A distraught dog owner today thanked The Gazette for helping return her pooch – after he was rehomed by dog wardens while she was on holiday.
Jude Conway thought she’d lost her beloved Hardy, a chiwawa-Yorkshire terrier cross – known as a chorkie – when he managed to run out of the family home on Lytham Road, South Shore, on May 9.
It was the day before she and her son, Denny Cain, 12, were due to catch an early flight for a week’s holiday in Spain, and despite their desperate search, they were forced to leave for the trip with him still missing.
However, Blackpool’s dog wardens found Hardy and picked him up, taking him to kennels where he was looked after for a week.
Miss Conway said a friend sent her a text message when she was at the airport to say they had heard Hardy had been taken to a local kennels.
Miss Conway contact another friend as she was about to board the plane to ask them to check if Hardy was there and arrange for him to be collected when she returned from holiday.
She said: “My friend said I would be there on the Monday after I got back to get him, but there must have been a mix up in communication as the kennels thought I would be in that Monday. When I didn’t show up and they couldn’t contact me, they must have thought I wasn’t interested.”
The dog wardens tried to trace Miss Conway, but a microchip containing her contact details was out of date after she changed her address and telephone number.
As is the council’s policy, Hardy was put up for adoption on May 18 after a week in the kennels.
He was quickly rehomed – much to Miss Conway’s shock.
Miss Conway, 48, said Denny, who is deaf and registered disabled, was devastated when they returned home to be told the news.
She added: “I changed my address at the vets after I moved in October but didn’t realise I had to do it with the microchip database as well.”
But after The Gazette contacted Blackpool Council about Miss Conway’s heartbreak, town hall bosses agreed to try and help return Hardy.
Pet and owner were reunited yesterday after his new owner agreed to give him up and Miss Conway paid a £60 fine for not putting a collar on Hardy and £40 boarding costs.
She said: “If it wasn’t for the The Gazette I wouldn’t have my Hardy back. We really thought we’d lost him for good.
“I’m so pleased Hardy’s new owners were understanding. Denny and I are so grateful.
“Hardy was Denny’s dog really as we bought him on Denny’s 10th birthday.
“He isn’t trained as a hearing dog, but he always wakes Denny up in the morning as he can’t hear an alarm or me calling, and if there was a fire in the house he would be a life saver.”
Coun Amy Cross, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for street scene and the environment, said: “This case is a prime example of the problems which our officers have to deal with. These problems cost taxpayer millions each year up and down the country and are incredibly frustrating.
“It is a legal requirement for dogs to wear a collar with contact details on. Had the dog been wearing a collar with contact details on this whole situation could have been avoided. This case also reinforces the value of not-only micro chipping but keeping the details stored on the micro chip up-to-date.
“I would also point out that stray and lost dogs can cause a danger to people and motorists and are often responsible for dog fouling which people find so frustrating.
“Finally, I feel compelled to express my sympathy and admiration for the person who agreed to adopt this dog who has now agreed to give it back to its original owner.
“This is an extremely kind gesture.”