SOME COUNCILS in East Anglia are charging as much as £90 to release lost dogs which have been picked up by the dog warden.
Norwich City Council has recently taken over the role of rounding up stray dogs from the police under the terms of the Cleaner Neighbourhoods & Environment Bill and is charging £30 plus vet's bills, with an extra £10 per day it holds the dog.
South Norfolk council charge £32 plus vet's bills per day, or more if the dog is a ‘repeat offender’ while Broadland District Council charges £62.90. Great Yarmouth District Council charges between £70 and £90 - and will put dogs to sleep or rehome them if they are not collected within seven days.
One dog owner was appalled to pay £62.90 after Lucy her white, year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier was kennelled by Broadland District Council for just two hours.
Philippa Sykes, 27, and her sister Tracey, 39, who owns Lucy, put posters up around Wroxham, to try to locate their pet after the dog went missing one evening.
Philippa, a call centre worker from Park Road, Wroxham said: ‘We had visitors and they left the door open - in 10 or 20 minutes she was gone.
‘Lucy is deaf so we were worried she wouldn't hear if anyone called her but luckily the vets took her in. They kept her overnight and then rang the council the next morning, who were going to take her over to Reepham to kennels there.’
By the time the sisters had discovered where she was, they had to stump up the fee for her release.
By law, a dog should wear a collar with a tag so they can be returned safely. Lucy wasn't wearing a tag on her collar, so the council were unable to ring the owner to reunite the dog.
Philippa said: ‘We had to pay Broadland District Council £62.90 and they had literally had her for two hours - the vets had had her overnight and charged nothing.’
Broadland District Council said the fee is a standard charge for a day, even if the animal has only been in the kennel for two hours, because they need to clean them. The fee breaks down into a statutory release fee of £25, the kennel fee of £22.50 and an admin charge of £15.40. An additional day is charged at £14.35.
A spokeswoman from the council said: ‘We have to charge the £25 release fee by law and the kennel charges us £22.50.
‘If the dog has a microchip or a collar and tag then the dog is returned directly back to the owner without charge.
‘A collar and tag is actually required by law - charges are also prescribed by law. If we find out it's not the right dog and we've charged someone we give the money straight back.’