A South Shields dog owner has claimed she was 'locked in' a kennels for refusing to pay a dog warden for taking in her beloved pooches.
Stephanie Saleh, 41, was left outraged after being landed with an £86 charge after a South Tyneside Council dog warden took her two dogs into Cleadon Kennels without her being contacted first - despite them being microchipped.
After refusing to pay the fee, police were called to the kennels before the dispute was eventually settled.
Stephanie, who works as a door supervisor at South Shields bar Tinker Smiths, said her two-year-old German Shepherd Coco and one-year-old Chihuahua Lola went missing around 9pm on Thursday after running out of the back gate of her home in Priestley Court, Biddick Hall,
They were found by a neighbour, who contacted the council's dog warden, who then took the dogs to Cleadon Kennels, in Cleadon Lane, at around 9.20pm.
The mum-of-two said: "My dogs went missing on Thursday night and were picked up by an out-of-hours council dog warden after a neighbour found them and got in touch.
"I had seen she had put a post on Facebook saying she had found the dogs and I went to her house around 10.10pm, but within that time a dog warden had been and took them to the kennels.
"I went straight there, but it was shut. I rang the council and other dog warden numbers but couldn't get through, so when I went to the kennels the next day.
“They said I would have to pay a £86 charge for the two of them, but I don't think it’s right, as when dogs are chipped the warden should call the owner first."
Ms Saleh claims that on refusing to pay the fine, staff locked her into the kennels while police were called. She said she snatched keys out of a member of staff's pocket, causing her to suffer a cut on her hand.
She claimed: "I was locked in for 45 minutes in the bit where the dogs were kept, but managed to get that open and went to my car, but then there was a second gate that was locked on the main road. I was locked in there until police were called, and I had to pay.
"I don't think I should have to pay for the dogs when they are chipped and no one contacted me."
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman confirmed that officers were called to the kennels at 9.17am today following reports of a "disturbance", but no police action will be taken after the woman agreed to pay the bill.
A police spokeswoman said: "Officers attended and a complaint was made of an allegation of assault by a member of staff from the kennels.
"This was dealt with by way of a community resolution between the parties."
A spokeswoman from Cleadon Kennels said Ms Saleh was detained until police arrived, but stressed that the gates were locked at all times as a standard procedure.
A spokeswoman said: "We were happy that the situation had been resolved, but it could have been resolved without any disruption.
"The dogs were picked up by an out-of-hours dog warden. We had no involvement in picking up dogs, we just look after them.
"We have a lock on the gates for security as a standard procedure, as people come in and out, and because people do try to avoid paying the fines.
"This situation was resolved by the police."
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council added: "Animal welfare officers have a statutory responsibility to collect stray dogs and take them to kennels.
"There is no statutory obligation to return them to their owners. However, during office hours, officers have the ability to scan microchips and will make every effort to reunite stray animals with their owners wherever possible. This facility is not currently available out of hours."