Dead dog left to rot in London Colney river

A DEAD dog – possibly someone’s pet – was left decomposing in a St Albans river for a week after environment officials initially refused to remove the corpse.

St Albans district councillor for Colney Heath, Chris Brazier, has blasted the Environment Agency (EA) for leaving the animal’s body in full public view at a local beauty spot in the village over Easter, upsetting visitors and residents.

A distressed resident contacted him after seeing the dead dog floating under the bridge in the River Colne, at Park Corner, where Church Lane crosses the waterway. The remains were still visible at time of going to press.

The man had phoned the EA’s emergency number last Thursday, April 5, asking it to remove the dog’s corpse.

Cllr Brazier said: “They said they wouldn’t and that they let them decompose, to feed the fish.”

The man asked the councillor to seek urgent help from the district council. But when the council also asked the EA to remove the dog’s body, it received a similar response – that its policy was to leave the corpse to decompose, as food for fish.

Cllr Brazier offered to remove the dog himself but was told by the council that if he did so against the advice of the agency, he would be liable should anything go wrong.

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He went on: “It might be someone’s missing dog, and what about the pollutants in the river? It’s not a pleasant sight. But it is just being left in the water.”

Mike Lovelady, head of legal and regulatory services at the council, confirmed that the EA was the relevant authority responsible for the River Colne.

He added: “We are aware that a dead dog has been found in the River Colne and have referred the matter to the Environment Agency.”

Early yesterday a spokesman for the EA said the agency only removed objects from rivers if they posed a flood risk, such as mattresses.

Late yesterday, a spokeswoman said that as the dog’s corpse had been in the water for several days, it would be removed this morning, Thursday, April 12, and disposed of at a pet crematorium, which has now been confirmed. She added: “We only remove carcasses if they are going to cause flooding or pollution.”

A spokesman for Veolia, which takes water from the river, said it extracted from the groundwater and not the surface.