DOG protection groups fear the closure of one of Yorkshire’s biggest kennels could sound the death knell for Kirklees strays.
Marina Kennels, off Leeds Road, Huddersfield, looks set to close on February 20 after 32 years.
Owners Janet and David Worrell say they were forced to take the decision after Kirklees Council told them to replace the drainage system at a cost of £25,000.
The couple, who have taken in thousands of animals in the last four-and-a-half years, run the pound on a non-profit basis and can not afford the bill. They have told their eight staff they will be out of a job by February 20.
Janet said: “We are really upset. We are losing some really valuable staff.
“When you work with animals, it’s a passion, a way of life – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is a very sad time for everyone.”
She said she and her husband had ploughed about £100,000 of their own cash into improving the kennels.
They have a strict policy of not destroying any of their animals. The council pays for the first seven days of care for stray dogs, but after that Marina picks up the bill.
Janet added: “We just about break even. We can’t just conjure up £25,000.
“Before we took over, about 60 dogs a month were put to sleep, but I can’t cope with putting dogs down.
“Our closing will mean a much bigger risk for strays because most other kennels don’t have a total non-destruction policy. Most of them are run as businesses and they just can’t justify keeping dogs for weeks on end.”
Trudie James, of Doris Banham Dog Rescue, has worked with Marina to protect strays.
She said: “It is one of the largest kennels in Yorkshire and it has been a massive achievement to make it non-destruction.
“The future of strays now depends on which pound they will be sent to. Some do all they can to help dogs but there are others that will destroy without a second thought.”
Kathy Trout, of West Yorkshire Dog Rescue, said the next nearest pound, Springfield Kennels in Wakefield, would be unable to cope with the extra influx of dogs.
She added: “The legal requirement for kennels is to keep dogs for seven days before they can be destroyed. The only way I can see a kennel being able to double its workload is if it works strictly to the seven day rule.”
A council spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that there is an environmental issue at Marina Kennels and that they are being responded to as a commercial concern.
“However, there are more discussions that can take place with the kennel owners on this matter.”