A NEW home for the borough's stray and abandoned dogs is becoming essential as Birkenhead Kennels is "no longer fit for purpose."

That's the view of council Conservatives who will be lobbying the local authority to find alternative premises.

Ten years ago the council wanted to close the kennels on Corporation Road and transfer it to a centre in Halewood.   

READ>Outcry over plan to scrap council kennels

As a result it became clear many dogs would have to be euthanised after just one week.  

A public outcry followed. 

More than 7,000 people signed a protest petition which led to the proposal being dropped.  

Instead a Friends group was established to help run the facility. 

Today the kennels are busier than ever- but the building itself is "no longer fit for purpose." 

Councillor Lesley Rennie said: "Thanks to the Friends of Birkenhead Kennels, thousands of dogs have been rehomed instead of being euthanised and the charity is doing fantastic work. 

"The building however is at the end of its natural life and is no longer fit forpurpose - there is no run around area for the dogs, for example.  

"That's why we are calling on the town hall to find more suitable alternative premises, that are better for the dogs and at no extra costs to the Friends or the charity."

If enough councillors back the plan at a meeting on October 14 Conservatives will ask council chief executive Paul Satoor to work with the Friends to find alternative accommodation. 

Councillor Rennie added: "It doesn't matter whether you have a dog or not - animal cruelty and neglect is unacceptable and we need the council to back the campaign." 

Colin Clayton, assistant director for community services, said: "Since 2014 the council has worked in partnership with a group of outstanding volunteers to care for the borough’s lost or stray dog population in Wirral.

"Over the past five years, the Friends of Birkenhead Kennels have shown great commitment to the animals they care for, the results of which can be plainly seen in the dramatically improved welfare, increased rehoming rate and decreased stray population across the borough.

"Thanks to the group, increased staffing levels mean that the animals benefit from greater environmental and social nourishment, as walking sessions and play time have greatly increased.

"This is something that, without our volunteers, our environmental teams would struggle to provide at such a high standard due to space constraints at the current site.

"Working closely on a day to day basis with the council’s statutory dog warden, the volunteers have received training to better support the service, and some have even gone on to start their own businesses and organisations working for the welfare of animals.

"I take my hat off to the friends, they continue to provide a much-needed service that has seen massive strides in the welfare of the animals requiring this care.

"The council provides an annual grant of £97,000 to the group to deliver their services and, more recently, our environmental teams also saw the installation of a new heating system and improved flooring within the kennels.

“Our dog warden and environmental teams will continue to support the friends group in this partnership and, while an appropriate new location has not yet been found within the borough, our staff continue to keep this in mind when we look at assets owned by the council.”

Sam Simpson, trustee and volunteer manager at Birkenhead Kennels, said: "Since being in partnership with the Council we have formed a great working relationship which has only enhanced the charity and the welfare of the dogs in Wirral which come into the kennels.

"We hope this partnership continues long into the future."

Friends of Birkenhead Kennels will be guest speakers at a coffee afternoon hosted by Wallasey Village Library Friends this Friday, October 11, at 2pm, to talk about their work.