Dog accidentally re-homed by police while owner spent night in hospital

Richard Howard, 30, left hospital with no idea where Alfie was (Bring Alfie Home)
Richard Howard, 30, left hospital with no idea where Alfie was (Bring Alfie Home)

A man has been left devastated after his dog was accidentally re-homed when he went into hospital overnight.

Richard Howard, 30, suffered a mental health episode at his home in Middleton, Manchester, on April 6 and called the police for assistance. He was treated for seven hours overnight and officers took his dog Alfie, a border collie, to PetMedics, where he was checked over and his microchip was scanned. As the dog was registered to Richard’s ex partner, she was then contacted and asked what she would like to happen to him.
She allegedly then requested that Alfie be put up for adoption – despite Richard’s current partner Kate being in a position to look after him.
Dog missing after being 'mistakenly re-homed' when owner was taken to hospital
Alfie was taken by police on April 6 (Picture: Bring Alfie Home)

When Richard returned home from hospital the next day at 10am, he was shocked to find his beloved pet missing – and nobody able to offer him an explanation as to where he had gone.

Since then, he has been fighting to get Alfie back, stating that life without him has caused his mental health to decline.PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND - JUNE 05: Queen Elizabeth II and US President, Donald Trump attend the D-day 75 Commemorations on June 05, 2019 in Portsmouth, England. The political heads of 16 countries involved in World War II joined Her Majesty, The Queen is on the UK south coast for a service to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Overnight it was announced that all 16 had signed an historic proclamation of peace to ensure the horrors of the Second World War are never repeated. The text has been agreed by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. (Photo by Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images *** BESTPIX ***

You should never physically punish your pet. It brings the animal pain and fear, and it gains you nothing. It’s a lose-lose situation. Please don’t do it.

Donald Trump claims he had ‘automatic chemistry’ with the QueenHe told Metro.co.uk: ‘It’s been really hard. I suffer with mental health problems and Alfie has been a big support to me.

‘It’s been really difficult without him and I’ve never had this much time away from him. It’s not just me but also my partner and her son.

‘After I left hospital I kept ringing the police up and asking where he was and when could I come and get him.

Dog missing after being 'mistakenly re-homed' when owner was taken to hospital
The family were shocked to hear that he had been re-homed (Picture: Bring Alfie Home)

‘Then finally, after numerous complaints we put in, we got a phone call from the inspector asking us: Did we know that Alfie had been re-homed? I was shocked.’

Richard said his ex partner, who he claims hasn’t seen the dog in three years, previously told him she had changed the information in his microchip.

He still has no idea where Alfie is and worries about whether he is happy and healthy.

The family were later stunned to find discover the advert for Alfie’s adoption put up by Leigh Dogs and Cats Home on April 8, just two days after Richard was taken into hospital. It stated that Alfie’s owner had passed away and described him as a ‘nervous dog’ who ‘may have been mistreated in the past’.

Keep Them Active. Energy varies between breeds, says Dr. Becker. “Greyhounds, Labs, Golden Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers, Border Collies, and other active breeds have unfathomable energy.” He continues, “wolves spend 80% of their time awake, moving. With cats, there’s not such an exercise requirement,” but providing outlets for play at home is still crucial. For both cats and dogs he recommends food-dispensing that “recreates the hunt,” and puzzle feeders that engage your pet’s “body and mind.”

Dog missing after being 'mistakenly re-homed' when owner was taken to hospital
Kate said Alfie is used to being around her son (Picture: Bring Alfie Home)
The advert also said the dog would not be re-homed with young children, something Kate found particularly odd as he is used to being around her son, nine.

She said: ‘Alfie can be a bit timid something but that’s just in the breed.’

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Kate, who is pregnant, added that she has had to go to hospital twice due to the stress of trying to find Alfie.

She said the family have now been advised that the only way to get their dog back is by taking their case to court.

Inspector Graham Cooke from Greater Manchester Police’s Rochdale Borough said: ‘On Monday April 6, police supported medical professionals during an incident in the Middleton area.
Dog missing after being 'mistakenly re-homed' when owner was taken to hospital
The advert stated that Richard had passed away (Picture: Bring Alfie Home)

‘A 30 year old man was taken to hospital and the man’s dog was left with police. Due to no one else being in a position to care for the dog, an animal welfare provider was contacted.

‘As is policy, the dog was checked over and the registered keeper, according to the dog’s microchip, was contacted in order for the dog to be taken care of.

Train your pet to understand obedience. Dogs should at least understand basic direction like “sit” and “stay.” In an emergency situation these cues could save your pet’s life.

‘The registered owner requested that the dog be put up for adoption so her instructions were followed.

‘Unfortunately it appears to have been against the wishes of the man, who was no longer in contact with the registered owner and had taken guardianship of the dog.

‘The dog was re-homed shortly after its arrival at the shelter.

Dog missing after being 'mistakenly re-homed' when owner was taken to hospital
The family say they’ve been told to take their case to court (Picture: Bring Alfie Home)
‘We have spoken at length to the owner of the dog, and as much as we wish the situation could be rectified happily, unfortunately there are no legal powers available to Greater Manchester Police for us to get the dog back.

‘We have advised the man of his options going forward. We apologise for the upset this situation has caused.’

In a statement, Leigh Dogs and Cats home said: ‘We received a border collie for private boarding from GMP.

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‘The next day we received an email from GMP requesting for us to find a suitable new home for the dog. Attached to the email was an email from the registered keeper of the dog also requesting that we find him a new home.

‘Consequently, the dog was health checked by a veterinary surgeon and placed for adoption. We found him a new home, which we feel fulfils the needs of this breed of dog.

Give him the exercise he needs. All pets need regular exercise to stay fit and to release their energy. Without it, your pet will begin to act out. Young pets that do not get enough exercise are more likely to develop negative behavioral issues that lead many to give up their pet.

‘We have been asked informally to supply the details of the new owner, but because of data protection are legally constrained from doing so.’

You can support the campaign to Bring Alfie Home here.