MORE than 7,000 people have signed a petition objecting to plans to close Wirral Council's dog kennels in Birkenhead.

The proposals are part of a major spending reduction and would inevitably result in an increase in strays if approved, campaigners say.

The Corporation Road kennels are earmarked to become part of a "Merseyside consortium warden service."

Based in Halewood, and comprising Liverpool, Knowsly, Halton and Sefton, the group would pay a private contractor to run the out-of-hours and kennelling service.

The Friends of Birkenhead Council Kennels will submit a protest petition of more than 3,000 names to the town hall tomorrow.

The campaign group’s co-founder Antje Tucker said: "It's ridiculous to expect people to have to travel all the way over to Halewood and back, which is a 30-mile round trip, to pick up their dog.

"If they can’t afford to do that, what will happen? We are concerned dogs will just be left to roam the streets.

"The petition shows a lot of support for our campaign, with thousands of people against the plan.

"We want to remind the council how important the dog kennel service is. We can’t thank those who have signed the petition so far enough."

The option to close the kennels is included in the council’s "What Really Matters” consultation exercise which asks the public for its views on a raft of savings schemes designed to cut spending by £40m next year.

Wirral Council chief executive Graham Burgess said: "Wirral has to make unprecedented savings over the next three years, due to reductions in government grant and unfunded growth.

"The scale of the savings required means that it is simply not possible to carry on providing all the services we have in the past.

"One of the budget options we are currently consulting on relates to the possibility of Wirral joining a Merseyside Consortium…to jointly pay a private contractor to deliver both our out of hours and kenneling service.

"There are a number of logistical and practical issues which we would need to address should the public identify this as a saving option they think we should consider.

"No decision has yet been taken on any of the budget options identified. I urge everyone to answer the consultation, which offers a genuine opportunity to shape future service provision."