Police forgot about dog for six days

AN INVESTIGATION is under way today after a dog in the care of Suffolk police almost died after being left without food or water for six days.Now the county's police force is being investigated by the RSPCA over the incident, which is being blamed on an administrative blunder.

AN INVESTIGATION is under way today after a dog in the care of Suffolk police almost died after being left without food or water for six days.

Now the county's police force is being investigated by the RSPCA over the incident, which is being blamed on an administrative blunder.

A member of the public brought the stray male border collie-cross to police in Bury St Edmunds on August 16.

The dog was placed in the kennels at the back of the station and escaped. But once recaptured it was put back in its cage and forgotten about.

Police bosses said staff failed to record the animal's return and, as a result, nobody provided the stray with food or water.

Six days passed before the blunder came to light and the dog was found in a poor state of health.

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Animal welfare campaigners criticised the Suffolk force - describing the oversight as “incredible” - and it is understood the incident has left a number of staff at the police station distressed.

Under the Protection of Animals Act 1911, impounded animals must be supplied with a “sufficient quantity of wholesome and suitable food and water”.

The RSPCA has confirmed it is investigating the incident, although it was unable to comment as that investigation was under way.

Suffolk police admitted a mistake had been made and said action had been taken to strengthen procedures to avoid such an incident happening again.

However, the force did not comment on whether it felt animal welfare laws had been breached.

A spokesman said: “We have looked into the circumstances of this incident. It would appear that an administrative error was made when the stray dog was re-captured, which meant that this was not logged.

“As soon as it was realised that the dog was in the kennel, the local dog warden was informed and came to collect it.

“I can confirm that no disciplinary action will be taken with regards to this incident, as it was a genuine human error, and procedures have been reviewed and bolstered as a result to avoid a repeat of this type of incident.”

But Daphne Matherne, of the Norfolk and Suffolk Animal Trust, criticised the force.

She said: “How could they not know it was there? It is incredible. Did it not bark or whine?

“Depending on the type of dog, it can take more than six days for it to die but it would have to be treated very carefully and fed in teeny-weeny amounts to build it back up.

Once the dog's plight was realised by police in Bury, the force called on St Edmundsbury Borough Council's dog warden to take the animal to the West End Farm Kennels in Buxhall, near Stowmarket.

A spokeswoman for the kennels said the animal, which is being fed little and often, is currently making good progress.

n. What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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