This is Mimi, the family pet of the Tonges. She escaped from their garden through the open garden gate.
Like most people I can be highly critical of local councils, but in the case of Mimi's owners, I have to defend Bolton council. The authority operates an 'in house' dog warden service for the collection of stray dogs during daylight hours. If a stray dog is collected, the dog is returned free of charge if it is the first 'offence'. During weekends and evenings all Greater Manchester authorities use a company called Animal Wardens, who return the animal to the owner after a fee of £60 has been paid. The fee is paid direct to the company and the council is not involved in payment of the fee.
It was after 5pm when a dog warden returned Mimi to the Tongs and requested a fee of £60. When they said they didn't have the money the Yorkshire Terrier puppy was placed in kennels, increasing the cost to £85, and they were warned she could be given to another family if they don't pay up.
Mrs Tonge said: "We cannot find that sort of money – we either pay our council tax or pay to get her back.
What would happen if the dog required veterinary treatment? Would others be expected to pay for it? Yorkshire Terrier puppies sell for £350-£400. Mrs Tonge can still retrieve her dog by paying the £85 fee within the next seven days, according to Bolton council.
Maybe this puppy would be better off housed with a family who are responsible enough to understand the expense of caring for a dog.