A dog owner with depression returned from holiday to the news his emotional support pup had been put down at the kennels.
David Hall came back from Croatia to his hometown of Church Broughton, Derbyshire, to find out his pet Staffordshire bull terrier, Blue, had been killed.
Mr Hall’s neighbour had taken Blue for a walk when the dog ran away and was captured by wardens.
They took the terrier to Crowfoot Kennels, contracted by Derby City Council, where staff said he was too aggressive and needed put down.
Mr Hall, who suffers from depression, said Blue was helping him to tackle his mental health issues.
The father-of-four was ‘heartbroken’ and had to tell his children that their beloved pet had gone to ‘doggy heaven’.
He said: ‘Blue didn’t have a violent bone in his body. He was a softie and the most loyal dog.
‘I’ve had him since he was a puppy and he loved all humans. My kids adored him and he adored my kids.
‘He would sit there for hours with my son loving the attention. I’m heartbroken. Blue helped me to pull myself together.
It made me feel happy when I walked him. I couldn’t wait to see him when I got back from my holiday. He was my best friend.’
After returning from Croatia Mr Hall phoned the kennels after finding an information card posted through his door saying they had his dog.
But they told him over the phone that Blue had been put down as he was ‘aggressive towards the residents and officers’.
Mr went to say his ‘final goodbyes’ to Blue, who was in a ‘big chest-freezer’ at the kennels. He then collected Blue’s ashes a few weeks later.
The council’s policy states that if a dog is not collected within seven days, it is then the property of the council.
A Derby City Council spokesperson said: ‘Mr Hall’s dog was picked up by our contracted stray dog service, after he was reported by a member of the public to be on a public highway.
‘Some local residents kindly kept the dog until officers were able to get to him. He was reportedly aggressive towards the residents and officers.
‘The dog had no tag, but officers scanned the dog for contact details of the owner.
‘We tried to call Mr Hall however got no response, and so visited the address, and an information card was left when there was no answer.
As we were unable to reunite the dog with its owner, he was taken to kennels. Stray dogs are cared for in kennels for seven days, after which point, they are legally owned by Derby City Council.
‘Our kennels received no contact from the friend or owner, and there was no report of this dog being lost.
‘The dog showed signs of aggression to the kennel owner and kennel staff, so after the seven days had passed, and no contact had been received, we had to take the difficult decision to put the dog to sleep.
‘Dogs who show aggression and cannot safely be adopted or rehomed are, where appropriate, put to sleep.
‘We do not take that decision lightly, and would only ever decide to put a dog to sleep if it was deemed absolutely necessary.
‘Had the kennels received information or were contacted to state that the owners were on holiday then the dog would of course have remained in kennels to allow the owners to come forward. On returning from his holiday, the owner has contacted the Council and we have fully discussed the situation with him.’