Charity fights to save Wirral kennels

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A dog at the kennels, © Antje Tucker, Friends of Birkenhead Council Kennels

Wirral residents have reacted with anger after the Council announced a proposed closure to the Birkenhead Council Kennels, prompting volunteers to start a petition.

The propositions, which were put forward earlier this week, are one of a number of options making up Wirral Borough Council’s three year plan to save £100m and would see the kennels closed down and services moved to Halewood.

If the option is taken forward, there will not be a dedicated dog warden based on the Wirral, and owners of those dogs which are handed in to the kennel will have to travel to Halewood in order to collect their pets.

At the announcement, which took place in Wallasey Town Hall, the Authority’s Chief Executive, Graham Burgess told the meeting he would be announcing a package of cuts options, which totalled £49m, in order for “members of the public, staff and councillors” to choose.

Mr Burgess said: “Let me make it clear, that the options will be in excess of those required to give a range of choices.”

Staff at the kennels have been informed their jobs are officially at risk.

Friends of Birkenhead Council Kennels, a charity started with the aim of improving the conditions in the kennel, have begun petitioning to try to stop the cuts from taking place.

In an official statement, the charity urged its supporters to fight against the cuts: “It is regrettable that the service which has provided a vital and memorable role within the local community will cease to exist in its current form. The Friends Group will continue to work with the kennels until such a time it is no longer possible.

“The Friends Group in its official capacity will make every endeavour to ensure a service can remain within the Wirral and invite the Local Authority to enter into open discussions relating to how we can assist in this process.

Meanwhile, support for the campaign has been growing via Facebook with messages pouring in from supporters of the kennel.

Dog owner, Amy Adkins says she fears for the safety of her pet if the kennels were to be closed: “I have a dog who was given up by her last owners as she kept escaping.  I fear if the kennel operation was moved to Halewood and she got out, there would be no chance of getting her back.”

Supporters of the kennel have also argued that the closure would affect those who do not own dogs.

Wirral Resident, Nikki Greaves, said: “I live on a small estate where there is a problem with loose dogs. Recently a dog was loose around the time kids were leaving school, it was a real comfort to be able to ring the local warden and know it would be dealt with promptly. I worry that if a warden wasn’t around, it could have ended with a child getting bitten.”

The e-petitions have gained more than 800 signatures in less than a week, however the charity has set a goal of 100,000 signatures in order to urge the council to consider other options.

Wirral Borough Council was contacted, however there was no spokesperson available for comment.

About Josh Parry, JMU Journalism