By Anthony Carroll
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
When Paul Casbolt and Shirley Doy realised their beloved pet husky was missing, they were fearful for her safety.
After a frantic search and phone calls, they were relieved to hear that four-year-old Sharnie had been found safe and well near Lowestoft town centre and had been taken to a Waveney District Council kennel.
But they were shocked to learn they faced a £175 bill – because she had no tag and was classed as a stray.
Although the couple managed to get the fee reduced to £25 because Sharnie had been microchipped days earlier, the council says the case once again highlights the need for all owners to ensure their dogs have proper ID tags.
The family’s problems began when Sharnie managed to slip out of their home in Beckham Road. As they began searching for her, they were unaware she had been found safe and well near Roman Hill Primary School and sent to a kennel as the council believed she had neither a microchip nor an ID tag, as legally required.
Mr Casbolt and his partner, who live with their four children and a grandchild, were told by the council they would have to pay £160 to reclaim Sharnie after just one day in the kennel.
But the size of fee – which would have increased daily – meant the couple, who are both unemployed, could not afford to bring her home.
Fortunately, Sharnie had been microchipped a week before she escaped, which meant she should not have been categorised as a stray, and the council was unaware of this as the paperwork had not been processed.
When the council realised, it reduced the fee to a £25 “statutory charge” instead.
Mr Casbolt, 38, said: “The council told us that if we paid the full fee we could have her back straight way but warned us the fee would go up to over £200 for the second day then continue to rise daily – until seven days, at which point she would be re-homed.
“We’d only had Sharnie microchipped recently and the paperwork had not been done.
“I’m very glad now that we’d got it done.”
Mr Casbolt and Ms Doy, who live with their children Kirsty, Melissa, Jacob and Callum and Kirsty’s daughter Kyra, have now bought a dog tag – and they are urging other owners to ensure they do the same.
A council spokesman said collecting stray dogs cost the authority more than £23,000 a year and, to help offset this, it had increased its fees for kennelling and collecting them.