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Sunday 26 April 2009

New charges for stray dogs

New charges are being brought in by Cheshire East to tackle the number of stray dogs in the Borough, as the Council warns that it will get tough on the issue of the problems caused by dogs on the streets.

More than 1,300 strays have been picked up over the last four years by Council dog wardens. Cheshire East Council says the new charges, which must be paid in advance, are aimed at reducing the number of strays and encouraging responsible dog ownership. The approach is part of the authority’s community safety strategy which highlights dog fouling as a major concern for residents.

An £80 fee will be levied on owners to release dogs founding straying on the streets without any identification. The animal will be taken to registered kennels at Stoke on Trent and kept for seven days. If it is not claimed within this period, then efforts will be made to rehome it via an animal charity.

Dogs which can be identified through a collar or micro-chipping will be returned to their registered owners by the dog warden at a cost of £40. If the dog is found straying again, it will not to be returned to the owner but taken to the kennels and the full fee will be payable before release.

Councillor Brian Silvester, Cheshire East’s Portfolio Holder for Safer and Stronger Communities, says: “The return fees are set not only to cover the Council’s costs but to send out a very clear message that Cheshire East is determined to reduce the number of stray dogs on our streets and reduce the complaints we receive in relation to incidents of dog-fouling. There are no concessions to these fees. We are also adopting a zero tolerance approach to dog-fouling and will issue on-the-spot fines through our team of community wardens to owners who do not clean up after their pets.”

If a member of the public finds a dog out of hours or at weekends, they should contact 01270 529599 and will be advised to take the dog to one of two reception centres, the Hollies at Crewe for dogs found in the Crewe area or Fields Farm at Eaton - for dogs found in the Macclesfield/Congleton areas. It is the finder’s responsibility to take the dog, as the Council does not operate an out-of-hours dog collection service. If this is not possible, the dog warden will visit during the next working day to pick it up.

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