Shock after charity says 'let stray animal go'

THE RSPCA admitted it made a mistake after a Fylde animal lover claimed the charity told her to let a stray dog she had found go.

Catherine Whatmough, 43, rescued the black collie, which was wandering alone in the middle of Freckleton Street, Lytham, on New Year’s Day.

She took the dog to her local police station, only to be told they had no facilities to take the dog in.

She then tried to contact Fylde Council’s dog wardens, but none were available.

After contacting the RSPCA, she says she was told they could not take the dog and that she should let it back out on to the street.

“I called the RSPCA emergency number and they said if there was no other option then I would have to let it free.

“I was quite shocked by that,” said Catherine.

“The dog ended up staying with my dad.

“The next day we managed to get in touch with the owner who had reported her missing to the council.”

An RSPCA spokesman said its call operator would be spoken to as “a mistake had been made”.

She added: “We are glad this issue has been highlighted as legislation means stray dogs are the responsibility of councils and the police.

“Being a charity, the issue is if we step in then we can start being used to plug the gap.

“If a dog is injured, then we will help but it is the responsibility of the local authority.”

A council spokesman said: “We have two on-call dog wardens to cover the entire Fylde and there are occasions when neither is available.

“If that is the case provisions are made and our call centre staff will usually be able to direct people to a dog home that will try to home or locate owners of lost animals.”