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Norwich man’s appeal to get his dog Taz back

PUBLISHED: 09:54 15 April 2015

Chris Smith with a picture of his dog Taz who was captured by a dog warden after escaping through a window.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Chris Smith with a picture of his dog Taz who was captured by a dog warden after escaping through a window. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

A concerned father is appealing for help to get his beloved dog Taz back.

A picture of Taz who was captured by a dog warden after escaping through a window.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYA picture of Taz who was captured by a dog warden after escaping through a window. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Chris Smith, of Barrett Road, Lakenham, said his “brilliant” pet went missing last Tuesday, after leaping through a window - smashing it in the process.

The former bricklayer said Staffordshire bull terrier Taz was found plodding along a pavement in Hall Road, less than half a mile from the family home, within hours of going missing.

But the dog wardens who found two-year-old Taz are demanding cash for his return.

Mr Smith said the wardens, working for Norse Group and contracted by Norwich City Council, asked for an initial amount of £130 which he could not afford as he has no income.

He claimed that the total had been rising on a daily basis since then - now standing at more than £300 - and they were threatening to re-home Taz.

It was the second time within days that Taz went missing, after first escaping from the garden - as his neighbour did not have a fence.

The father-of-three said that on the first occasion wardens waived the fee, but now they were holding their ground.

“For what they’re charging to get him back I could feed him for a year,” said Mr Smith, who is on disability living allowance benefit. “They’re holding my dog hostage.

“It’s like taking someone off the street and charging their family to get them back.”

He has owned Taz for just over half a year, taking him in when his previous owner died, and said he was like a member of the family.

“He’s a brilliant dog and he loves kids,” he said. “He loves his walks and I often took him down the riverside.

“He never snapped or growled at anybody.

“Staffies have got a bad reputation but they’re brilliant people dogs if they’re brought up right.”

He said he had told wardens they were holding his dog “to ransom”.

“I said that if they were taking him away, they were taking him away from a place where he was loved,” he added. “They gave in the first time, but then he went and did it again.”

Mr Smith, who suffers from bi-polar disorder, said that Taz was perfectly happy when found by wardens last Tuesday.

“I reckon as he was such a homely dog he would have come back home on his own,” he said. “My mate’s dog used to go out for three or four days and he would always come back.”

A Norwich City Council spokesman said: “The public expects us to have a robust policy for dealing with stray dogs which may cause a nuisance or pose a danger.

“We have already made some concessions in this case as we waived the fines and fees the first time this animal was picked up and gave advice on micro-chipping so the dog could be easily returned if it went astray again.

“Financial concessions are also offered to those in receipt of certain benefits.

“This case has cost the city council and its tax payers a considerable sum in fees, and while we do have some sympathy with the owner, in the interests of fairness and due process we must now proceed in line with our policies and procedures.”

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