Larne Borough Council has responded to criticism of the borough’s dog warden service after a pet was injured in an attack on New Year’s Day.
The local authority has launched an investigation after an Akita was let off its lead and attacked another dog in Larne’s Chaine Memorial Road area.
The Times understands the injured animal was taken to the vet and required stitches to its neck.
In the wake of the incident, a number of people took to social media to criticise the council for not having a dog warden available, as the service was shut for the holidays.
Councillor Mark McKinty said he received calls from concerned residents regarding a dog on the loose in the town on New Year’s Day.
In an effort to resolve the situation, Cllr McKinty contacted Philip Thompson, Director of Environmental Services, who was able to get in touch with a dog warden.
Mr Thompson told the Times: “Arrangements were promptly made for a dog warden to come and visit the area and deal with the matter. After a thorough examination of the area, the Akita could not be located.
“The owner of the dog which was attacked has now come forward with further details and the investigation will continue.”
Mr Thompson warned that the Dogs Control NI Order 1983 gave the council powers to fine dog owners on the spot for failing to keep their animals under control.
He added: “Authorised staff within Larne Borough Council rigorously implement these powers when the breaches in the order occur.
“The council would appeal to the public to support them in these efforts and to report breaches when they occur.”
Chief executive Geraldine McGahey explained that Larne Council’s dog wardens work a standard 37.5 hours a week.
However, she stressed there is a dedicated out-of-hours phone number, which allows people to contact her or a senior council officer directly in the case of an emergency.
“No one contacted this number during the incident on New Year’s Day,” Mrs McGahey concluded.
The emergency out-of-hours number is 07850 181262.