A FAMILY have been told their adored pet dog could be put down within days if they do not pay up to get her back from Sheffield Council.
Mum-of-four Gemma Taff says she cannot afford the steeply rising charge to claim back Rolo - who was swept up by council wardens barely an hour after she went missing.
If Gemma’s partner Lee Campbell was on benefits and not a hard-working shopping centre security guard there would be no fee, because benefits claimants’ charges are waived. But working families pay.
Gemma and Lee, who live with their four children in Spinkhill Road, Woodthorpe, spoke to the council moments after wardens picked Rolo up, while the dog was still in the back of the warden’s van.
But although Rolo had not yet been transferred to the council kennels or processed in the system, the wardens refused to release the three-year-old pet until the family cough up a £59 release fee, which rises by £10 a day.
Gemma claimed wardens at Spring Street kennels told her if Rolo is not claimed within seven days - by which time the fee will be £119 - she will be destroyed or put up for adoption.
A Sheffield Council spokesman today insisted the kennels put down dogs only as a last resort but stood by their demand for a release fee.
Gemma, aged 27, told The Star: “Really soon after Rolo escaped I found out a lady had picked her up and called the dog wardens. When I spoke to them they said Rolo hadn’t arrived at the kennels yet, and was still in the van.
“I understand they need to charge something, because they had to come to get her.But they say I need to pay £59 to get her back. That’s more than private kennels charge for a day and she hadn’t even arrived there yet!”
Gemma, mum to Tyler, six, Meya, four, 18-month-old Ashden and newborn Shey, said: “I know it’s only £59 but when you haven’t got it, you haven’t got it.”
Lee, 28, who works as a security man at Crystal Peaks, said: “I don’t get paid until next week and the price to release Rolo is going up every day. We want to get her back but I can’t take food out of my kids’ mouths. We are very grateful the council picked her up, but to charge that much is ridiculous.”
A council spokesman said: “A stray dog with no collar or identity chip was collected by our warden. Mr Campbell was advised of the standard reclaim fee set by the council.”