A FAMILY have accused dog wardens in Sheffield, South Yorkshire of ‘dog- napping’ their pet dog after re-homing him when he went missing while wearing his identity tag.
Management of the council-run dog warden service are refusing to return 18-month-old Max to Michelle Quinn, causing heartache for her 12-year-old daughter Abigail, 16-year-old son Thomas, and stepdaughter Laura.
Sheffield Council says its records clearly show Max was not wearing any tag when he arrived at the dog wardens' kennels and so he was treated as a stray.
But devastated Michelle, 40, said: ‘As far as I'm concerned they've stolen him from us.’
Max went missing on Monday May 15 from outside Michelle's home in Carter Knowle Avenue, Banner Cross, Sheffield and was found 20 minutes later by Fraser Rowlin, at his parents' home in nearby Carter Knowle Road.
Max's collar was engraved with the address and phone number of Michelle's ex husband John, of Moorgate in Rotherham, and Fraser tried ringing him.
There was no answer so instead Fraser called Woodseats police station - giving the details from Max's collar - and was advised to contact the dog warden.
Fraser, 26, from Dore, Sheffield said: ‘When the dog warden came and collected Max he still had his collar on and I read out the details to them, then they took him away.’
But Michelle and her family say they were never contacted and, when Michelle called police and dog wardens herself, she was told they had no record of her pet.
In a desperate bid to find Max Michelle put up posters around Banner Cross and, nine days after he went missing, Fraser saw one of the family's posters and called her to check whether the dog had been safely returned. It was only after he passed on reference numbers from the police and dog warden that Michelle was able to find out what had happened.
She was given a police report of Fraser's telephone call, stating the details found on Max's tag. But Sheffield Council deny that Max was wearing the tag and say Michelle has no proof Max is her dog.
Michelle, a psychiatric nurse, said: ‘They said he has been re-homed and they won't give him back. Abi is particularly upset - she sees Max as her dog and she's been in tears.’
Fraser said: ‘This is completely mad and I have sympathy for Michelle. There were three of us present when the dog warden came to collect Max, and he was wearing a black collar and tag engraved with his details. It's not like I can suddenly magic up their phone number from nowhere.’
Sheffield Council spokesman Warwick Toone insisted: ‘Our records clearly show no tag was on the dog when it arrived at our kennels. If a dog is not claimed after seven days the owner forfeits their legal rights to the dog. In this case the dog was adopted.’