spokeswoman said: “Following a statement issued on Friday regarding a Lurcher type dog that had been found straying in the Valley Park area, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council can confirm that the dog has not been put to sleep but is undergoing further assessment and treatment.

“The error in an earlier statement was due to a miscommunication with the veterinary practice and the Council apologises for any upset caused.”

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Catherine said she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the news.

She said: “I am so relieved the dog is still alive but I cannot believe the dog warden would tell me the dog was dead when he wasn’t.

“I am upset too that no one from the Council bothered to tell me this,  I have been under the impression the dog was dead since last Thursday but the Council knew I wanted to take the dog because my friend’s mum is willing to give him a forever home, she was even going to call him Parker.

“I felt such a pity on this dog from the minute I saw it because I knew he was in bad condition.

“I didn’t want to take him to my own house because I have a dog and I was worried the stray might have had something that could be passed on so I rang Voy Vets and took him there.

“I told them I would cover the costs and asked them to call me the following day about getting the dog placed with the Dogs Trust where I volunteer so we could get a forever home for him.

“I called the vet in the morning and he told me the dog had done well overnight but when I called later that evening the vet said the  dog warden had collected the dog.

“I was shocked because I really didn’t want him going to the pound and wanted him to go to the Dogs Trust instead because they have a no kill policy.

“I started making so many phone calls trying to find out where this dog was, I rang the Council’s Mossley Mills and left a message telling them I was willing to pay the bill for treating the dog and they said “that’s great we’ll let the dog warden know”.

“I was getting more and more anxious because I wasn’t hearing any thing back from the Dog Warden but then he phone me around 5pm and kept going on about the dog’s condition and then said the dog was humanly executed because no one was here to pay the three weeks worth of bills needed to treat him.

“I couldn’t  understand how they would have gone  ahead an put him down even though I claimed him and  because I have seen dogs in worse condition that he was in come into the Dogs Trust and get better with antibiotics.

“He was such a sweet wee dog, he was so well behaved when he was in my car and wagging his tail once we made him comfortable.

James Bryson from Voy Vets who examined the dog brought to the surgery by Catherine Ward said the procedure when a stray dog is brought to the surgery is to contact the Dog Warden.

He said: “We see quite a lot of stray animals out of hours and we provide basic treatment free of charge which we quite happy to do.

“When a dog has no identity I am obliged to contact the dog warden which I did.

 “My main concern that night was that dog had a contagious disease.  We suspected it had mange so that dog going to a kennel with a lot of other dogs was an issue.

“I remember the lady telling me she worked with the Dog’s Trust but I would have been concern was the dog had suspected mange and it would have been an issue if it went to a charity kennel’s where there were a lot of other dogs.

“I offered to continue to provide treatment and the dog warden actually had a long conversation with their superiors.  It was them who decided to take the dog and I don’t know what happen to the dog after that point.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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