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Animal groups blast Barrow dog warden axe plan

TWO animal welfare groups have slammed Barrow Borough Council over its plans to axe the town’s dog warden later this year.

The RSPCA and Animal Welfare (Furness) say the role is “indispensable” and have warned the decision could have dire consequences.

The backlash comes after the council told warden Bill Burrows, who has served in the role for four years, that his post is being made redundant on September 30.

The position of dog warden is one of five council jobs put on the chopping block by the council as it seeks to erase a budget deficit of £127,000.

Although a final decision will not be made until the end of June, the council has confirmed it is proposing the Streetcare team take over the warden’s duties.

But Animal Welfare (Furness) member Beverly Milburn said the move was “a very worrying decision’’ and would be “a severe blow” to the community, adding: “It is our opinion that all dogs should be dealt with by an experienced person, otherwise the dog may bite someone because it is terrified and has been mishandled, culminating in the animal’s destruction.’’

The RSPCA’s Furness and Barrow branch has already written to the council expressing its “deep concern”.

In the letter, branch chairwoman Sylvia Riley and treasurer Claire Pettingale say they “fully appreciate” the need to save money, but warn of “significant adverse effects” on the Barrow community if the dog warden goes.

They said: “Like many urban, industrial town, Barrow has significant issues with regard to dog welfare.”

Council leader, Councillor Dave Pidduck, who heads the executive committee that will make the final call on the redundancies, said whatever its decision the public would not be put at risk.

He said: “Nobody wants to make anybody redundant and a great deal of soul-searching has gone on.

“Obviously, concerns raised by the public and the RSPCA would be looked at, but there will be a system in place that will protect the public.’’

Have your say

Having actually voted against the loss of this essential service I am hopeful that the Labour dominated Council will at some point recognise that this is a service and a man which serves the Borough well.

Of course austerity measures and cuts must be implemented but having left the Labour Council more than £9,000,000 in reserves (4 times the level of reserves than we inherited from the past Labour Council) there should be funding to maintain this post.

Labour has increased the cost of a vast range of services; funding could be used from this additional income.

Labour has cut the services and times of opening; funding could have been used from these savings.

And of course, it put up Council Tax; again providing additional funding which could have funded the post.

The Labour Leader has stated: -

“Obviously, concerns raised by the public and the RSPCA would be looked at, but there will be a system in place that will protect the public.’’

Whilst there is a suggestion that the concerns of the public and RSPCA will be looked at, clearly saying "but" there will be a "system in place" to protect the public suggests, to some, that it will not be Bill; he is not a system.

The public is asking us to support this position; the highly respected RSPCA has identified its absolute need, Animal Welfare is expressing concern; time for a rethink.

This is perhaps one cut too many.

Posted by Ray Guselli on 16 May 2012 at 06:59

Getting rid of the dog warden would be detramental as Bill has essential expertise and knowlegde off the problems we all face with dog issues . He is good at responding to dog fouling issues and strays he is good in all the comunities and going to meeting as and when he is not over worked... Its not that you want to get rid of Bill it is an issue to have more Dog wardens around .... To help Bill and the team that do so well with the resorses they are given... WE NEED MORE WARDENS NOT NO WARDENS .

Posted by Lisa Webb on 15 May 2012 at 10:16

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