Man told to catch stray dog

UTTLESFORD S animal (dog) warden has been described as a waste of tax payers money , after one resident says he was told he should catch a stray dog himself. Another resident was told to ferry a huge Mastiff dog up the B184, from Dunmow to Saffron Walde

UTTLESFORD'S animal (dog) warden has been described as a "waste of tax payers' money", after one resident says he was told he should catch a stray dog himself.

Another resident was told to ferry a huge Mastiff dog up the B184, from Dunmow to Saffron Walden, after keeping it overnight because she was told the warden was not available at weekends.

However, Uttlesford District Council has defended warden, Sue Knight, saying that providing a 24-hour callout service would not provide the best value for council tax payers.

Ken Davies, from Aythorpe Roding, spotted a bedraggled stray greyhound in the village over a week ago, and called the council to report it.

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"It was starving to death by the looks of it," he said, "so I called the council to try and get the poor thing picked up, but I was told they wouldn't do anything unless it had already been picked up. I was told to catch it myself. Surely this is not a safe thing to be advising the public to do. The dog could be vicious or confused and could bite. Why do we have a dog warden if they will not come and retrieve strays?"

In a separate incident Bernadine Blumsom, from Station Road, Dunmow, said that she had to drive a Mastiff dog to Saffron Walden so she could hand it over to a vet.

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She said: "My husband and I found a huge Mastiff wandering the streets on a Sunday afternoon. It had no collar and was in a terrible state so we took it in and tried to feed and water it.

"We rang the council but got an automated message saying that we should call back, so after trying various other council numbers we were told to keep the dog overnight and the warden would deal with it the following day or drive the dog to Saffron Walden ourselves."

Mrs Blumson said she was shocked by the lack of help available. "As an animal lover and dog owner I found the whole experience very stressful," she said.

"What is the point of a dog warden if members of the public are expected to assume what should be their responsibility? We pay for these services and then end up doing the job ourselves."

A district council spokesman said that the warden provides a range of services to the public from animal licensing to dog fouling. He said: "We have provided a 24-hour reception facility with local veterinarians Mercer and Hughes at their Saffron Walden clinic for members of the public to take stray dogs to during evenings and weekends.

"The dog will then be collected the next working day and either reunited with its owner if identified or kennelled until re-homed. Regrettably the cost of providing a 24-hour callout service by an officer would not provide the best value for money for tax payers.

"During office hours our Animal Warden will collect stray dogs that have been contained by a member of the public. In the case of the dog in Aythorpe Roding, it was reported as still being on the loose and unapproachable. At the time our warden was located in Saffron Walden and by the time she could have attended the dog could have been anywhere.

"In this case the dog may have belonged to a family of travellers reportedly located in the area who subsequently moved on.

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