A COUNCIL has overturned its controversial decision to axe a 24-hour dog warden service following heavy criticism.

Earlier this month (March), Darlington Borough Council was accused of creating a potential danger when it announced plans to limit its dog warden service and asked residents to take in strays overnight.

A move to restrict the service to office hours following a move of premises was met with concern from local residents and leading charity Dogs Trust UK.

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A spokeswoman from the charity described the initial decision as disappointing and said danger could result if stray dogs were left to wander the streets at times when dog wardens were not available.

The authority’s announcement – made on its Darlington Dog Wardens Facebook page – also attracted a number of complaints from concerned residents.

Following the backlash, the council reviewed its decision and has now announced that the service will continue to operate on a 24-hour basis.

A spokeswoman said: “Feedback from our Dog Wardens Facebook page proves that Darlington is a community of dog lovers who want the best for our four-legged friends. We do too, and we are dedicated to making sure that stray dogs are kept safe.”

The council’s u-turn has been welcomed by Dogs Trust UK.

A statement issued in response to the news said: “We are delighted that the Darlington dog warden service has reconsidered its plans to ask the public to look after stray dogs out of hours.

“We believe that a 24/7 service is important in order to ensure that stray dogs are quickly taken off the streets and into the relevant care.

“We are pleased that the council have taken on board the concerns of local people and that there will continue to be an out-of-office-hours service that members of the public can rely on for help if they find a stray or lost dog.”