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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Safety fears over plan to axe Barrow dog role

THE public will be at greater risk from dog attacks if Barrow Borough Council goes ahead with plans to axe its dog warden, according to the man who faces losing his job.

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CONCERN: Bill Burrows, Barrow Borough Council’s dog warden, has been told that his job will be axed in September. He is pictured here with a letter from the RSPCA supporting him and the role of the dog warden in the community JOE RILEY REF: 50032849B000

Dog warden Bill Burrows has been informed the council intends to scrap the position on September 30.

Mr Burrows, 55, has worked at the kennels for 12 years, including the past four as warden. He said the proposed cut would see more strays on the streets and an increased danger of maulings.

“After September 30, a lot of dogs will be left to roam the streets and of course there’ll be an increase in attacks,” he said.

“Some of the dogs I see on patrol, like pit bulls, are frightening and we don’t want these wandering around our streets. Whether it’s me or somebody else, we do need a dog warden to be there for the public.”

But council chief executive Tom Campbell denied the cost-saving measure would jeopardise public safety and said the Streetcare team would be fully trained to carry out the warden’s duties should the post be scrapped.

He said: “If we move to a new system of operation, then any member of staff who is expected to handle a dog will be trained and equipped to do so.

“The purpose of a dog warden is to pick up stray dogs and the frequency of dangerous or vicious dogs is extremely low.”

Mr Burrows recalled an incident when a Streetcare team member was bitten while on duty.

“He approached the dog, which was a bull-cross, and it bit him in the stomach and right through the hand and he had to go to the hospital,” Mr Burrows said.

“I can’t understand the council because (the Streetcare team) doesn’t have the experience to pick the dogs up. You have to be so careful when you approach strays and every situation is different.”

Mr Burrows, who has since written to Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock and the council, also warned the decision could spark a rise in canine-carried diseases such as the potentially deadly parvovirus.

He said: “We’ve never had a case of parvo in my time as dog warden. How’s the Streetcare team going to identify sick dogs earlier enough to get them isolated? If you get parvo in the kennels then everything would have to be destroyed.”

The proposal to scrap the post, as well as other positions including market manager, sports development officer, technical support officer and policy and strategy officer, is designed to ease a £127,000 budget deficit.

Mr Campbell said a final decision would be made later this year after discussions between the council, employees and the unions.

Have your say

So the dog warden is facing the axe but the man who goes around with a blower which scatters all the recently cut dandelions and daisies all over my drive and the pavements keeps his job........lunacy.

Posted by Wayne Chips on 29 April 2012 at 15:19

This being the same council that is blowing a fortune on fixing up private housing for a couple of hundred residents? Yet they can't find the money to employ the one and only dog warden in the borough? I thought it was only the government that didn't have a clue!

Posted by Phil on 28 April 2012 at 00:10

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