Updated: Sunday, 5th April 2020 @ 10:41am

Protect our pets petition: Family demand action as dog incinerated after M62 death... but not told for 13 weeks

Protect our pets petition: Family demand action as dog incinerated after M62 death... but not told for 13 weeks

| By Loughlan Campbell

A social media campaign is bringing deceased pets back to their owners throughout Greater Manchester after the Highway Agency (HA) failed to inform owners of their pet's death.

Harvey’s Army, a newly-formed charity, is made up entirely of volunteers and seeks to bring in legislation to ensure owners are handed a quicker and easier way to deal with the bad news about their pets.

The charity is a continuation of the hashtag #findharvey, which was set-up to find miniature poodle, Harvey after he went missing from his home back in November 23 last year and was killed minutes later on the M62.

But it was only when HA employee found lost dog posters and contacted the owners, Jude Devine, 40 and Shaun Robertson, also 40 from Halifax, they found out his fate – 13 weeks after he’d ran away.

By that time, the HA had already incinerated the dog, leaving the couple without the chance to properly grieve for the pet.

Nina Blackburn, 46, from Calverdale, a lead campaigner of Harvey’s Army, spoke exclusively to MM and said ‘you cannot put it into words’ on how they felt during the hunt for Harvey as his owners were ‘always hopeful’ that they’d find the dog alive.

She created an e-petition titled Harvey’s Law which has massed considerable support of up to more than 43,000 signatures to introduce legislation to ensure that the HA change their ways.

She said: “People assume the petition is about a problem we have with the agency, but it is not, it is about them failing to adhere to their own policy.

“We are not asking them to spend any money. We just want them to do their own job.”

Mrs Blackburn, who has four dogs and is a family friend, calls the support, ’unbelievable’ and that there has been an ‘enormous’ amount of people involved in helping out the charity.

The Government responded after the petition hit 10,000 signatures.

In a statement, the response read: "The government does understand how important pets are and regrets that, sadly, a number of them are killed or injured on our roads each year."

The Highways Agency had amended the Networks Management Manuel (NMM) requiring officers to find the owners of pets they had found on the roads after a similar incident that took place back in 2005.

The poor pooch, Jester, who had been kidnapped, murdered and dropped on the M1, had been incinerated the same day before their owner had been contacted.

According to Dawn Goulden, 46, from Great Sankey, a lead volunteer for the charity, the endgame for the charity is to see it cover the entire UK.

Mrs Goulden told MM: “We’d like to see it cover the country. People don’t know what procedure to follow when they find animals in the road.

“The charity is looking to make a stand and the amount of reports of found animals they receive differs every day. One day, you hear nothing, the next, it could be six or seven reports.

“Harvey’s law is just the start, there are other things that need correcting.”

She adds that their determined objective remains to reunite these owners with their beloved pets to give them closure instead of a hollow phone call.

The charity’s message is clear – ‘we are just animal lovers at the end of the day. We care’.

Image courtesy of Twitter with thanks