A man who had his dog taken away and put up for adoption while he was hospitalised with mental health issues, has finally been reunited with him.Richard Howard, 30, was left devastated upon learning that officers Greater Manchester Police had taken his dog Alfie, a six-year-old Border Collie, and gave him to Leigh Cats’ and Dogs’ Home. Alfie was taken away while Richard received seven hours of treatment after suffering a mental health episode on April 6. The support dog was initially given to PetMedics, where he was scanned for a chip.
The details registered on the microchip belonged to Richard’s former girlfriend, who is alleged to have informed police that the dog should be put up for adoption. It was then that Alfie was sent to Leigh Cats’ and Dogs’ Home, from where was adopted after two days.It was only the next day, when he was discharged, that Richard realised Alfie was no longer there and called 101 for further information. At the time, Richard told Metro.co.uk: ‘It’s been really hard. I suffer with mental health problems and Alfie has been a big support to me.
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‘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.’The decision to take Alfie to the vet rather than taking him home to Richard’s partner Kate and their children, was met with outrage among not only friends and family but also celebrities such as Maxine Peake.Greater Manchester Police initially said the force’s hands were tied due to legal issues, and there was no further action that could be taken to return Alfie from his new owners, Wigan Today reported.
However, Richard and Kate were determined to get Alfie home and hired a solicitor to work on the case. The case was finally heard at Manchester County Court last week, where a judge imposed an injunction and Alfie’s temporary family were ordered to return him home by August 2.
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The couple posted on Facebook: ‘So today this happened. Alfie has been returned home and we’ve found out we’re having a boy. Happy Mondays.’
Inspector Graham Cooke, from GMP’s Rochdale Borough, said: ‘On Monday 6 April 2019, police supported medical professionals during an incident in the Middleton area.
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‘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.
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‘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 force said it ‘apologised for the upset this situation has caused.’