A FORMER member of staff at an under-fire South Tyneside dog kennels has come to its defence.
John Morris, a worker at Cleadon Kennels as a teenager, says the claims against the organisation, which cares for and rehomes stray dogs, are unwarranted.
I was absolutely disgusted when I read what people were saying about the kennels, it’s not warranted at all – they do a fantastic job.John Morris
The Northern Animal Welfare Co-operative recently started an online petition on the change.org website calling on Sunderland City Council to cancel a contract with the Cleadon Lane kennels amid allegations of mistreatment of dogs.
The petition has been backed by more than 11,000 signatories, but furious kennel bosses insist they are the victims of “an organised campaign of false representation”.
Mr Morris, 38, a taxi driver from Southwick, Sunderland, said: “I started working there when I was still at Monkwearmouth School as a Saturday lad, and I was there for three and a half years.
“I was shocked when I read about what people were saying.
“When I worked there, the animals couldn’t have been more loved or better looked after.
“I’ve stayed in touch, and I know it’s still like that now.”
John Carr, who runs the kennels with wife Lorraine, says he had been shocked by the claims but also inundated with support.
Mr Morris, a father of one, added: “John is a fantastic bloke and when I was there, he always encouraged me to go to college.
“The kennels were always disinfected, and you’d move the dogs around while you did it. They always had food and fresh water, and they were very well looked after.
“If they ever needed medical attention, the vets were called straight away. They couldn’t have been better cared for, and no dogs were ever neglected.
“I was absolutely disgusted when I read what people were saying about the kennels.
“It’s not warranted at all. They do a fantastic job.”
A joint statement from South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council said: “We are aware of the campaigners’ allegations and will give them the proper attention.
“Regular inspections are carried out at all kennels, and the last scheduled visit to Cleadon in December revealed no problems.
Another inspection is planned in response to the allegations, and we can assure everyone that appropriate action will be taken if necessary.”
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