SCORES of protesters marched on Sunderland Civic Centre in support of a hugely-respected animal lover who is no longer helping strays on Wearside.
For six years, Lisa Scott has acted as an out-of-hours and weekend freelance dog warden, saving the lives and helping rehome thousands of animals.
I have done it for the sheer love of dogs, because the money I do get barely covers my petrol.Lisa Scott
Lisa was called by both Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council when dogs are found, before she picks them up and takes them places such as Cleadon Kennels.
Now, both councils have told staff not to call Lisa any more to pick up stray dogs – although Lisa says there is nobody else to do the job.
Lisa, 45, who lives in Pallion, said no-one from either authority has contacted her to explain the reasons, but she believes it is because of a heated video she put on her own private Facebook page, criticising the alleged actions of veterinary surgeons which resulted in the destruction of a dog, whose family were searching for him.
Lisa, who is well-known across the city for her work with dogs, said: “I can’t believe I have been doing this for six years and they haven’t even had the decency to ring me up and explain what is going on.
“I only get paid £25 for each dog I take to the kennels, yet I am basically on call all night and weekend, and if an owner is found before the dog gets to the kennels, I just take it home and don’t get a penny.
“I have done it for the sheer love of dogs, because the money I do get barely covers my petrol.
“What I said was on my own Facebook page, it is my own opinions and I stand by it.”
Lisa, who runs Pet Taxi in Sunderland, and was earlier this month praised for rescuing Bentley the greyhound, who was suffering severe injuries and had been smothered in food to use as dog baiting, said she only found out the councils had stopped using her via a member of the public, who had tried to contact her through Sunderland council to have a dog collected.
Lisa then contacted both councils and was told by members of staff they had been told not to use her until further notice.
Helen Wright, a friend of Lisa’s, was so outraged about what had happened, she launched an online petition to have Lisa reinstated.
Within a fortnight she had more than 3,000 signatures and comments supporting Lisa and saying what a fantastic job she does.
One person said: “A dedicated worker for dogs. You were lucky to have such a wonderful dog warden and should be rewarding her for her commitment and actions.”
Yesterday, more than 100 people, many accompanied by dogs Lisa has saved, found or rehomed, marched from the city centre to the civic centre in Sunderland to protest about Lisa’s treatment.
Helen, 38, who lives in Ryhope, said: “This is a joke.
“The list is endless of what Lisa has done to help dogs in this city and she shells out hundreds of pounds out of her own pocket.
“She has devoted her life to it, she has no weekends or evenings to herself because she can be called out for the dogs.
“It is so upsetting. What is going to happen to these animals now?”
John Carr, of Cleadon Kennels, said he had not had contact with Lisa over the issue, but added: “I have no issues with Lisa herself, but my opinion is that by having that outburst online and using that type of language, she has shot herself in the foot.”
Sunderland and South Tyneside Council spokesmen said they could not comment on the situation, as Lisa had not been employed as a dog warden by the councils.