By Oliver Farrimond
SCOTS dog-owners are facing steep charges to reclaim their beloved pets if they go missing.
The price of claiming back missing pets can be up to £300, and animal welfare groups have inundated with complaints.
If unclaimed, the pets can be sold on or even destroyed.
Animal Concern spokesman John Collins called the situation “heartbreaking”.
He said: “Many people, especially the elderly and those on low incomes, will find it very difficult to make the repeated trips to animal welfare centres looking for their dog.
“And many will be unable to raise up to £275 to get their dogs back.
“It would be heartbreaking if more dogs more destroyed because of this.”
Owners of missing pets face a minimum charge of £56 to have their pets returned, with some cash-strapped local councils charging as much as £275 for pet recovery.
Retired businessman John O’Conner, from Glasgow, lost his black Labrador Jodie in July of this year.
But when he found the missing pooch, he was ordered to stump up £80 to the SSPCA and £198 to the city council – a total of £278.
When he refused to pay, he was issued with a court order – which he successfully contested.
John, 55, said: “I paid the £80 and successfully contested the other £198 after I showed that the council had not gone through the correct procedures.
“But not everyone can do this.”
And when café worker Carolyn Greer, 27, lost her Staffordshire dog Shay two months ago, she was confronted with a £52 bill from the SSPCA, and a £205 charge from Strathclyde Police, who found the dog.
Carolyn, from Cambusland in South Lanarkshire, said: “This is daylight robbery.
“The police have agreed to let me pay the amount up in instalments.”
A spokesman for the Scottish SPCA defended the charges.
Superintendent Sharon Comrie said: “Stray dogs are the responsibility of local councils.
“They have their own facilities to care for these dogs or pay private kennels and charities to care for them.
“The reclaiming costs go to them – we don’t profit from these charges.”